Best of 2013: Letters From Gamescom

First Published: August 22, 2013
Voted For By: Chris, Keegan, Markuz
Reason(s) for Vote:
This was like a love letter to every thought I’ve ever had while travelling alone or with friends in the last twenty-seven years. It was both hilarious and heartfelt. Really, one of the best ‘diary’ pieces we’ve ever had! – Chris

Oh Ric. Bless your soft chewable face. This article is amazing because I was there for a lot of what Ric’s conveying, but also because of the way he has chosen to write it. It’s thoroughly enjoyable, and I think I would enjoy it just as much if I’d never even met him before. Ric has the best stories, and the apologetic tone that he takes throughout makes everything even more amusing. This is probably my favourite article of the year, if I’m being completely honest. – Keegan

When I read the first few lines of this, I actually clapped. I did that thing they do in movies where they sit back, cock their head to one side, clap at a pretty slow pace, and nod as they say “bravo” several times over… except I did so with no hint of sarcasm. It was one of those ultra rare occasions when a writer does something so completely off the beaten track that you can’t help but sit up and take notice, and wonder how the hell they even came up with the idea in the first place. It was just one of those inspirational pieces that I’ve gone back and read over countless times, wondering if the girl on the train even existed or if Ric just made her up as a catalyst and to have something to bring us back around full circle at the end of his follow-up piece. I’ll never ask Ric if she was real, because I don’t ever want to know if she’s not. – Markuz


To The Girl On The Train Who Kept Looking Over At Me,

How Ric saw it go down

Hi, my name is Ric. I was the guy sat diagonally across from you on the train to London from Manchester. I had the blue headphones and the huge shoes and I dropped my phone that one time, and also smacked my elbow against the window by accident and cried out my only audible utterance of the entire journey with my shriek of pain. You were the girl with long blonde hair and that cool little ankle bracelet and the incredible deep blue eyes, and you accidentally jabbed yourself in the eye with your mascara when you started applying your make up. I laughed at that. Sorry.

I spelled out “HI” with my train tickets on the seat next to me, but I don’t think you saw. Or maybe you did, but were too nervous to say anything. I was too nervous to say anything. I once looked up at you while you were sort of staring at me, and my heart stopped as I ran out of breath and it was from that point I knew I had to get to know you, learn all about you, and maybe take you on a wonderful holiday with our three kids on our own private jet. All the usual things.

I was slightly pre-occupied, unfortunately. You were on that train to see your dad in Essex – sorry, I eavesdropped on your phone conversation. But I was on the train to go see my friends, deputy editor Ed and fellow writer Keegan, so that we could fly out to Germany together and go play video games. I mean, write about games. We’re not just playing them. We had a round of Mario Kart in the airport though. I’m babbling. Sorry.

The train journey was alright, wasn’t it? No one checked my ticket though. I was kinda miffed about that – I could’ve saved myself £17. When we finally hit London Euston I stood up right next to you and you looked up at me and every part of me wanted to cry out “screw it!” and ask you your name, but I didn’t. I wanted to wait for you after I stepped off the train and finally spark up a conversation, but my feet were already in motion when I hit the platform. I looked behind me in the huge expanse of Euston station for you, but by then I was right next to the Tube entrance, and you were lost in the crowd. A little part of me hoped I would catch you at London Bridge station, but instead I was met with warm hugs and funny stories from my friends, who whisked me away to my next train.

How it actually went down

I feel like I should’ve said something to you. I know I’m not gonna be there when you get the train back to Manchester on Friday (seriously you could probably text this information to people rather than let a carriage full of strangers hear your conversation), so we’re unlikely to see each other again, but at least I’ll have Gamescom to keep me going.

‘Til next time, I guess.


Draw me like one of your French girls

To Ed’s Housemates,

Thank you for dinner! It was delicious. I’m glad you liked the wine I brought. Mum told me never to turn up to someone’s house empty handed, so I stole that bottle from my Dad. I’m sure he won’t mind. I’m pretty certain he doesn’t even like red wine.

Sorry for talking all the way through CSI. We were kind of busy getting everything together for Gamescom; planning what time we needed to get up, what stuff Ed needed to pack, discussing whether Ed’s toiletries would get through security. They did, thankfully. Of course, plenty of other things went wrong, but never mind. You don’t need to know about that.

Sorry if we kept you up that night. As soon as everyone had gone upstairs, Keegan rolled over and whispered “draw me like one of your French girls”, and from that point on I knew that choosing to share a bed with him was a very bad idea. But I survived the night. I had a pretty harrowing nightmare about zombies and drug addicts though. So, uh, sorry if my whimpering from that woke you.

See you on Saturday morning, probably.


Dear Ed and Keegan,

I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so sorry.


How could you NOT trust this face?

To The Guy In The Airport Who Asked Me For Directions,

I was not aware that the airport we were in was actually the -other- airport with “Düsseldorf” in the title. As it happens, Düsseldorf Weeze isn’t in Düsseldorf at all, so you were right to not believe me when I suggested that we merely needed to walk over to the train station and grab one train. I do hope you managed to reach Köln OK without my completely useless travel plan.

Please don’t think I’m a dick.


To The Woman Behind The Counter In McDonalds,

I'm SORRY! I'll learn some German, I swear!

From the moment I started vomiting out some horrible mixture of broken German and scared English, I saw your face contort into a disgusted sneer, as though I were a tramp who just whipped out his junk and thrown them on the counter. As you then went on to ask if I wanted ketchup or mustard, to which I replied “yes”, your eyebrows narrowed and your lips pursed, as if my aforementioned tramp metaphor had then started urinating while screaming loudly about losing his pet goose.

I thank you for not spitting on my food, and for bringing the other McRib we had ordered with only the slightest amount of disdain thrown my way. The food was yummy.

Hopefully we’ll never meet again, particularly not down a dark alley in Krefeld, or wherever the hell we were.


To The Woman At The Desk Of The Hotel Where I’m Currently Writing This Letter,

1. Why is there a double and a single bed in this room? Ed has discovered I’m ticklish and I fear I may wake up at 3am to him stood over me, arms outstretched, fingers wiggling, an evil grin on his face, and I will have nowhere to run because Keegan has taken the single.

Happiest receptionist in Germany

2. Keegan has just looked in the bathroom and groaned at the size of the shower, which we found hilarious, but I’m afraid it may lead to a certain South African earning himself a hunched back before we even make it to our first appointments.

3. My sigh of relief and little air punch when my card was approved for payment is not because I am a thief and thought the card would not work, but simply because I have not used a card outside of my home country before, and had a minor panic in case it was declined for some unknown reason. A Euro for half an hour of Wifi, however, is daylight robbery. Sort it out.



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