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.
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.