Event: Call of Duty: Black Ops

With so many gaming options out there it’s important for publishers and PR companies alike to try weird and wonderful things to ensure that their latest game isn’t just the talk of the town among you beautiful consumers, but also for we journo folk too. The safest option is to open up some funky venue with an open bar—it’s no secret that the way to a journo’s memory is by fuelling our brains with alcoholic nectar that makes us forget the night. But seriously, that works so please don’t feel the need to take that away from us any PR peeps who happen to be reading this.

Every once in a while, though, an event comes along with a little something different to appeal to the eccentricities of us, offering an earthquake of awesomeness that registers high on the novelty scale. So when the invite for the Call of Duty: Black Ops ‘Harden Up!’ event hit my inbox, it immediately made an impact on the aforementioned scale. The premise was simple: rock up to Bondi Pavilion for an hour-long personal training session with none other than the military adviser for Call of Duty. I speak, of course, of none other than Lieutenant Colonel Hank Keirsey… but you can call him “Sir” for short; I know we all did (and I will be for the duration of this article).

Oh, and after the event we were all destined to get boozed.

It may come as a surprise to you that, collectively, we games journos aren’t the fittest demographic in the world. Why, after a hard day’s work of sleeping in, playing games on a comfy sofa, writing up thoughts on games from the comfort of a computer chair, we want nothing more than to come home to relax in front of the TV. After all, we’ve earned it, right?

So upon receiving this email I was immediately torn. The appeal of the novelty factor was extreme, but then there was the downside of having my levels of fitness (or, more accurately, lack thereof) put on display for all my peers to see. But in a fantastic twist of fate, we were given an out by our ever-faithful viewers. What kind of consummate professionals would we be if we had to delay DLC-Live by an entire day? For shame! So we all agreed that we would, unfortunately, have to skip this event.

But somehow I couldn’t shake the desire to be at this event.

Through might, magic and good ol’ fashioned coercive powers I convinced Dave and Josh that we needed to be at this event, knowing full well that it would absolutely and utterly destroy my body.

Dave and I arrived to find Josh—ever the enthusiast—already there, appropriately decked out in trackies, sweat-sponge shirt and a glorious paedophilic moustache that would ensure there were no damned kids anywhere near our PT session. Then we were introduced to the Activision people who were all decked out in similarly workout-appropriate attire; and they all looked a whole lot fitter than us: shit.

But aside from the appearance of Luke Lawrie—that loveable scamp who the whole DLC team loves to tease—and the rather late arrival of the GamePro contingent, the DLC trio were the only right-side-of-the-fence industry folk to be seen. As we needed all of the excuses we could get, this was our badge of honour for the rest of the event.

In a move that would have been sure to win him the Victoria’s Cross, Dave deftly jumped on the grenade otherwise known as filming responsibilities, leaving it the task of Josh and myself to do DLC proud. What a hero!

It wasn’t long before we were separated into two teams, formed into lines and introduced to what Sir affectionately referred to as the “resting position”. Just hearing that combination of words is now enough to make my muscles scream. For those unaware of Sir’s painfully hilarious brand of humour, the so-called resting position involves making your body horizontally parallel to the ground, about 10 inches off the deck with your palms flat on the ground and your back straight. Sound familiar? As we all assumed this resting position, Sir informed us that we may as well do some push-ups.

And so ensued the first batch of pain.

It was then jogging time. Down the stairs and across the beach before more push-ups, more running, more push-ups, more running and, well, you get the point. But not all of us were able to survive long after the initial batch of running and push-ups. While US Rangers may be renowned for leaving no man behind, I was able to conveniently leave myself behind as I watched those damn fit folk disappear into the distance.

Josh was among them and did the team proud. I like to think he was the first across the finish line, carrying a fallen comrade on each arm, but that may or may not be purely speculation.

The rest of our collective evening was spent drinking beers and shooting the shit with the Activision crew, a couple of late-appearance journos, Sir and his hilarious wife, Kathy, who didn’t quite understand why all the men of Australia were adorned with moustaches.

Special shout outs to Natasha and Sophie for an incredibly memorable event, and a big Fettian nod to Jarvo: the man who always ensured our hands were never too far away from a glass of something alcoholic.

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