If you can see it, you can go there. Ten years ago, that was a grand enough vision to sell any videogame. These days, you better be able to blow it up when you get there, draw on it, or debuff the aggro so you can heal your pet before grouping the next cave on TeamSpeak, or we're not even getting out of WOW. Not surprisingly, then, things have grown up a bit since Rupert Loman first went to the now-defunct ECTS in 1999, just after founding this website, and dreamed of a giant "Eurogamer" banner fluttering from the ceiling rafters.
These days, things are a bit different. Rupert's still in charge, but now he's got a fancy office in Brighton full of passionate journalists and website developers, a massive monthly audience to satisfy, and his pick of the ladies (if by "ladies" you mean "Jaffa cakes"). It's no longer about going somewhere and hanging "Eurogamer" on an expo; we want to hang an expo on Eurogamer instead. So that's what we're going to do this week. That's the Eurogamer Expo.
Well, not entirely. After all, that makes it sounds like pure vanity. The reality is much more Eurogamery. The Expo runs on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th October from 11am to 10pm at the Old Truman Brewery in London, and we're inviting all of you to come down and get your hands on more than 60 playable games, including all this year's big Christmas releases (like Gears of War 2) and some from beyond (like Killzone 2). The Eurogamer Expo is also home to various European firsts: the first playable Resident Evil 5, the first playable Left 4 Dead on Xbox 360 (networked, naturally), the first playable Street Fighter IV on Xbox 360 (and in arcade form).
Asked to pick their favourites from a list elsewhere on this page, what was striking about the Eurogamer staff's response - although perhaps not, if you've met any of us before - we its sheer bewildering incoherence. Nobody could make their mind up. Developers Craig and Mark want to play Left 4 Dead and LittleBigPlanet (Craig plans to use his recent leg surgery to push his way to the front, so make sure to stamp on his tits if he does that), Kristan wants to play Gears of War 2, and Bertie just likes to watch. In this case he means the people in Ubisoft's Far Cry 2 tournament, where you could win 500 quid. "The best bit of LAN tournaments is watching everybody's concentration face," he tells us sagely.
If you can't be bothered with any of that, there are plenty of other big-name games that you can play before release, including Prince of Persia (released in Europe on 5th December), Fallout 3 (out this Friday), Tomb Raider: Underworld (21st November), Mirror's Edge (14th November) and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (also 14th November). Next year you'll have to work out if you want the likes of Bionic Commando, Tom Clancy's HAWX and Red Faction: Guerrilla, but you can start making your mind up by playing through the latest builds on the Eurogamer Expo floor.