The videogame industry is one of the most lucrative entertainment industries on the planet. Every year it excels with new technology and innovation and has garnered millions of eager fans in the UK.
So why was the 2010 Eurogamer Expo, Britain’s biggest videogame expo, such a massive disappointment?
I’ll tell you why; most of the games were brutish shooters, all clones of each other in most respects. There was also a woeful lack of already announced, and highly anticipated, titles games fans like me are gagging to see first-hand. And, lastly, as far as expos go, this one was bland.
An event like this is going to attract a lot of videogames fans, and there are millions, from all walks of life. Most might be kids, or young students, but all are savvy enough to use the internet to keep up to date with all the latest developments on their favourite pass-time.
With that in mind, everything at Eurogamer 2010 was old news. Most of the games available to play have playable demos on Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Hilariously, a good chunk of the others were already out on shop shelves.
Nothing there seemed original, apart from the PS Move, which is itself a clone of the Wii and already out (look! Here’s a review). If it wasn’t another first, or third, person shooter with a slight twist on how the player affects physics within the game, it was a sequel or a remake.
Don’t get me wrong, I like brutish shooters. I do. I’m sure I’d probably enjoy, to some degree, playing through games like Killzone 3, Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, Brink, Vanquish or Socom Special Forces, but nothing stands out. None of these grabs me more than, say, Halo Reach is at the moment. Where’s the variation, the creativity?
I’ll tell you where. It’s sitting in some poor game-developer’s brain, sobbing, starving, begging to be put out of its misery. Because when a game costs £20m or more to make, the money men want a game that will sell. Solution: copy the format that sells. It’s depressing.
On the other hand, the most exciting piece of gaming news to come out of 2010 is the announcement of Nintendo’s follow-up to the mighty DS: the 3DS. It’s a portable console with sticky-out, 3D graphics you don’t need to wear glasses for. And it wasn’t there. It wasn’t at Eurogamer 2010.
Nintendo chose instead to get excited about your exclusive chance to try the highly anticipated rehashes GoldenEye and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Fun games, but nothing new. Nintendo took the biscuit though by having only one playable version of the new Zelda title, Skyward Sword, in a small shrouded booth. This picked up a constant two-to-four hour queue over the whole weekend.
The internet is full of footage of this new Zelda title, and I’ve played all the others. I’m not waiting two hours to go ‘Hm, yeah, not bad’.
Also noticeable by their absences were Valve, makers of Portal, Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead, etc, and Call Of Duty Black Ops. The latter made no sense; it’s out in about a month. It must be pretty crap.
Other exclusive ‘highlights’ were the Kinnect; Xbox’s slow, demanding motion control device, out soon, and Def Jam Rap Star; think SingStar but with rap.
As a treat for the hardcore amongst the attendees, the Expo put on a series of talks from top videogame developers about the trials and tribulations of their industry. Videogame non-disclosure agreements are amongst the toughest in entertainment, I doubt anyone announced GTA 5, let’s put it that way.
These lectures are a brilliant attraction and, as non-forthcoming with the juicy news as the speakers might be, it’s inspiring for the kids wanting to get into gaming and highly fascinating stuff. You’d probably be quite bored by it though.
From Little Big Planet 2, via Rock Band 3, Saw 2, Medal of Honor and Castlevania Lord of Shadows, all the games at Eurogamer 2010 were playable. Most even fun. But none were an inspiring reminder of the shock and awe brilliant gaming is able to produce.
This largely underwhelming show was hosted by Eurogamer (a popular gaming news and reviews website) with little to no showbiz, no fabulous prizes, no glamorous booth-babes, no mouth-watering exclusives. It’s just a big empty space with lots of TVs.
Not that you need glamour to make a successful games expo but they would have helped this one. A lot.
I commend Eurogamer for even putting this show on; it’s all we have here in the UK. But when you look at the likes of E3, The Tokyo Games Show and GamesCom you feel woefully mistreated as a British gamer. 2009 was better though, more of that next year please, Eurogamer.