It’s that time of year again, with booth babes trying to lure you in to buy an ultra-precise gaming mouse and under 15-year-olds lining up for hours with their parents just to get 15 minutes of game play on the newest first-person shooters. Yup, it’s the second EBGames Expo, this year held in Sydney.
Being only in it’s second year, this gaming fantasy-land is still facing a few teething problems as an event. Crappy signage and staff not knowing what is going on is to be expected to some degree. But, once you’re on the expo floor, there’s plenty to be discovered and lots to see.
If you’re planning on going over this weekend, you’ll no doubt have much fun but here’s a bit of an overview of what to expect.
The expo itself is a mix of big vendor booths, and smaller hardware and less-popular game booths. Sure, everyone you expect is there – Xbox, PS3, Nintendo, Turtle Beach, Razer, Activision, EA, etc… But nothing to out of the ordinary.
Most of the popular games (which is probably why you’re going in the first place) have lengthy queues, and attendees are divided into “normal” pass holders, and those who’ve shelled out a little bit more for the “express gamer” pass – though don’t let the premium fool you, you’ll still be waiting in a queue for most games you’ll want to play.
The highlights this year as expected are getting your hands on the new Nintendo Wii U, which provides an amazing or horrible experience depending on what game you play. It might take a few minutes to get used to the idea that you have to ‘switch’ which screen you’re focussing on depending on what action you’re trying to take, and some games are clearer at prompting that than others.
Call of Duty – Black Ops II is by far the game with the longest line and the biggest drawcard for many. Though if standing in line for 3 hours to get 15 minutes of gameplay isn’t your thing, the Medal of Honor wait is much shorter.
Still not quite to the scale of an event like Supernova, and a far cry from the gaming expo’s of the USA or Japan, EBExpo feels like it’s starting to get there, with more “everyday” gamers than I’d expected, and a pretty varied crowd (though guys still outnumber girls by a good 20-1).
As for my expo picks:
Best Booth – Razer
Though they are a hardware and peripherals maker, it’s a fun booth with a DJ, a good variety of games to play on their hardware, and people constantly dancing out the front.
Worst Booth – Blackberry
Seriously, I have no idea what’s going on here, but it really looks depressing.
Best Game Booth – ZombiU
The booth is one of those red British double decker buses. Which is cool. Though, after several hours, I imagine the smell in there will be somewhat of an issue.
Most Annoying Game Booth – COD Black Ops II
I don’t know if these guys didn’t realise that this game would be popular, or they just wanted to be jerks about it, but having to wait for so long just to get 15 mins of gameplay is nuts, and once you get in there, there’s no atmosphere. It’s like the guys in the booth resent the fact they have to be there to give you the privilege of playing their gift-from-god product.
Worst Costume (so far, the best costumes will no doubt be tomorrow) – Sonic
Some dude wearing blue shorts, a blue t-shirt and a sonic “hat”. If you’re going to go half-assed, perhaps just don’t bother at all.
There’s also plenty of photos going up to my iCloud Photostream, you can see all the action as it happens by clicking on the photo below.
Stay tuned, as there’ll be more to come, including some first-run reviews of games at the Expo, as well as some of the interesting announcements of upcoming titles.