Feature: Lessons From a Gaming Expo
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
A rite of passage
For many gamers, this hobby of ours is about more than just buying and playing games, but also about hitting up expos, which are havens of gaming and related shenanigans. We’ve spent the past few days soaking up the sights and sounds at the Eurogamer Expo in London, and we’ve had some important gaming life lessons reaffirmed in the process.
If you hype it, they will come
Nintendo secured a good spot at the Eurogamer Expo with the Wii U section – though some 3DS demos were thrown in – being one of the first that attendees see. What’s most fascinating is that ZombiU has its own separate queue, with those eager zombie victims waiting up to two hours to play one game, when the Wii U area as a whole has various titles on offer. Even better, this title’s queue is often longer than the Wii U equivalent, showing that it’s dominating gamer’s attentions and, maybe affections.
We shouldn’t be surprised, as Nintendo of Europe has gone to great lengths to hype the title as a must-have Wii U exclusive. We even have the ZombiU console bundle, which doesn’t include Nintendo Land but comes with a Pro Controller as an extra incentive. The demo area itself is bigger than any other Nintendo title on show, even New Super Mario Bros. U. Most expo fans will be trying it out for the first time, but lots of coverage and the coveted ‘18’ rating mean that it gets top billing.
Still, Wii U has been quite well hyped overall, featuring as one of the most popular attractions on show. Does hype equal brilliance? Not long until we find out.
People wear the strangest things
Ah, cosplay. We all have heroes, some of whom exist as pixels or polygons, and dressing up as them is the greatest complement we can pay – apart from filling their owner’s wallets by buying the games, of course. There are official mascots of course, including the Super “God they’re tall” Mario Bros. pictured in our photos from the Eurogamer Expo show floor, but they don’t count because they’re being paid to dress up and amuse us all. Real cosplay is reserved for the unpaid enthusiasts, who often make their own outfits, with mixed results.
Some outfits are rather good, making the distinction between paid-up pros and good cosplayers tricky, with mini-celebrities forming in the process. One dressed as Lara Croft, for example, drew quite a crowd keen to take pictures, but we weren’t sure if she was linked to the publisher or game. We also met a walking Pikachu, who ironically informed us that she was, exclusively, an Xbox gamer; like we said, people wear the strangest things.
Ultimately cosplay is all about being a big fan and, maybe, a bit of a show-off. The Nintendo Life staff have debated whether a full pre-prepared outfit for hire counts, but let's keep things simple and say they are cosplay. It’s such a phenomenon that YouTube videos go viral, and expos often have photo-booths where attendees can pose and get a memento in front of an official background. If you decide to go cosplay, make sure you go all the way, like the pictured Pidgeot posing with our very own Mike Mason.
If you need StreetPass puzzle pieces, look no further
At the Eurogamer Expo there’s a rather nice area with big comfy seats, rather conveniently called the ‘Nintendo Life StreetPass Zone’. While it may be tricky to pick up many StreetPass hits where you live, wherever you are, events like these are a bonanza of hits, cool Mii characters and funky hats. For some of us desperate for pink puzzle pieces, it’s been a revelation.
If you can bear the thought of repeatedly clearing out hits from the StreetPass plaza, ten at a time of course, you’ll quite possible turn your woefully empty puzzle panels into cool 3D dioramas. Wherever these magical expo gamers got all of their pink puzzle pieces – maybe at yet another event – you may as well grab them while you can. In our experience it’s possible to pick up over 100 Mii chums, easily more, and it becomes an obsessive mini-game in its own right.
Pro tip for this: don’t forget to hold the R button to speed up the animations. If you don’t, then it’ll take you a long time to populate the plaza.
Those are three things that are inevitable at any gaming expo, and an experience for those trying one out for the first time. If you’ve been to gaming or technology events, tell us all about it in the comments below.