• Jemima Tyssen Smith

Roll7 Go Ape

The elusive Game Dev is normally spotted in indoor environments, nearby necessary resources such as very large spinny chairs, a consistent source of coffee, and at least two monitor screens. But visitors to Go Ape Cockfosters last Friday might have spotted some of these rare creatures out in the wild…

That’s right, after almost two years of online-only Team Fun events, Roll7 was finally able to host an all-day in-person meet for UK-based members of the team! We might be a remote studio, but we have all missed the days when we could have our fortnightly in-person meetings - and the chance we had afterward to hit the pub and catch up. So, with lots of planning and safety checks by our awesome HR and Ops team (shout-out to Nisha and Sibella), and of course lateral flow tests before we all arrived at Go Ape, we were finally able to spend a whole day together again. For a lot of us, this was actually the first time meeting some of our colleagues in-person - we had some more casual meet-ups earlier in summer, but not everyone was able to attend, and we’ve had some new starters since then.

The day started with an outdoor escape room, which some of us definitely found more difficult than others (it’s me, I was totally stumped by this bit, sorry to my team for being wrong about that one answer that we spent like 15 minutes on) - but which we all very much enjoyed. After that we moved on to team building exercises, which included putting shapes into a box (easy) without touching the shapes or the box (tricky) while blindfolded (impossible). We had an absolute blast with this, and it was really cool to see everyone’s skills come together in new ways to tie knots in the ropes provided, direct people who couldn’t see, and… steal a big plastic tube from a nearby sapling and use that to help guide shapes in? We were working with people we might not get a chance to collaborate with very often on the job, and the synergy and cohesion of the group really showed how well everyone here clicks - even those of us who hadn’t had much chance to hang out previously.

We then tucked into a tasty barbecue and sheltered from a sudden shower - which, thankfully, had passed us by before it was time for the afternoon activity - a treetop adventure! Everyone had an absolute blast with this, as we scrambled up trees, swung on from treetop to treetop on the tarzan swing, and even had a chance to go down a zipwire with a skateboard. The view down into the woods from up above was truly spectacular, and the bright sunshine finally chased away the rainclouds we’d been eyeing warily all day. The scramble through the trees was also a weirdly great chance to get chatting to colleagues - we’d be sat on platforms waiting for a zipwire to free up, chatting away and cheering each other on and just in general getting to ‘hang out’ (bad pun absolutely intended). Everyone also ended up with matching gloves, and matching massive dirt stains on our backs from coming hurtling down to earth off the zipwires - which was a nice sort of bonding activity.

After that many of us headed to the Cock Inn, located on the aptly named ‘Games Road’ for drinks (alcoholic or otherwise), heavenly halloumi fries, and of course a good old natter. Between the good company and the sheer novelty of being able to have a chat where nobody’s internet cuts out halfway through, it was a truly lovely evening, and I can’t wait to see everyone again. Hopefully, Covid regulations permitting, we might even get to meet up with some of our further-afield colleagues in the not-too-distant future!

Roll7 would like to thank the staff at Go Ape for their help in organising this brilliant outing for our team