Electron Dance

Expo Man I of VI: Tutorial Stage

"I don't know what I'm doing here," I said to myself.

Gaming shows have never seemed like my kind of thing. I'm allergic to marketing gimmicks and hype. I have a stack of unplayed games, from Amnesia to Men of War to King's Bounty, so finding out about new games prior to release doesn't really appeal much. Playing the latest games, ditto, and I could always download the demo. I'm a pipe and slippers gamer, I guess. I like to settle down with the perfect environment at home, put myself into the machine and commune alone with the digital gaming god.

But I was Electron Dance now, maybe it was time to man up. When Eurogamer Expo 2010 screamed onto my radar, I decided to sign up... and then I saw the god damn date. The baby was due the weekend of the expo. I complained on Rock Paper Shotgun but as the baby arrived two weeks early, I decided at the last minute that I could go.

I used The Brainy Gamer's trilogy of podcasts on gaming conferences and expos to get into the mood (links here for part 1, part 2 and part 3). Michael Abbott has a wonderful soothing perfect Dad voice, the kind you'd want to read you stories before you go to sleep. (Between him and the newly-minted Quinns of RPS, these guys have some of nicest voices in video game podcasting.) His podcasts made these events sound like a big love-in, evoking a spiritual connection to a gaming community you didn't know existed. We could all jack into the matrix together and have fun.

So today in West Brompton, I waited in line under a sky full of scowling clouds. I walked through inviting doors flanked with bold posters for Deus Ex: Human Revolution which were infuriating because unless you queued for a special session two days earlier you weren't going to see any Deus Ex. As I ascended the escalator to the expo floor, I fought to clip together my non-VIP grey wristband, like a tutorial stage before the first level.

The floor came into view and it was then I said to myself: "I don't know what I'm doing here."

Next: Ghost Town Arcade

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