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Eurogamer Expo Report

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Old Billingsgate, London, 30th October 2009. It was miserable weather on the coach up to London and it was less than 24hrs after the Golden Joystick Awards the previous day. Firstly I completely hashed up the opening times, which led me to being second in the press queue. At first I wondered, where the hell is everyone? Surely there will be more people than this! With my feet aching two hours later the massive waves of people on the waters side was evident, nothing in the region of the MCM Expo crowds, but none the less impressive.

So what did the Eurogamer Expo bring to the public? Well an absolute abundance of games on three floors, along with a fourth storey for conferences and seminars. Would we recommend two days? Absolutely! We were a little overwhelmed how many game units were on offer, the stuffy haze of electric LCD TV’s warmed the building whilst crowds flocked to the most important games of their choice. Ironically the game that 75% of the brainwashed public (sorry) wanted to see (Modern Warfare 2) wasn’t there. I know a few of my fellow staff members disagree with me about my complete disinterest for Modern Warfare 2 but honestly there were allot of games displayed that were worth your time.

Games on display included; Heavy Rain, Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, The Beatles: Rock Band stage, Forza 3, Halo 3: ODST, Star Trek Online, Mass Effect 2, Assassins Creed 2, Split/Second, AVP, MAG, Army Of Two: 40th Day, God Of War III and Saboteur. It was a plethora of games (some of which I haven’t mentioned) that were not to be snuffed at. Amongst the games there was a PSP GO! chillout café, with reasonable prices, Nvidia showing off there 3D display units and a Gamesindustry.Biz recruitment fair.

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In terms of seminars, the queues to see Valve show Left 4 Dead 2 were completely ridiculous. Queues went down nearly two flights of stairs. Nvidia gave us a proper 3D tech tour (although extremely underwhelming to say the least) and perhaps the highlight for us, were to see Splash Damage show some footage of their new shooter Brink. If you happened to miss that, good luck finding footage of the game because even Eurogamer were under a NDA to not release footage of the game yet.

Perhaps one of the coolest things about The Eurogamer Expo were not only the size of TV’s (average TV sizes were between 48-52 inches) but also the venue itself. Old Billingsgate is very deceiving, from the outskirts it looks like a small building, but inside it’s a mammoth beast with tonnes of character. The basement was definitely our favourite area, it has a really cool ambience with its darkly lit, red light scenes and the restricted 18+ areas mean that you can also take your children, safe in the knowledge that they will only get access to the correct games for their age. I’m sure ELSPA will be proud!

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We’re talking £6.00 a ticket and considering the venue was open till 8pm, it really does scream value for money. Not only do you get to play some of the greatest games that aren’t even out yet, you get to sit down with those games that you’re considering purchasing/play some competitive multiplayer and even purchase the games afterwards thanks to the HMV store inside. All in all the Eurogamer Expo is a cracking consumer show which showcases the very best of commercial and indie titles. It also has a lovely press area, unlike London Excel’s MCM expo which was cramped, only had two power plugs and no free refreshments. It was a great networking experience, carrying over our friendships we made from the evening before. One thing I will say, is that the expo is very much focused on filling the floor out with units, allot of the big publishers didn’t have staff on board to help people get used to the game, so you don’t get the personable approach you can expect from smaller games based areas such as the MCM Expo.

One more thing, filming of games was a real problem, something happened on the Saturday which had both EA and Nintendo Europe completely blackballing press from getting any footage. Surely NDA’s (Non-disclosure Agreements) could have been sorted, perhaps if notices such as ‘No Filming’ on desired stands would of saved the confusion for others. It was an unfortunate aspect of the show, which only really affected the press industry and arguably left some of us desperately trying to remember things for their write ups.

If you didn’t go this year, make sure you go next year! It’s not to be missed.

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