Sunday, August 02, 2009

We're going to Disneyland

It's official: Team Snout has registered for the Shinteki Field Trip: Disneyland on October 17th. We were, serendipitously, the 17th team to sign up (current total: 24), and since this sounds like a self-guided puzzle hunt, there's probably still plenty of room for anyone else who wants to play.

Karl, Cary, DeeAnn, and I will also be spending the day before (Friday) in the park, since Karl hasn't been there in nearly two decades, and DeeAnn and I will arrive in Los Angeles a few days before that to visit with my family and friends. If it weren't for those two factors--and a third, which I'll get to in just a moment--I would have been inclined to pass on this adventure.

From the FAQ: "Shinteki is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. You'll be subject to all of the normal rules for guests in the park, and won't have any sort of special privileges." When the Shinteki folks first put out feelers via e-mail to gauge interest in a puzzle event at Disneyland, I told them flat out that unless they were offering some special access to backstage/secret areas of the park, they'd have to work pretty hard to get me down to Anaheim just for this.

My exact words were: "For most people, going to Disneyland is already pretty special; I think you need to make it clear exactly how the Shinteki event is going to be $30-$60 more special." (They originally suggested a maximum per-team fee of $120.) Brent and company did a good job of addressing most of my concerns in the official announcement and FAQ, without giving away any specifics, but in the end, the thing that won me over was the aforementioned third factor: I don't want to miss out on what is sure to be a unique experience.

Back in 2002, I passed on The Jackpot Game because of the prohibitive $420 per person entry fee, and because it seemed like a very different event from the Bay Area Games I'd become accustomed to. I wasn't convinced it would be an entirely successful endeavor (and maybe it wasn't; they never sold it as a documentary film or reality TV series), and I didn't want to burn all that time, money, and effort on a new and unproven concept. I've since had occasion to regret that decision.

However this Disneyland event goes, I want to be there to witness it myself. If this is the only "Field Trip" Shinteki ever runs, this will be my only chance to try it; if this is merely the first of many such events, it will still be unlike any subsequent Field Trips. And hey, I'm going to be at Disneyland. How bad could it be?

Given the Shinteki crew's track record, I'm confident they'll be more successful than not, and I always want to support and encourage other Game Controls when they try new and different things. I guess that'd be a fourth reason. (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!)


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