On the 24th September I made the 400mile round trip to London with freshly burned showreels, business cards and a big list of games I wanted to play. Probably more than my day ticket could handle. So for those of you that couldn’t make it this is how the trip went…
My main reason for heading down this year was for the careers fair and developer sessions, so I headed straight there (via Uncharted 3) to get my name down and beat the queues I was convinced would be there. Initially I was somewhat disappointed with the turn out as it seemed more geared towards encouraging me to go down the postgraduate/Ma route rather than having loads of recruiters from studios. Even though there were only a handful of studios I got more out of a 10 minute chat with the guys at Creative Assembly than I could have imagined. Its a studio I had recently applied to so I was apprehensive about talking to them as I’d been unsuccessful and wasn’t so sure they’d have time to talk to me. Their reaction surprised me, they recognised my name/C.V and the HR team sat me down with the Lead Artist who spent a good 5/10 mins talking to me about my work and where I wanted to be. I’ve been working on side projects to help learn new things and get new and improved content for my portfolio/showreel and it was reassuring to talk through all of this with someone in the industry who was responsible for hiring and be told I’m enthusiastic and to stick with it as they may require more juniors in the future. Happy that I was on the right track and filled with confidence I hit the show floor and played as many games as possible…..
So I’d finally made it to the expo and realised my slight error in going straight to the careers fair. The queues were HUGE but then I realised that it’s highly likely that I’ll be picking up copies of Batman: Arkham City, BF3, MW3, Skyrim etc. So I could join these mammoth queues OR try things I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up or even heard of without coming down – The Indie Arcade was immense!
Waves – Easily my favourite find in the Indie arcade (Pictured) I think the developer was Squid in a Box. Eitherways it was highly addictive and on my list of games to purchase. Had I spent and hour or two in the Batman queue I’d have missed out on finding this.
Joe Danger: The Movie, I loved trials HD and was introduced to the original Joe Danger soon after, just as addictive but in my opinion it looks so much cooler and the sequel looks funnier and was another game that was hard to stop playing.
Rise of Nightmares – I’d not heard much about this games before, just that it would be unlike any other Kinect game I had played so far. Very. True. Just the way you control it felt nice and different to how other games have worked (looked kinda weird watching someone else play/control (?) ) but overall I was really impressed, not too sure how it would hold up over a long time as I’d still rather have a controller in my hands than shuffle around the living room flailing/hacking at zombies but still very much worth mentioning.
As someone that’s waited what seems like forever for some decent 3Ds games Nintendo finally came through! As well as streetpass going crazy throughout the day, their stand finally allowed me to get my hands on Super Mario Land 3DS, Mario Kart, Pokemon Rumble, and Metal Gear Solid 3D. There were a couple more games on offer but these are the ones I have been waiting for and for me its worth the wait (I did go from original Game Boy to 3DS though so I’m probably far easier to please than other day one buyers upgrading from a DS)
Games of note would include:
Fruit Ninja Kinect – somehow more fun than the mobile version.
Uncharted 3 – Only had the multiplayer but I’m a huge fan of the series and cannot wait to get my hands on the single player campaign.
Rayman Origins – This one took me by surprise, the art is beautiful and its another game that feels nice to play, I cant describe what it is that makes a game ‘feel’ nice I just know that it did and I could happily return to these games after years away – I didn’t know it was still going.
Other Things and Stuff
The day was packed, played lots and should probably have written this the night I returned rather than waiting a week… But besides coming away from it with what is easily a £500+ wish list of games there were a few other things I’d learnt having finally attended a big games event:
1. Go over two days not one (day of Dev sessions and a day of games)
2. Make sure your following the festival/companies interested in on twitter – we found out about cool stuff that way (free insert coin t-shirts – Nintendo giving away ocarina’s etc. and the free swag is what its all about right?)
3. An exclusive dev talk with Richard Lemerchand and Nolan North. For some reason I’d forgotten about this until now but after running over to the Naughty Dog/Uncharted 3 section I ended up talking to one of the Sony people who let me sign up for an exclusive talk with these two about the game. In groups of about 20 we were shown 5mins of exclusive footage from the plane/desert sequence with a short Q&A session with the developers after all for ‘liking’ playstation access on facebook. Confirming that smartphones are so so useful.
4. The time I had in the Careers section was invaluable, however, a couple of the companies I had the opportunity to talk to wanted to see my work there and then (which was awesome) however I had only taken DVD’s. Next time the laptop is going along too.