gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Our man in… Eurogamer Expo 2009 (London)

by Johnus Maximus

Eurogamer expo logoThere’s not much in my life that warrants getting up before 7am on a day off, not even the potential to grind some more achievements whilst having a bacon and egg butty and a huge mug of tea will make me rise from my pit before lunchtime.

In the last weekend of October all this changed, as it was time for the second annual Eurogamer Expo, situated at Old Billingsgate on the bank of the Thames. Read on for my thoughts and feelings on the event.

Those who made the choice to turn up early were fortunately blessed with good weather and fine spirits, making friends amongst the throng of unusual faces was simple given a unified love of gaming and certainly helped pass the time until the doors were opened.

Representatives of gaming PR and of course, the Eurogamer staff were also on hand to keep people entertained, with free games, t-shirts, badges, chanting and the potential to get interviewed for Eurogamer TV by the effervescent Johnny Minkley.

Once the doors were opened everyone poured in, making a beeline for their game of choice. I personally did not know where to start, with over fifty games at the show, some recently released and some soon to be, there was so much to choose from. I managed to play a lot of the games, but not all of them, so I’ll give you a quick Twitter-style personal opinion on those I saw firsthand later in this post.

Eurogamer - queue this way
Queue minders were on hand to ensure the correct shaped queue was made

Before I give you the thumbs up or down for the games on show, let me also tell you of some of the other delights in store for those of us who attended. During the course of both days, representatives from developers such as Valve, Ubisoft, Quantic Dream and Black Rock Studio were giving presentations about the games they were there to show off.

Listening to people such as David Cage or Chet Faliszek talk about their art and participate in Q&A’s is an informative and inspiring event. Even better was that almost all of the questions were on topic and not intended to flame the fanboy wars! The only downside to there being so many presentations was that they were in such high demand that you needed to queue at least 45 minutes beforehand to be guaranteed a seat.

As well as the representatives from the games industry, there was also a chance to openly grill two of Eurogamers editorial staff – Ellie Gibson and Tom Bramwell. The resulting session was hilarious and surprisingly in less demand than the Ubisoft sneak peak of Splinter Cell Conviction fifteen minutes prior to the Q&A (it does look flipping amazing though).

Eurogamer Expo 2009 London
The view from above – the lofty heights of the press lounge

As well as finding out what the makers of the games had to say, you had an opportunity to discuss a career in gaming as several studios, publishers and academic establishments were on hand in the career fair and the BAFTA surgeries. It’s definitely worth taking the advantage of learning from people who have worked in gaming for some time as their sagely advice can be beneficial.

So with all that to take in, you’d almost be forgiven for not actually getting time to see the games on offer. As well as the show floor and basement housing the mainstay, there were also two smaller areas upstairs reserved for a very special kind of gaming. The Indie Games Arcade was a warm and slightly musty room (better ventilation next year please) with some real oddities that defied the notions of conventional gaming, along with some home grown talent that should be given the due attention they deserve.

Finally, for those whose feet had gotten the best of them, the PSP Go Cafe was on hand with plenty of beanbags and comfy chairs to allow you to grab a quick bite to eat and play some portable gaming (or you can just sit on the floor next to one of the display units like my wife did).

Eurogamer expo london - basement
The basement ambience was excellent -dark with plenty of neon.

So, on to the important part – what games did I play and what did I think of them?

So, those were the games that I played, plenty to look forward to in the next six months and a great time to be a gamer. Of course I was disappointed that Modern Warfare 2 was not on display, but by all accounts that game pretty much sells itself on its reputation. Also, I was really shocked that DJ Hero was not present. With a game as unique as that, I think it will take some convincing for consumers to buy another hefty priced peripheral game, so where better to let people see it than at a show like this.

For £6 a day, this is possibly one of the most fun days out you can get as a gamer, so keep your eyes peeled on for news of next year’s show. My personal thanks goes out to Rupert Loman and all his staff, they did a fantastic job.

Friday, November 13th, 2009, Computer Gaming, Featured, PC, Playstation 3, Wii, Xbox 360.