Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eurogamer Expo 2011 - The First Day

It's been a busy day, and I'm pretty beat, so here's some of the key things that stick out from the first day of the Eurogamer Expo.

Queues were not too bad. It took about 20 minutes to get in to the expo (granted, it took an extra 5 minutes to walk to the back of the queue), and since I spent the entire day in developer sessions, it was a case of queuing for a panel, attending the panel (about 45 minutes), a quick wander, then queueing up for another panel. When I get around to playing games over the next two days, I'm expecting to be very well acquainted with standing in place for hour on end.

Schwag galore! As far as free shirts go, I got Counterstrike GO, id software, and a Prey 2 shirt. These are nice to have, but are ecliplsed by the free OnLive MicroConsole, which retails for $100/£70.

The games on offer are fairly well-varied. There are some curious inclusions - Gears of War 3 and Driver: San Francisco are already on store shelves (and the Driver demo has been up for weeks now), but floor space is still set aside for them. The more niche titles have demo installations devoid of any queuing system, since they're unlikely to draw a crowd. PC RTS End of Nations and aerial-dogfight sim Ace Combat: Assault Horizon were being passed over by gamers in their droves, which makes me want to give them a whirl. There's a retro-games area (the ambient racket there is dominated by Mario Kart 64's item roulette sound), and a curious exhibit of games that Eurogamer have crowned game of the year that will be worth a closer look.

The show floor itself is fairly well laid out, affording plenty of room for traffic to get around, as well as stop and gawp at games being played. Curiously, there's an 'over 18' area that partitions away some of the games in a rather inefficient (and somewhat arbitrary) fashion, but I might give it a proper look tomorrow to see if I can figure out the logic involved.

Booth babes are present and correct, for better or worse, most of them decked out in absurdly tight spandex and provocative costumes. When awkward nerds are pressing themselves up against these living eye-candy exhibits for photographs, they’re awfully gracious, which might well be a bad thing for the social development of these young men.

There’s not enough time! Since I’ve prioritised attending the developer conferences over playing games that will be released in a few months, each of the breaks today were only a few minutes long, and afforded only brief, tantalizing glimpses of the games on the floor. I played three rounds of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and two minutes of Rage, and managed to take a total of four photographs. Tomorrow I'm expecting to spend a lot more time playing games (and I'm expecting to be functioning on a few more hours of sleep), so check back tomorrow!

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