So another year is soon coming to an end, another year in which I didn’t become good-looking, or rich. One day. Random rather depressing and strange opening sentence aside, I feel that 2014 has been a pretty good year personally when it comes to videogaming. With that in mind, I want to share my favourite gaming memory of the last year.
In September, I and a group of friends travelled to the Eurogamer Expo, which took place at Earl’s Court, London, England. I have previously been to Eurogamer, but the last time I was able to visit was about 3 years ago, so I was extremely excited to go again. After having some trouble navigating the London tubes, (I’ve not have a great deal of experience with the underground) we eventually made our way to the famous building.
To say that it was a tad busier than when I last attended, is a bit of an understatement. The first time I visited EGX it was still a relatively up-and-coming convention, since then its status in the gaming world has only continued to grow, as has the amount of visitors it attracts. Still it wasn’t a huge problem, most of the games I wanted to play featured reasonable waiting times. The two games that I wanted to play more than anything else at EGX were Bayonetta 2 and Bloodbourne. My friends have a significantly different gaming taste to mine, they are definitely into more mainstream games than I am, so instead of queueing up with them and playing something that I didn’t particularly want to, I decided to set off on my own and play the games I wanted to play.
First up was Bayonetta 2. It’s kind of a strange thing to say, but when I arrived at the Bayonetta booth, I was disappointed with the size of the queue for the game. There were only about 10 people lined up to experience it. On one hand I was pleased that I wouldn’t have to wait for hours, on the other hand it was disappointing because I believe Bayonetta is a brilliant franchise that deserves more recognition. Hyrule warriors, a game that had been released before EGX, had a waiting line about 8 times the size of Bayonetta. I’m not saying Hyrule Warriors is a bad game because it certainly isn’t, but it was still disappointing to see the disparity in numbers nonetheless. Before even experiencing a second of Bayonetta 2’s gameplay, I could tell that regardless of the quality of which I was about to experience, judging on the seeming lack of interest from the gamers at the expo, this game was not going to sell well in my home country.
Despite this deflated feeling, my emotions soon perked up when I arrived at the front of the line. The Nintendo employee who was showcasing the game asked me if I had any prior experience with the series. I replied by saying that I was huge fan, to which he replied that I could either play a snippet of the opening level or fight a tougher boss battle. Not wanting to potentially embarrass myself (It had been a while since I’d played the first game), I decided to play through the demo level. Headphones in, I got myself into “the zone”, as I readied myself for the moment in which I was about to play the game that had convinced me to purchase a Wii U in the first place. The section of the game that I played was an exhilarating experience and one that ended all too soon. I completed an in-game verse and was awarded with a Gold medal, the Nintendo employee seemed genuinely impressed and it felt good to have achieved this, even if it was in front of only about 5 other people, who were probably all better than me at the game anyway.
After playing Bayonetta 2, I plodded on playing whatever I could. I can remember playing Lords Of The Fallen, Project Cars, Sleeping Dogs HD, Mortal Kombat and some PS2 Japanese rhythm game that I can’t remember the name of. Even though I had the two specific games that I wanted to play, in the form of Bayonetta 2 and Bloodbourne, I tried to cram in as much stuff as possible. A thing I love about Expos is that they provide gamers with a chance to play games they normally wouldn’t. From a people perspective, the people at the Expo were friendly and approachable as were the visiting gamers, although some dude cosplaying as a Zombie did try to eat me!
It must have reached about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I still couldn’t find the Bloodbourne booth. So, I decided to take a visit to bar and contact a friend who had visited the expo the day before and ask him if he knew where it was. I discovered that the Bloodbourne booth was in a quite hidden away corner of Sony’s floorspace, which is why I must have had such trouble finding it. I then decided to have a few drinks, before setting off to play Bloodbourne.
Whilst waiting in line for Bloodbourne I realised two things, firstly I hadn’t eaten since the early morning and secondly, I may have drunk a bit too much. Now, I’m not the biggest guy in the world and to be honest I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to alcohol anyway and it’s even worse if I haven’t had anything to eat. I wasn’t drunk, but let’s just say I was feeling a bit “happy.”
After about 30-40 minutes of waiting in line for Bloodbourne, it was my turn to play the game. As I walked into the booth, I was greeted by a Sony employee who told me that I only had one life and when I died my turn was over. Oh dear, this was not going to go well, I thought. I stepped up to the controller, took a deep breath and began to play. Whereas on Bayonetta 2 I had exuded confidence, now whilst playing Bloodbourne, I was the complete opposite.
I believe the section of Bloodbourne that I played is similar to the area which was distributed in the recent PS4 BETA. The player character I was controlling began in an area with no enemies and with a locked gate ahead of them. I kid you not, for 10 minutes I walked this area trying to figure out what to do. I smashed everything destructible in sight, repeatedly attacked the locked gate and even accidentally used most of my consumable items. I have completed Dark Souls 1 and 2, but at this moment in time it would appear to an onlooker that I had never played a game in the souls series before. 10 minutes passed, then I realised that all I had to do was take a left from the starting point and climb a ladder. Yeah, really. I actually laughed out loud at this point, as I must have passed this ladder countless times. The first couple of people waiting in the queue were able to view those who were currently playing the game, I have no idea what the person behind me must have thought when they witnessed my playthrough.
To cut a long story short, I climbed up the ladder and then survived against the in-game enemies for about half the time it had taken me to realise that I had to climb a ladder. I had waited in line for 40 minutes, to spend 10 mintues working out how to move upwards and then almost immediately be killed afterwards. Well, that’s the souls series for you. At least I had the excuse that I was slightly inebriated at the time. Despite this, I immensely enjoyed what I did play of Bloodbourne, graphically it looked beautiful with the gothic setting looking absolutely stunning and what little of the combat I did experience was extremely fun to play.
After Bloodbourne I rejoined my friends as I had played everything I wanted to and decided to join them in playing COD and Battlefield. I don’t think I got a single kill on Battlefield and I’m lucky to have gotten a few on COD, I’m not a fan of FPS games but it was still nice to play these unreleased games.
So should you go to a gaming expo? 100% yes. As someone who has now been twice and already has a plan in place to go again next year, if it is possible for you to visit an expo then I urge you to visit one. I also advise you not to play Bloodbourne after drinking. Have a good new year, don’t get too wasted and let me know what you favourite gaming memory of the last year has been.
All photos used in this post were taken by myself at EGX.