EGX 2019 – What did we get up to?

On Thursday 17th October 2019, we attended our 7th EGX show (previously Eurogamer Expo). This year, the event is being held at the London Excel Convention Centre, moving away from the NEC in the West Midlands.

For the first time in 5 years, we only chose to do one day of EGX and it’s for the following reasons:

– Change of location – we’re only a 15 minute drive from the NEC so it’s cheap and easy for us to attend. With it being in London, even just the day has cost us quite a bit in terms of travel and accommodation.

– Not as much new content and games – this isn’t something that the show can control but on the whole, there weren’t as many ‘big’ unreleased games to go and play as there have been in previous years.

– Lack of pro-eSports – in the years previous to this, we have been lucky enough to see some excellent professional eSports games, from CS:GO invitationals to Rainbow Six champs through to League of Legends and various others. It might just be because we went on the first day, but this was distinctly lacking this year.

Okay, so now we’ve covered some of the negatives, let’s talk about why EGX is still a great show and what we got up to while we were there.

The Games

While there weren’t as many big games for us to go and check out months before launch this year, and a distinct lack of Xbox content, we did get a chance to play some games and just generally check out what’s new. Here’s a couple of the games we did play:

– Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

We weren’t lucky enough to play the CoD BETA this year due to it being at a time where we had other commitments so we were pretty psyched to finally have a go and honestly, it was pretty damn fun.

We demoed a game of domination on PS4 and right from the off the map felt intuitive in the way it played. If you wanted to take a route, there was usually a way but it was a well thought out and considered route that leaves room for different styles of game play.

The weapons felt balanced and sounded great and the time to kill didn’t feel too long for a standard core game type. In essence, there was enough time to react if you were being shot but equally, if you were doing the shooting, it didn’t feel like you needed a whole clip to do damage.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and am thoroughly looking forward to the launch a week from now (watch this space).

– Golf With Your Friends & Automachef

During the show, we had a bit of downtime before a talk and as we wandered around the show floor, we decided to go and check out what Team 17 (the creators of the well-know and epic game, Worms) were showing this year.

We weren’t disappointed as we first took on the challenge of setting up an automated kitchen in Automachef. The objective is simple: fulfil the orders coming into the kitchen by setting up the equipment in a way that automates the process. We’re talking ingredient dispensers, automatic grills, robotic arms, conveyer belts, the lot!

One way to think of Automachef is that it’s a sort of objective based puzzle game – a bit of logic needed but fun to play and a simple concept. When initially playing the game, it even reminded me a little of the classic ‘Theme Hospital’, just in the way you needed to layout your equipment in the space provided and on a budget.

While visiting the Team 17 section of the show, we also stopped by the ‘Golf With Your Friends’ game for a bit of light-hearted digital mini-golf. We love games like this – they’re super simple to play but can be fun for hours. The course we played was inventive and interesting and genuinely took some thought to play through, but equally left an element of hit it and hope for the best.

What we really liked about the game is it brought out a little bit of friendly competition!

There were a lot of games we didn’t get to play this year and this purely comes with the limitations of only doing a day at the show but wanting to experience everything on offer, or as much as we could.

Career Talks

EGX is a really great place to learn more about the gaming industry and learn from people who are in the industry and owning it.

Members of the team chose to attend two career talks this year, one about character concept design and one from Playground games about the recruitment process and what you need to apply for a job.

While there are a lot of universities presenting in the careers fair at the show, it was great to see that both talks offered great information and advice for people of all ages and skill levels. The fear at these talks is that they concentrate too much on people doing games related courses and not those that are way beyond uni but are still looking for a way into the industry.

For anyone looking to get into the gaming industry, the general advice seemed to be:

– Create a good portfolio (and website if possible) and tailor the work to the company you’re applying to, however, it’s also good to show a mix of work and game styles.

– Play games! They want to know you’re interested and understand what you’re going to be working on.

– Be resilient – like any job, you need to keep applying and take feedback that you can get.

– Have some personality – bring proof that you’re good at working with other people, have hobbies, can be social and understand why you’re applying for a role. You can’t just say ‘I really like games…’.

Gaming Tech Stands

One of our favourite features of EGX, beyond the games, is the gaming technology. This is everything from console based tech like modular controllers and pro controllers to monitors, PC peripherals and PC components.

If we’re honest, there aren’t many places in the UK where you can see, test and get a feel for the tech. Some of the big exhibitors for tech included:
– ASUS Republic of Gamers
– Omen by HP
– HyperX
– iiyama
– Razer
– Thermaltake
– Corsair
– Astro
– Turtlebeach
– Logitech G
– Cyberpower PC
– Overclocked
– Intel

Between the various stands listed (and any we forgot…), we got to try our fair share of keyboards, mice, beastly PC builds (even one with a RTX 2080 SLI GPU set-up!), monitors and more RGB than you can imagine. Corsair even had their usual logo made up of RGB fans.

One of the reasons we love this part of the show is because whenever you’re looking at these amazing builds and trying out equipment, you’re just surrounded by fellow gamers talking games and feeling equally giddy and excited about what’s in front of them. It’s kind of like a safe space for nerd-talk and gamers.

The Merch

As always, EGX 19 didn’t disappoint with the merchandise. In fact, EGX’s own merch stand had some pretty decent and well-priced merchandise including t-shirts, bags, scarfs, pin-badges, hoodies and more.

In the merchandise zone, there was an interesting mix this year from your favourite sweets and drinks through to really cool gaming prints. There was the usual thousands of t-shirts and hats and one thing that really stood out was the customisation options for controllers and gaming peripherals, something we love to see at these events!

In the bluntest kind of way, it was the usual gaming merch you would expect in one big space, pretty cool really!

Other features of the show

In all honesty, what we’ve covered so far is such a small proportion of what you can get up to at EGX and unfortunately due to time constraints this year, we didn’t get anywhere near any of the mini-tournaments they had nor the developer talks that were going on. Something we usually enjoy doing.

Some of the other things we did enjoy though were the brilliant console stands from Nintendo and Sony (unfortunately no Microsoft!). With things constantly going on with game demoes, giveaways, tournaments, audience participation opportunities, these stands always bring a lot of life to the show.

The retro zone and games library are also brilliant areas of the show to just kick back and relax with some nostalgic gaming. Name the old school console and game and it was probably there. We even played some classic Counter Strike while others enjoyed everything from Duck-Hunt with the original guns through to Timesplitters and old-school Star-Wars games.

What about 2020?

This year at EGX has been a blast and we’re all disappointed we couldn’t do longer at this year’s show, however, it’s worth noting that it’s not the best year we’ve had at EGX and with 2020 lined up to be such a massive year for gaming, we can only hope that EGX 2020 trumps every year we’ve been to previously.

We will be attending again next year but our wish list is going to be pick with two things topping the list: The return of Microsoft and the Xbox stage and area and bigger and better eSports like we’ve seen in the past.

Bring on 2020!

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