Eurogamer Expo

It starts with a queue, a chatty young journo (in a leather longcoat – what else?) and the usual promo gubbins – hot girls with free handouts, anticipation, tanks in the forecourt…

Wait. What?

Being one of the first into Earl’s Court this morning was delightfully surreal – a sharp, twenty-first century take on the spooky and deserted carnival theme. There were banks and banks of screens, piles of goody bags, a couple more girls, dancing in the SFW version of cages… but mostly, the darkness was empty but for the tempting gleam of the alternate reality.

I did find a careers stand, a small games Expo and the place where all the early birds had gathered – BT Infinity’s cloud stand, offering a free link-up to the future.

Me? Well, I’m the past – I got a couple of chuckles when I said the last game I’d played was Summoner. Couple this with making notes in a Moleskine when all the (half my age) press reps are sitting there with their iPads and it’s all worth a chuckle.

Out of place or not, I was fascinated as to how a Games Con compares with the Book and Comic Cons that I’m used to.

The conclusion? This seemed to be a whole different kind of escapism – the games companies were, almost literally, the only things in the vast, dark building. There was one booth selling electronic accessories, headphones and similar, and the ever-present cybercandy – but no-one else. No toys, no books, no costumes, no phone-danglers or badges or collectables. There were just a lot of people standing watching each other play games.

It looked like a whole different kind of community. A community that didn’t exist in the Con, in the building – it existed in the screens, in the cloud. It was a shared reality and experience that was literally out of this world.

A game like Skyrim is compelling – it’s exquisitely constructed, the artwork is beautiful and the gameplay so real you could almost put your hands on it. It’s every fantasy book I read as a kid, all brought to vivid and interactive life.

One thing remains true, though. Whatever your choice of escapism – film, comic, book, game – it still has to conjure a reality in your imagination, a whole new world that’s real to you…  Perhaps it’s not so different, after all.





3 thoughts on “Eurogamer Expo

  1. My problem with the games expos or at least the ones in the 90’s is they became very business oriented – wheras in the 80’s it was about the gamers with freebies and cheap offers and all sorts of stuff, in the 90’s it became about marketing to retail chains and distributors and the gamers became an problem to be moved on from the stands. I’m hoping this and Gamefest will be a return to shows for the gamers not just for the trade/journo’s.

  2. Kind of why I mentioned the careers booths and the small games Expo – though the sheer amount of money invested in the various companies’ presences was colossal.

    More than anything, it seemed to be about competitive credibility – and that was aimed at the industry and the gamers both. Many gamers are online journos, and the Expo put a great deal of effort into making sure they were happy!

  3. Pingback: Eurogamer Expo: What caught my eye, and it’s going to be a Star Wars (TOR) Xmas … « Welcome to Spinksville!

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