Have you ever read about a tradeshow or LAN party and thought to yourself "I wish there was something like that near me"? We recently reported on the world's largest computer festival, DreamHack Winter 2005, held in Sweden. June is the traditional time for Computex in Taiwan and the largest of them all is Cebit, held every year in March in Hannover, Germany.
Britain has the Multiplay i-Series, and our American readers are spoilt for choice, with the famous Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in May, the World Cyber Games 2004 finals in San Francisco, various CPL events and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from which we will be reporting from live in just a few weeks' time. However, for our Australian readers, there hasn't really been a major show where they can check out the latest hardware, mods and games. Until now.
Atomic Live 2005 was held last week at the former Fox Studios in Sydney. The event was so named because it was organised by Atomic Magazine - the top Aussie enthusiast mag for hardware and modding. It is the equivalent of Maximum PC in the US, and Custom PC magazine in Europe. This first one-day event held much promise. It was the first chance to play Xbox 360 before it is released Down Under in March 2006, grill the Atomic team in a Q&A session, learn about dual-core and 64-bit computing in the AMD keynote presentation, and of course, lots of cool prize giveaways.
For antipodean modding fans, the show had special significance: the near-complete Project WMD would be displayed for the first time anywhere in public, and fans would have the chance to talk shop with its creator, Pete "G-Gnome" Dickison. There would also be several other top mods on the Atomic stand including work from DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤ and Raygen. Sadly, the Atomic Hotbox of the Year, Orac³, could not be transported to Sydney for the event - it is both extremely heavy and incredibly fragile as the perspex case was never really designed to house such a beast of a system.
Left: surprisingly, there were plenty of female Atomicans at the show. Right: Atomic Editor Ashton Mills briefs vistors on the day's proceedings . Photos: Kris Harrison
The day started insanely early: 4am for me flying up from Melbourne and 5am for Pete and his wife Rebecca who were driving 2.5 hours down from Newcastle, NSW. The fun & games started before we even arrived at the venue. The WMD-mobile was delayed in Sydney gridlock and my cab driver was "new" and had apparently never heard of one of Sydney best-known attractions. Maybe they should hold Atomic Live 2006 at the Opera House just so he would know where to take people.
The weather was a mixed blessing. While rain would have been a disaster, Sydney in mid-December equated to blue skies and tempatures of 31C (88F). With all the lights and equipment, tradeshows are normally pretty hot; crank up the outside temperature and you have hundreds of sweaty geeks wandering around a confined space.