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EGX: Surviving Gaming Conventions

Hey Peeps!

I Recently attended EGX Birmingham for 1st dibs on upcoming game releases. I’d attended an EGX a couple of years prior but hadn’t maximised the experience, It was just a laugh. This time the aim was to cram as many titles in as possible! However, there are nuances to bear in mind at such events that can and will most likely hinder your plans if you’re not wise to the game. So, for the convention novice I’ve prepped a little guide & (in parts) story of “How to Survive Games Conventions”. Along with some reviews of the titles and their presentations. Anyone attending a major games convention or any convention for that matter should most definitely read on, and heed my advice less ye be spared sweaty horrors!

I’ll be thorough, brutal & completely honest, covering the entire experience. You’ll find following points of interest.


The Guide

  • Book your accommodation

  • Get your Plan Straight

  • Download the app

  • Buy the right kit

  • Travel

  • Cash Money

  • Queues

  • Major Games

  • Inde Games

  • Retro

  • Freebies

  • Time

  • Girls

Games & Stand Reviews

  • Destiny 2

  • Forza Motorsport

  • NBA2K18

  • Battlefront 2

  • Fifa 18

  • Lego: Marvel Super Heroes 2

  • Raging Justice

  • Retro Time

The Guide

Book your accommodation

at the point you decide to go! We knew we were going but dragged our heels in buying the tickets and booking accommodation. Being rookies we didn’t realise hotels pretty much double their prices closer to the date you want to stay, especially if there’s a local event happening. Even the cheapest hotels and B&B’s that would usually charge £40-£50 a night where asking for £130 minimum for a room with two single beds. Muthaf%ck@*s! I can live with the mega chain hotels milking me for profit, whats new? but your supposedly wholesome family run B&B’s are clearly wise to the hustle. Mo Muthaf%ck@*s! How dare they make a living!!

Get your Plan B straight

If you miss your train? If you lose your ticket? If your girlfriend double books? What the fu%@! You gonna do bro? Plan for the above and more. Think Murphy’s law.

Download the app or brochure

and decide what games, talks, reveals, cosplay shows etc are most important to you and prioritise them! If you’ve gone to the trouble of paying for the event you should get what you came for. Take it from someone who knows. The pain of knowing you missed what got you excited enough to book the damn ticket for in the 1st place will override whatever pleasure you did have, and burn your cranium for a day or two depending on your ability to move on and general level of maturity. So when you get there head straight for most important agenda item! Naturally If you know the layout you’ll waist less time flaying around with a an angry gurn and & lost emptiness in your eyes like I did!

Buy the right kit

Ensure you have the necessary essentials in your anime cosplay utility belt or Rucksack. You’ll want the most comfortable baggage and a ruck sack with two straps is the way to go! Next is Handwipes or hand sanitiser gel. Go with the wipes though, this way you can kindly leave the controller cleaner than you found it. Remember its mainly adolescent men & boys attending these events who’ll take a piss and rarely wash their hands, sneeze and wipe the snot with their hands or (more commonly) reach down & manoeuvre genitalia with their hands kinda guys. not to mention the fact that gripping a controller highly generally induces sweaty palms..Capish?? Next is Snacks, These events are money pits! You’ll spend monopoly money on snacks from the onsite shops. I spent £2.00 for a sprite and decided i’d rather fast then pay 200% more than my local store for a bag of skittles. Last on my kit list is Phone Charger Pack. For obvious reasons you’ll want to document your day trip with a selfie or potential vlog post. Doing so will drain your already crappy smartphone battery & as you can imagine all the plugs are used up. That’s it, you could go balls deep and make provisions for your portable gaming devices or pack spare dungeons & dragons cards etc, but for your average like gamer like moi, the above should serve you well.


Mi buddy & I decided to make this a Road Trip. We got siked and loaded my sports-wagon with premium unleaded, fine munch, dope playlists then dusted off. The ride was sweet! Stone Roses at 80mph, Autumn red horizon, techni-colored sunset sky, Asphalt for days & man banter. But in hindsight perhaps the above could’ve been enjoyed a little more in a 1st class Virgin cabin with readily available pissing facilities, space to stretch with perhaps a little eye candy in an adjacent aisle? Draw your own conclusions. One little nugget of wisdom though! Because we had a car with a boot we could deposit our newly acquired baggage at intervals and return to said event skipping light and fancy free! The train-cru massive on the other hand were not as peachy.

Cash Money

Pretty self-explanatory really. Bring loads! I thought I’d try and practice self-restraint this time as I had personal expenses for the month. Whilst I only spent £40 on a Game of Thrones varsity jacket, I could’ve spent a whole lot more on some of the awesome items scattered across the event.

There’s usually everything you could image merchandise wise not to mention the wondrous tech! See pics for the god PCs you could acquire your money’s right.

There’s stuff you really don’t need and won’t ever use like the 8 inch figure replicas, but if you’re going to all this trouble to attend the event why deny yourself the pleasure of splurge? Save a month or so prior to the event. How much? really depends on your circumstance, but whether you’re a baby daddy with child support branded across your forehead or a playboy with disposable income, bring sum dough to play with!


TAKE NOTE You will spend a great portion of your time in queues If you want to play the new games due for release. We’re talking at least an hour minimum! 45mins for less popular titles if you’re lucky! Unfortunately standing up, moving one step every 10mins is the least of your woes. PEOPLE! are the problem. Creating an offensive cocktail of body-odor, heat, noise, hunger, fatigue and anticipation. How does one survive? Good question.

1. Piss before you Cue! – The nerd behind you won’t save your place!

2. Bring over-ear headphones – You may be in earshot of very bad convo, why not make it easier on yourself. I had some 30+ crackhead with a loud voice, dreadful laugh, South Park sense of humour and a complete lack of consideration for those in close proximity of his shoddy banter and offensive wit. I spent a whole hour and 10mins wishing I had headphones and some poison.

3. Pack a snack for energy, you’ll get peckish just standing up for so long!

4. Handheld gaming device – PSP VITA, Nintendo Switch or your phone, whatever your fancy, It will help pass the hour. Of course you just chat with your mates, but there may be reason to split up and hit multiple games if you have limited time? Either way be prepared.

Body odour at Games Conventions is Real!!! – to thwart the beast, be the wise fox. Enter the cue and discreetly inhale near the person(s) in front. If your nostrils don’t sting you’re good. Wait a min to see who joins the queue (or “line” if you’re American) behind you. Should any person(s) show up, and the B O is real! Leave and re-join with no less than a 5metre gap of separation. You’ll have more success queuing Anti-Meridian than Post Meridian. Gamers have less time to work up a sweat! so after lunch muck about on the other games stands. Which leads me to the critique oneself at such events. Make sure you don’t layer up. Games conventions are venues filled with machines that generate heat. Tv’s, arcades, consoles, PCs and bodies, they’re anything but cold. Don’t add to the aroma, stay fresh and administer a spray of antiperspirant at intervals. Or you may find experienced convention goers dodging your smelly self.

Major Games

Part 1:

So to the nitty gritty. Major games that you’ve played before aren’t so much an issue as you’ll know what to do. But those brand new games with new control systems will be a complete waste of time if you don’t know the controls! When Alien: isolation came out and they demo’d it with the occulus headset I waited for 1hr to play the thing, didn’t know the controls, died and got booted off within 3mins! 3 fuc%in* mins!!! The developers stated each person only gets 1 life. So you can see there’s a clear way to do these things and a way not to do these things. Had I asked for the controls from a steward when forming the line/queue or looked them up online beforehand I wouldn’t have wasted precious time! You’ll want to make the most of your time or you’ll just leave the event racked off!! Like me!

Part 2:

The big releases with the big queues isn’t entirely where you should dedicate your time. Por Exemplo! After walking around trying to fine the Codemasters stand to play Dirt 4 I stumbled upon 2 kids on a bean bag playing the destiny 2 campaign with no queue behind them and no apparent time limit?!! I found two rows of Project Cars 2 Demo’s on Xbox & Playsations. Once again with no queue or time limit, and don't forget the PC areas typically have rows of high end PC's with headphones readily available for single or multiplayer sessions. There were also a good few other games that were available to play that were definitely worth one’s time, and would’ve provided far more entertainment and potential gamer-blog fodder or happy memories than the aforementioned Queue of suffering.

Indie Games

Surprisingly this was an area offering a welcome plethora of surprises. You’re not going to find the kind of graphics delivered by major studios but you will find a level of originality unsurpassed. These are the do-it yourself developers. The people who saw a need for something and invested time, money & love to make that something real. I found this area quite inspiring, and an excellent place to generate contacts and possible leads for work opportunities & collaborations. I strongly suggest dedicating a significant amount of time to this area. You’ll find the wait times are a small fraction of that for major releases. The length of time you have to get stuck into each game or software is also far more ideal. Most developers will prefer you to spend as much time as required to get pass the learning curve to the point where you “get it”. Furthermore, as you’re doing so you get a presentation of the history, inspiration and hopeful future of that particular game or venture, which you’re hopefully going to be a part of. So yeah, I can’t stress the importance of the Inde- section.


If you’re a fan of gameplay over graphics or an overall lover of just video games regardless of the package then the retro section (most self-respecting games conventions will have a retro section) will offer a little nostalgia or prompt an appreciation of how far we’ve come from the days of 8,16 and 32 bit consoles. Retro offers excellent gaming as they’re usually the very best of earlier consoles. Unfortunately some of the controls end up battered or broken by a certain point of the day. Most likely because these areas tend to be unregulated and unsupervised? I’d advise packing a Megadrive, snes or other controller for whichever retro console you may wish to play with. So when you find the d-pad missing or the l shoulder button stuck, you can rock on! Just be sure to disclose you have these when you arrive to avoid suspicion from security. Something else to bear in mind is the that you may find a retro game stand/shop so bring a spare £30 to pick up a golden oldie? Just be sure to haggle before you part with coin!


Following on from the above section just a very minor mention of the freebees found at these events. You don’t get many from the larger developers. Perhaps the odd download code for a minor perk in a game but that’s it. T-shirts are quite rare but you might get lucky. Posters once again are quite rare, just be conscious of storage. Pack a few elastic bands for posters or you’ll ruin them before your get home. The rest you can probably bung in the backpack. I landed a few coasters and that was it.


The major currency to consider at any convention. But it’s reeal simple see! One day is NOT enough! There's a really good reason why they sell multi day passes. In fact following this most recent experience I'll be looking to buy multi-day passes for conventions in general. It's just a better way to get the most out of the experience. I found myself checking the time throughout the day, thinking of how long i'd been there and how long I have left. Towards the end of the day I kept wishing I had one more day. A just to have a 2nd go at some of the more desired titles or time to just enjoy one element of the convention without knowing I'm sacrificing time for something else. This event was split into 3 Zones. I would have been happy to spend a day in each zone. Milked all three and got my monies worth. Or spend the 1st day grazing and getting a feel for the layout & the 2nd day going for what really mattered. I highlighted 15 titles to check out and managed to see or play 5. A measly one 3rd of what I wanted, and that was whilst trying to be as economical with my time as possible. Furthermore, I'd also recommend going during the week if you can. This convention ran from Thursday to Sunday. I would go on Thurs - Fri at least. Why? Because kids are or should be in school! You'll see small groups in school uniform who clearly have quite progressive parents, and any that do attend tend to leave a good hour or so before the end of the day leaving you to enjoy lesser waiting times. There's also the obvious fact that weekends will be the busiest with Saturday being the worst!


Not many, it's a video games convention! The most attractive women are those paid to be there at certain stands and they most don’t want to be there! Cosplay shows however bare unusual fruit. see for yourself.....