Lady GaGa, sweaty teens and a few games

There are plenty of high quality UK-based games developers: Codemasters, the developers behind world renowned titles such as _Dirt 2_ and _Grid_, have their head offices just 5 miles away from good old Leamington Spa, and Bizarre Creations, the developers of the extremely successful _Project Gotham Racing_ franchise, are based in Liverpool. Unfortunately, in my mind and the minds of many others, the United States of America is the home of the modern video game and when it comes to gaming expos, bigger is always better, something that America can to do exceptionally well.

We’re catching up though. This year’s Eurogamer Expo was considerably larger and welcomed far more people than the previous year, allowing a vast number of what appeared to be mostly teenagers sample the delights that the world of gaming will be offering them over the next six months. What is truly exceptional is that this was only the second Eurogamer Expo; the first did so well that the venue had to be moved from a location on the Thames to Earl’s Court, albeit not the main exhibition hall. And to put the icing on the Mario-shaped cake, even this year’s event was completely sold out by the time the doors finally opened. It’s clear that a lot of people in the UK were craving for an event that allowed them to demo titles that won’t be released for several months, or simply anything that gave them a slice of the experiences on offer at the gargantuan PAX or E3 American events that so prominently sum up the gamers’ ultimate fantasy.

The event was spectacular with an impressive range of titles, many of which won’t be released until the end of the first quarter next year. New motion control hardware was also on show, such as Sony’s _Playstation Move_, allowing people to try it out before putting down their hard-earned cash, and Microsoft’s _Kinect_, the far more interesting and yet to be released full body controller. Watching people who were never meant to dance jig along to Lady Gaga, in Kinect’s _Dance Central_, does seem a little tasteless but it was also thoroughly entertaining, mainly because I wasn’t the one doing the dancing.

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Unfortunately it’s the people that completely ruin this sort of event or possibly it’s just my age… The show was filled with sweaty, obnoxious teenagers who couldn’t help themselves from mouthing off all their general gaming knowledge and unbelievable (and so TOTALLY AWESOME!!!) gaming achievements. I wanted to punch so many of them in the face. Due to the size of the expo, it took 15 to 20 minutes of hovering over said teenagers’ shoulders before playing on each game, resulting in what can only be described as a complete nightmare.

Granted, having a go on these pre-release builds is enjoyable but due to the limited amount of time you get with each game, you simply come away feeling robbed. Maybe if I were younger or accompanied by a group of likeminded friends I would find the entire spectacle far more entertaining but as it is, I recommend reading previews (such as those available on this site) and just waiting for these games to turn up in the shops. They aren’t meant to be played with a crowd of underage delinquents eagerly waiting for you to leave but in the comfort of your own home; alone and sealed in a dark room filled with energy drinks and chocolate. That’s what gaming is all about.


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