We were lucky enough to be offered tickets to visit EGX19 at the ExCeL in London, and we had a great time checking out some of the new games, innovative indie titles, live performances and classic games on display.
There has been a bit of negative feedback on social media, but from our experience and that of the people we spoke to, the majority seemed to have had a great time. There weren’t a lot of big-name titles on display which caused pretty long queues for the ones that were there, so if you went with the sole intention of trying out Doom Eternal, Modern Warfare and Final Fantasy you can understand the frustration, however, if you soaked up everything on offer, there was lots of fun to be had.
We will be writing up some in-depth features on our favourite games and hardware from EGX19 soon, but until then, please enjoy our photo tour of the event!
The Long Walk
It’s a long walk around the barriers when you enter. First stop is the bag check, then around to pick-up your wristband, and finally, begin the trek to join the queue. Considering the queues were never actually that big, it was equal parts humorous and depressing watching people walking from side to side, and up and down the aisles on their quest to join the queue to enter.
The first view of the EGX show floor
It’s big. Very big. With so many shiny things catching my attention and drawing me off to the side, I was still discovering new things and wandering in the opposite direction to which I intended right up until the end of my second day there.
Free Coke Zero
Coca-Cola was there promoting their FIFA 20 competition and some other stuff. I think they may have had the Premier League trophy there? Whatever, for me, the best part was the carts spread around the arena dishing out free mini-cans of ice-cold Coke Zero. It was pretty hot inside EGX, so to be able to grab a quick cold drink without having to pay extortionate prices or leave the arena was a huge plus for me. Thanks, Coca-Cola!
(Spare a thought to the Coca-Cola reps who, upon handing each person a can, had to say “Enjoy the great taste of Coke, with zero sugar”. Every. Single. Time.)
Team 17 had a strong presence at EGX, but the game that was getting the most attention was Overcooked 2: Carnival of Chaos, the sequel to the well-received cook-em-up.
Pacific 24 VR RHIB Simulator
This RHIB Simulator is a final-year group project by students from the University of Portsmouth. I watched the person pictured trying it out, successfully if a little slowly, delivering troops from the RHIB to the large vessel next to them.
Seating myself on the moving platform and donning the VR Headset, I set out to deliver the troops in record time. My first try was… not so successful, to be kind. After crashing the RHIB into the front of the boat, wedging it into an unrecoverable position (which they assured me is very difficult to do and quite unlikely, so kudos to me), they had to restart the simulation.
Promptly, I sped away for my next try, before they pointed out I’d forgotten to wait for the troops to board. Yanking on the wheel and lurching the RHIB into a suicidally fast turn, threatening to topple the little boat and subjecting myself to a comically (for the spectators) bumpy ride, I sped back to get my troops. After crashing into the dock, I picked up my passengers, then proceeded to crash into the side of the boat, albeit delivering the troops in the process. I had a lot of fun, but I don’t think a career in the Navy is my calling in life.
It’s an excellent piece of work by the students, however, and it is being designed for use as a genuine training tool.
Tony Slopes has such a charming story behind its creation that we had to include it. Created by developers whose team is composed entirely of family members spanning three generations, their aim is to bring the fun back to gaming. Whilst chatting with the lovely lady fronting their PR at EGX, she told me her mother had recently broken her leg, so they wheeled her up to a computer and said, here, you’re working on ragdoll physics now. I couldn’t help but laugh! They are a self-taught, closely knit and ambitious family team, and they absolutely deserve your support. Check them out at www.tonyslopes.com
(There is no relation to Tony Hawks, in case you, as I, were wondering)
There were large queues for Doom Eternal all-day long, but it was definitely worth it. Each session was a full 20 minutes of gameplay, starting with a quick tutorial introducing the new abilities, followed by an introductory mission. If you played the 2016 outing for Doom you know what to expect – fast, frantic and brutal gameplay. We’ll be writing up an extended feature on Doom Eternal, because frankly, it deserves it!
It’s a-me, Mario! Everyone’s favourite Italian plumber made an appearance, much to fans’ delight. Say what you like about Mario, he was getting all the love.
Nintendo had a sizeable area set aside for themselves, and in true Nintendo fashion, it was beautifully presented, with ample stations for fans to sample their newest games.
Overwatch’s Switch release featured prominently at the Nintendo arena, with many networked devices available to play on.
Sony had a lot of VR booths set-up, with Iron Man, Beat Sabre and many more games lined up for trial. All of the times I passed by they never seemed that busy, though I guess there’s something about standing, effectively blinded to your surroundings, waving your arms around and staring at the floor and ceiling, that you’d rather do in privacy.
Keanu Reeves was a no-show, although as he was never advertised as coming, it’s hard to be annoyed by this fact. It was a little bit disappointing that there was no playable code, but even so, queues to sit in on the 45-minute gameplay video being shown in their bespoke theatre were still huge. I had a viewing booked, but I had already been waiting nearly an hour to try out Doom Eternal when my slot came up, so I decided to skip the Cyberpunk video in lieu of getting hands-on with Doom.
Zombie Army 4
Now, I may have been too unobservant, or just passing by like a zombie at this point (sorry, terrible joke), but all I saw was a promotional stand with no game stations set up. It’s a shame because I love the zombie-slaying gameplay, married with Sniper Elite’s deeply satisfying sniping. Oh well, at least we know it’s on the way, even if we know **** about it.
DayZ – Livonia
DayZ had a full booth setup, but it didn’t seem that popular for some reason. It was right beside the ever-crammed Doom setup, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor guy manning the booth as loads of excited gamers walked up, only to bypass him in favour of a 2-hour queue to try out Doom Eternal. To be fair, it’s an old game now, and a new map can only do so much to garner interest in a game that’s approaching 6 years since its original incarnation.
The Tranzfuser arena was dedicated to showcasing the games produced by recent graduates (less than two years ago in most cases). Patrons had to vote for their favourite game and the winner of the most votes will receive funding for the development of their game.
Our vote for the best game from Tranzfuser goes to Sai, for its sumptuous visuals, excellent art design and smooth gameplay. The game has a theme of environmental responsibility, which is incredibly apt considering current events. We will be covering this title in more depth in another feature, but if it reaches production as it deserves, we’ll be very happy campers.
‘And the award for Most Comfortable Attraction goes to…’ I was genuinely envious of the people trying this out. In an arena with a shockingly small amount of genuinely comfortable chairs that didn’t have a queue of people waiting to use them, the opportunity to gouch out on a bed was very tempting, but I would have fallen asleep. The Epson projector playing on the ceiling was a really cool touch, and I think it was supposed to be the highlight, but I couldn’t get past how comfy the bed looked.
Karnox is a relative newcomer to the market in the UK, but their line-up of chairs was excellent and very comfortable. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out, you may find your next favourite gaming seat here.
Logitech had a very popular stand, with queues of people waiting to have a go on their full Logitech racing setups to try to top the leaderboard on Project Cars 2.
Audeze were the stars of the show for me. Tucked away in a tiny booth, you were more likely to miss them than be drawn in, however, if you didn’t get the chance to try out these amazing headsets, you missed out on possibly the most incredible gaming audio you will ever find. These headsets are more feature-packed than anything I have ever experienced, and even just listening to my favourite music via Bluetooth was like audio porn. We will be running a feature on Audeze shortly, with an overview of their gaming headsets coming soon.
https://www.audeze.com/ – check them out, you won’t regret it!
Let’s Go Retro
Atari Jaguar – Alien vs Predator
I remember this looking way better and running much higher than the apparent 15fps when it first launched. Rose-tinted glasses definitely affected my memories of the Jaguar.
ColecoVision – Gorf
Another early ‘80s console, the ColecoVision was renowned for its ability to closely match the arcade games of the time, unlike the Atari 2600, which despite its enduring popularity, couldn’t match the cabinets in the local arcades.
I actually bought one of these at a fundraising auction back in 1995 for 50p. At the time, I didn’t appreciate how cool a piece of history it was, and I don’t even remember what happened to it. Along with my original Star Wars, He-Man and Transformers figures, this is up there with those toys I wish I’d kept.
They had a stage and an arena set out especially for Cosplay, but seeing as this wasn’t Comicon, or based in America, the turnout of Cosplayers was pretty slim. The decidedly lacklustre Joker you can see to the left of the photo should be a fairly good indicator of the standards I saw. There were loads of people in semi-costumed attire, with a mask, or an oversized sword, but in general, and without meaning to cause (too much) offence, the Cosplay was sub-par.
There was so much more going on that we haven’t even touched on, like the massive tabletop games section, the classic coin-ops and pinball machines, the theatres with all of their talks and lectures, and so many unique and interesting indie titles on display.
Massive thanks to Eurogamer for inviting us along, we had a fantastic time, and thanks to all the developers for sparing the time to speak to us about their games. We’ll be back next year!