Electron Dance

Expo Man VI of VI: Survey Says

Four hours after I'd appeared on the expo floor, I exited via a dusty, decrepit passageway and put the glam behind me.

Desperate for something else to do, I'd even sniffed around the recruitment area, not for a job but just to see what was going on. Considering the ridiculously skewed gender ratio of the games industry, I found it interesting that all of Crytek's reps on Sunday were women. I'll just leave it at that.

My expo was over. I didn't feel energised. No spiritual enlightenment. No freebies. On the way home, I wondered exactly what I was supposed to write about the Eurogamer Expo. My own experience was a bit... unfulfilling. I arrived with a glass half-full but left with one half-empty.

Rather than some epic PR hub (which is what it is), the expo came across as a massive video games arcade at a funfair. The flashy lights, the sound thumping through the floor, the sub-human chips and hot dogs. When I reflect upon it like that, it wasn't bad. It's been a Cthulhoid Aeon since I've felt an arcade atmosphere. The only thing missing was a penny waterfall.

Only I wasn't looking for an arcade experience. I filled in the expo post-mortem survey and asked for more indie, more PC and more developers. If I had written "developers" a few more times, you probably would have confused me with Steve Ballmer but that's kinda how I felt. I'm not the only one who was underwhelmed - Spinks said it "fails to inspire".

But! It's time to put the pessimism back in cynic cupboard where it belongs. I have some proper tips for future me if I end up going to another show like this.

It's the people, stupid.

These things are more fun if you're playing in multiplayer mode. If I hadn't had a new baby two weeks earlier, I would have done one of the pub things. There was the RPS crowd on Friday. There was also the Show & Yell on Saturday that Badger Commander highlighted.

And perhaps I should have tweeted directly at Kerry Turner who somehow ended up going to the expo three days in a row. She owes me a shitty look, you know.

It's the games, stupid.

I just didn't play anything seriously. Scoregasm was the only thing that got a proper run through from me because it's barrier of entry was so low. Anyone can understand a shooter plus, as a bonus, it was great fun (it's my party and I can repeat myself if I want to).

But I didn't persevere with anything else, always putting down the gamepad after a brief flutter as if I needed to be somewhere else far more exciting. Perhaps at home with my newborn.

Leave your notepad out, stupid.

It doesn't matter if I'm not press, if I don't have one of those official VIP wristbands, if I don't have anything resembling journalistic experience in my trousers. If I went to a trade show with the intention of writing about it, having a notepad handy at all times is convenient for those spur of the moment ASSCREED BROTHERHOOD XLNT notes. And if I feel like writing down what someone says to me. Which reminds me.

Don't bother interviewing, stupid.

It really wasn't the right environment to chat; this wasn't a conference which encouraged participants to get to know one another and share genetic material. Maybe you could have had a conversation over crappy expo coffee. Pub afterwards possibly. Last resort, follow a developer home when the expo closes.

Everything I said is summarised in one video, stupid.

Seriously, if you want to cover a gaming show, this is the way to do it. We should all aspire to this. Over to Lewis.

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  1. Thoroughly approve of the video by Lewis.

    I definitely agree, one of the main reasons I have ever wanted to go to any of these expos is to meet some of the people I have encountered in the interwebs who seem pretty interesting, in a good way.

    I really liked all the parts of your expo journey, not really sure I could ape that without actually, you know, going to an expo.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, BC.

    At least you know I went because I just wouldn’t make up stuff so impressively epic fail. Next time I’ll have to be all grown up and write about “Dragon Age 3: Hands-on Preview” etc. etc.

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