EGX, formerly the Euro Gamer Expo, started yesterday. Last year I was there for the duration of the event, but this year due to professional responsibilities—and the fact that I like getting paid for my work—I can’t make it to the first two. But tomorrow and Sunday, you can bet I’ll be there. There are a few games already in my sights, most of them in the Rezzed section.
It’s not that the AAA games don’t capture my attention, they do, as much as the Indies. I’m a gamer, I just love games, so to me it doesn’t matter where they come from, be it a single developer working from his basement and paying for the game with a quadruple mortgage or a giant studio with hundreds of employees. Those things matter very little to me, as I’m interested in the final product, the game that I will enjoy—or feel disappointed by.
But when it comes to EGX and following on from last year’s examples, the queues for the AAA games will be insane. I want to play Final Fantasy XV and many of the other Square Enix games—even more considering they might not send me a review code for their bigger titles—but I am unwilling to queue for five hours for what is essentially a short demo.
I’d rather spend that time looking for those interesting indie and student gems you see in the Rezzed and Leftfield Collection sections. Or look at the amazing cosplayers, the e-sports tournaments and much more. I want to visit the stalls and see what I can buy, or at least hope to. I want to use that time to talk to people, to meet new developers, to look at what the hardware people have on display.
There is so much to see at EGX, so many people to meet and so many acquaintances and friends to find, that I won’t ever waste my time with the AAA queues.
Over the course of next week, I’ll write about some of the high points of the event, some of the best I saw—though if there’s anything atrociously bad, I suppose I’ll have to talk about that too. Unlike last year, this time I’ve kept my agenda as open as possible, only booking a handful of interviews. The first reason is that this will give me more time to look around and find things to write about, but the second is that most of the time when you approach developers as press and they’re expecting you, they tense up and the conversation is awkward, unnatural even.
I prefer to engage them as people, as gamers enjoying what they play and what they make. I want to talk to the artist, the guy or gal who’s exploring his dreams through this new game, rather than the professional game developer who has to control what he says to keep the PR message in control. I don’t care about the brands and the names. I care about the people, their stories, passions and dreams.
One of my regrets from when I interviewed Mike Bithell in last year’s Rezzed is that I focused on the games and didn’t give him the chance to waffle on about the stuff he likes. I kept it professional and didn’t even think of giving him a chance to just be himself.
Aside from EGX, I’m playing through a couple of games for review now. I know, this week has been review-heavy, but I’ve gotten a few of them at the same time. But once I get through this latest batch of games and unless another giant chunk of games comes along, I’ll probably spend a few weeks just writing articles on a variety of subjects. Otherwise, I might end up in the same rut I was in before, where I only wrote reviews.
Besides, I look at the stats every day and these review weeks are terrible, just plain terrible. I enjoyed writing about In Medias Res more than you’ll ever know and that day had the most reads and views of the week, more than double of what I’ve had in the past few days with all the reviews. So I really want to focus on the other areas of the site. Hell, I want some time to work on new story premises, writing guides and generally complain about some stuff I’ve seen on TV.
I really enjoyed the hell out of my Tokusatsu and Star Wars Legends series, even if no one read them, as they let me show you some of the stuff I love. Much like meeting developers and artists as people, to let them tell me about the things they love, I also like to have opportunities to share these things.
I will continue writing about games, of course, but I’ll focus on some general opinion articles and not reviews—still an opinion, but a completely different focus and format.
If you’re going to EGX this weekend, keep an eye out for me. I’ll probably be wearing my Firefly theme song sweater and be walking aimlessly around the place. I give free hugs and I’m always interested in meeting new people and chat about random stuff.
And if you can’t make it, I’ll have some interesting stuff for you next week, so you can live EGX through my experiences, as pretentious as that may sound—kind of thing that sounds way cooler in my head!