Friday, 4 October 2013

GYL at Eurogamer - and the lead up to Play Expo 2013 with Replay Events

GamesYouLoved went and conquered the Eurogamer Expo this year. We reflect on what it was all about, how vibrant and extensive the gaming landscape is and just how much relevance and interest there is in retro, despite the the imminent launch of the 8th generation of consoles. 

Established in 1999, is a focal point for game news and reviews and one of the largest gaming resources in the UK. Since the first Eurogamer Expo event in 2008, attendance has grown year on year exponentially, as hordes of gamers clamber to get their peek at upcoming titles.

The expo was held at Earl’s Court in London, which aptly accommodates the crowds and the huge developer exhibits and enclosures. As we arrived we couldn’t help but notice the promotion of current game franchises, from billboards and hoardings outside the venue entrance through to banners and posters in the foyer, through to the main hall. This all added to the buzz and air of geek excitement. 

There was plenty of audio-visual to absorb, as exhibitors clambered for attention, as expected for an expo featuring the industry’s leaders. The main hall was broken into zones; from the current and next -gen, merchandise, through to an indie area, retro-arcade (we’ll come to that), tournament and cosplay stages, and even a nice relaxed boardgame area.

It was great to see a large indie developer contingent present, offering a blend of current innovation with classic and modern game styles (great to see Fist of Awesome’s ‘I Fight Bears’, Big Robot’s ‘Sir, You Are Being Hunted’ and Mastertronic’s ‘Chaos Engine’ remake). And with developer sessions and cosplay shows (and a couple of bars!) there was more than enough to absorb.

So opportunity to get along to the Eurogamer Expo may not seem overly relevant for GamesYouloved (GYL) with a retrogaming focus. Sure, it might be one of the UK’s biggest games shows, but it’s emphasis is obviously more towards the current and upcoming rather than the nostalgic and retro.

Or so we thought. Certainly one of the most thriving and popular areas was the Retro-arcade all organised by our friends at Replay Events. Regulars of the retro game circuit will know Replay Events as a predominant computer and video game event organiser, supplying their experience and expertise at countless shows.

This was focus of the event as largest retro area at Eurogamer yet, with a plethora of systems on show providing an awesome overview of all things retro and to remind us all what it was about back in the day. Offering something for everyone Replay Events had gone to town to showcase as much as possible, from the earliest micro-computers to bespoke built arcade emulators to 3rd to 6th generation consoles. There was a real great vibe here though. Whether a retro-head or not, people could get down to some proper sociable gaming action, with consoles linked for multi-player action on the likes of Golden-Eye (N64) and Mario Kart (SNES). Even Sami Cetin (World Record Holder for SNES Super Marion Kart was there)

The GYL team spent some time (maybe too much) moving from machine to machine, interacting, talking to people about retrogaming and getting their thoughts on the event. It wasn’t just older gamers either - seeing kids with their dads getting excited about the retro machines was what it was all about. We saw the younger generation really getting into oldksool and seeing who got a go next on an arcade cocktail table to play Pac Man next. That instant accessibility and appeal is what gaming should be about.

We had a blast though, and the grandness of the occasion reminded us of how big retro gaming actually is. And what better pre-cursor to the upcoming ‘Play Expo’ where we’ll have our own stand space alongside our good friends and will be providing video coverage throughout the event too. Bring it on!

For more info on Play Expo:


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