DS:London is a long-running meet-up group that meets in Central London approximately every 3 weeks. The main activity of these meets is, ofcourse, getting stuck in to some multiplayer gaming with the latest handheld Nintendo consoles. This makes it an excellent place to collect Streetpass hits, trade Pokémon, go Monster Hunting etc. Other activies include drinking (with an emphasis on alcoholic beverages) and chatting/making new friends. This article offers to give readers a comprehensive insight into this group’s history, its achievements, and why I believe you should be a part of this wonderful community.
The group began its life in early 2006. Early meet-ups took place in the cosy Sam’s Smith’s pub the Yorkshire Grey. When attendee numbers outgrew the venue the group moved on to another close-by Sam’s Smith pub ; the Horse and Groom on Great Portland Street. For a long while this venue remained ideal ; it was spacious and the location was great. But as time went on things changed. The management team became less williing to accomodate the group, and attendee numbers were once again growing to a point where the new venue could no longer sustain. So the group took their handhelds (and their money) and moved on to Angel in the Fields. A nice venue, but again plagued with the problem of the management becoming increasingly arsey. Other punters were also more rowdy than at previous venues, and would often make snide comments about a group who met up in a social setting yet sat glued to their handheld devices, seemingly playing alone (I don’t think they quite got the whole wireless connectivity thing…).
In April of this year the group moved to Loading @ MADD. Loading is a small business, headed by James Dance, which offers gaming-inspired cocktails, shooters and more to the gaming public. Loading had, at this stage, recently set up in the MADD café in Soho, and DS:London was one of the first groups to hold an event there (it was also the setting for the early Monster Hunter Community UK meets, another early adoptee). DS:London has been situated there since, and has, partly as a result of Loading’s popularity, combined with the extra publicity generated by the union, seen attendee numbers spiral to levels not seen since 2010.
Along with all the venue changes, the organising team has seen its fair share of shifts. Founded by a DS fan called Rich who was simply looking for other DS owners to play with, it was swiftly taken over by the charismatic web developer Joe Lee. Known as ‘the Grand Vizier Of DS:London, this popular chap ruled over the happy kingdom of DS:London for more than 5 years, and was the driving that turned it into the group it is today.
Last year Joe decided to step down as he felt he could no longer offer the group the level of commitment it deserved. His shoes were filled by well-respected, long-time attendee Lee Moore, who has, since stepping up, been successfully striving to grow the group once more, as well as pump new energy into it. To his credit recent times have seen a veritable plethora of new members coming along to join in the shenanigans, and meets these days have a feeling of freshness to them some of us older attendees have found quite surprising (albeit in the nicest of ways!).
Lee is assisted in the group’s organising by Harrison Nathaniel-Wurie and Lucy Pearce.
Former admins have included such well-known figures as Taynor Darn, Ruthy Isadore, Max Maslen and PlusXP owners Rob Bunce and Felicity Hill.
Achievements so far
Here is a list of just some of DS:London’s achievements to date :
- A Guinness World Record attempt for the highest amount of people playing DS simultaneously in one room at once (didn’t quite make it, but there were still hundreds of attendees, and it was a great day out)
- A Children in Need charity tornament
- Hosting DS corners and tournaments at conventions such as the London Anime Con
- 276 members on Facebook, 284 on Meetup.com (at the time of writing)
- One of Meetup.com’s top-rated meetups
- 161 meets to date
- The longest running meetup group of its kind in Europe (and possibly the world…)
The group also have a podcast series (spearheaded by Lee) which has been going since early 2008. These are a great source for discovering the latest gaming news, aswell as humorous gaming banter. Guests so far have included Adam Marsh from 16 Bits Games and your’s truly among many others. You can listen to and download these here.
So, if you want more Streetpass hits, to find a team to play Luigi’s Mansion 2 multiplayer with, trade Tekken 3D Prime cards with, or simply want to show off your Mario Kart 7 skills ; there is no better meet-up group in the capital (or possibly even the country/continent/planet!) for you to come check out than DS:London. Indeed, some of the members even put together this article on this very site, talking about their favourite 3DS multiplayer games.
Its frequent, highly community driven and most accessible to newcomers, and I would, naturally, highly recommend.
Hope to see you at the next meet!
DS:London on the web
Places to pick up the Podcast
Blogspot : http://dsldnpodcast.blogspot.co.uk/
iTunes : https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/ds-london-podcast/id260294094
Podfree : http://www.podfeed.net/podcast/DS+London/24562
Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/dslondon
Interviews I’ve conducted with the team
Harrison Nathaniel-Wurie : http://3dsblessed.com/?p=157
Lee Moore : http://www.plusxp.com/2012/04/interview-with-lee-moore-of-dslondon/