About a month ago a friend and I caught the train to Luna Park in Sydney to see the Microsoft Open House, an event showing off heaps if Microsoft products including Surface, Windows Phone 7, Windows Live Essentials and most impressively Kinect, the new Xbox 360 motion controller.

We arrived at the Crystal Ballroom at about a 3:45 and after a short wait we were led into a room full of computers, games, a DJ and a bunch of enthusiastic Microsoft employees who were too overly attractive to possibly have actually been interested in what they were showing us. After having a quick first glance at the table holding tens of laptops, from paper thin netbooks to beasty gaming machines, a Surface set up over in the corner and a desk with a few Arc Mouse/Keyboard combos we headed straight to the main attraction.

There were 5 Kinect booths set up, each with a massive LCD screen, an Xbox 360 and a Kinect all with different games ready to play. There was Joyride, Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved, Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures and Harmonix’s (the guys that created Guitar Hero and make Rock Band) Dance Central which was by far the best game on show. We all got to play these games and try out the aforementioned laptops, keyboards, mice and the Surface and after about 90 minutes we were lead into another section of the building that had been transformed into Microsoft’s Open House.

After a nice little speech from a PR guy about how great Microsoft is doing, we were led into what looked like a tiny shop selling MS products and after another little talk the giving away began. The two people showing us around the open house had a little bit of an act going on that ended up with a few rounds of “Answer the Microsft trivia questions” with the winners getting prizes such as an Xbox 360 Slim, Xbox 360 games and an Arc Keyboard/Mouse set.
After the give-aways we were led through a series of rooms including a kitchen, living room, bedroom, office and an outside room where we were shown many Microsoft products like Internet Explorer, Foxtel on Xbox, Media Centre, Windows Live Essentials (in particular Photo Gallery and Mesh) and Windows Phone 7.

Once this was all over we were asked to leave straight away (presumably so we couldn’t sneak into the next group and cheat on their trivia) and given a show-bag on the way out. Looking into it I saw a white Microsoft beach towel, but underneath that found a brand new Arc Keyboard and Arc Mouse which was a great surprise to end the night.

After that we quickly caught a train back to Central and after a short stopover a Hungry Jack’s (called Burger King in the rest of the world) took the train back to Wollongong where, to finish the day off, I went and saw Tomorrow When the War Began, a film remake of a series of books I read when I was much younger, at the Shellharbour Cinema.