PC Gamer Weekender

Due to prior commitments I only managed to attend the Saturday but as everyone else had work I went solo, this meant that I got around to everything quicker and managed to play and test everything that I wanted to.

The morning was a bit rough on the staffs part but as a new event that is always expected as some things simply do not cross peoples minds until certain situations arise. When arriving at the Old Truman Brewery in London everyone seemed a bit confused as the front entrance of the building was not the entrance to the event, instead there was a note saying to go around the back of the building for the event, I feel this sign could have been a bit bigger and clearer in its instructions as it gave a road name to go down but the road itself was not labelled from what I could see and I guessed it was the way to go. After following, as much as I could, the instructions on the note I found where the line for entrance to the event was, it was situated in what I believe was a central courtyard fro the brewery within which, along with the line, were a few food sellers setting up in various transport and set-ups as one was simply laid out on tabletops while a couple where inside larger vehicles that had been converted.

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Just opposite the entrance was also parked a small tank or mobile artillery, I can not really spot the difference and most do not know there is one, which was there promoting the game World Of Tanks.

At this point I asked a member of staff what I needed to do as some events have separate entrances or sign in areas for press attendees, after a bit of a confused look on his face he went in to ask someone for me, when he returned he informed me I needed to go to the ticket booth to claim my pass. Now at this point I am unsure if I was sent the wrong ticket or if someone had misunderstood my ticket or if they did not have a dedicated press band but I was presented with a weekender plus wristband. After some contradicting information from a few members of the staff as to if I was allowed in to the event halls early or had to wait until 09:00 I got into the event relatively easily before the halls began to fill up.

Before everything got to manic I managed to sign myself up to an early try of the HTC Vive for 10:30 giving me some time to take a look around and find where everything is located. I managed to play a few games including Worms WMD and find the location of everything that I wanted to play before heading back to the HTC Vive booth for my 15 minute slot.

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You can find a full review of the HTC Vive HERE but what I will say is that I must get one and encourage anyone with an opportunity to try one to do it as it is an experience I will not soon forget. After I returned to the normal world from the VR one I had played around in I went around to the games and booths that interested me the most such as the ASUS PC Workshops, Total War: Warhammer and Master Of Orion along with everything in-between.

Most of my time seemed to be spent around the Team17 and Sega areas as the games in both where high on my list to play and the staff representing both where amazing and happy to talk at length on the different aspects of the games and seemed genuinely interested in the games and not reciting off of pre-learned scripts as I have encountered before at events when staff have been picked based on looks and not knowledge, as I have been a big fan of both companies for many years this was amazing as I can also talk a lot about games that I love to play and its nice to find people who share my enthusiasm and can shine some light on some of the more obscure things that I am not sure on.

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In all, for an events inaugural opening, I thought it went rather well and the booths themselves were fairly well laid out, The gaming floor was monitored for people going up and there was a rather large queuing system, weekender plus wristband holders were allowed permanent and constant access whereas day and standard weekend pass holders were held in the queue until they felt there was space or a time limit passed I am not entirely sure but part way through the day it seemed to simply not be used and people where allowed to come and go as they pleased.

Next time I hope that everyone at the event, staff wise, has all of the information that they need so that the staff can answer what ever questions they may be presented with and that a proper press pass be sorted, as I did have to convince a security guard I was there working as press before he granted me access to the tournament section to simply take some photos, and a press only area would have been nice, even just a room with tables and chairs as propping my pad against the wall to take notes on the event and various games was not ideal and with my memory it would have been handy to have somewhere to go and sit and get my thoughts down on paper before I lost them. The only other issue that I noticed was, for whatever reason, that a number of the exhibitors had not allowed or had not been allowed enough time to set up as I still saw people setting things up between 09:30 and 10:00 when the doors had opened to the public at 09:00

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I can happily say I would attend again and would recommend the event to any gamer or someone with an interest in games/board games/PC building/general PC tech and give the event 7.5/10 giving a few allowances for being a first time event that I hope will be ironed out for next time

Captain Ozz