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.
Of course, the Eurogamer Expo wouldn't be very Eurogamery if we didn't sneak in some leftfield stuff, so there's also the Pixel-Lab Indie Arcade to look forward to, where you can play the PC version of Xbox Live Arcade classic Braid, the recent and brilliant Multiwinia from Introversion, and amazingly-named games like Dangerous Highschool Girls in Trouble and War Twat, among many others. Among six others. You may even see a few developers snooping around the Expo seeing how their games are doing, from the indies right up to more familiar faces from the likes of Valve. Assuming Chet wasn't lying in that email he sent me.
Dig beneath the hit-list of sexy coders and Q4 stunnahs and you'll find another side of the Expo, like the LittleBigPlanet pod showcasing our brilliant level design competition winner Michael Williams' in-game creation. You've seen the floor-plan, right? Take a look at the "Outside" bit. See where it says "Dawn of War II"? That's a tank with PCs in it. "Motorstorm Zone"? That's a Humvee. We can't promise booth babes, but we can promise incongruous military utility. And Bertie has a handlebar moustache.
The Eurogamer Expo isn't alone on the site either. Those of you who fancy a break from gaming and working-to-live can get a job if you go to the right career sessions, and there's a full-blown GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair in the adjacent building, where exhibitors include SEGA, THQ, Microsoft, Crytek, Relentless, Starbreeze, Realtime Worlds and others, with numerous sessions throughout the two days covering subjects like the development of Fable II and how to go from being a Quake mod developer to running your own studio.
"Easily the highlight of the Career Fair", however, in the words of our mothers, is the very special "Ask Eurogamer" panel (working title: "Say that to my f***ing face"), where yours truly, deputy editor Ellie Gibson and MMO editor Oli Welsh will take questions from the audience about whatever the audience wants to question us about. Want to know how we review things? Do we ever get threatened by publishers? How did we get our jobs? Which games have we played but can't talk about?
But perhaps you have a different question. Perhaps it's, "who is updating the website while you pretend people care about you and all that?" And it is a fair question, if a little rude (it's not like we're poking your cat with drawing pins, or making you talk to Kristan about Scandinavian alt-rock groups between 1997 and 2004 or anything). Fortunately, it's also a question we can answer now, because thanks to the miracle of laptops and internet, Eurogamer staff will be updating as normal throughout the Expo, providing our usual range of news items, features, incorrect opinions and other award-winning errors while some of you - and we - stand in Rupert's dream in London. Some of us will even be reviewing things behind closed doors at the Expo. You'll never be closer to the process. At least, those are the security team's instructions.
So come along to the Eurogamer Expo (did we mention that tickets cost five quid, that the money goes to charity, and that we only have about 500 left?), or don't come along to the Eurogamer Expo and just read the Eurogamer website instead. We'll never stop loving you. And Rupert will never stop dreaming of a brighter tomorrow, probably with a Eurogamer logo hanging from the moon. On a stick. See ya.
The Eurogamer Expo takes place on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th October at the Old Truman Brewery in London. Check out the Eurogamer Expo website for details on ticket availability and how to get there, or click through to page three for a full list of all the games on show.
The Eurogamer Expo Line-up
- Aggression: Reign Over Europe (PC)
- Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (Xbox 360)
- Bionic Commando (PlayStation 3)
- Bionic Commando (PC)
- Crusaders: Thy Kingdom Come (PC)
- Darksiders: Wrath of War (PlayStation 3)
- Darksiders: Wrath of War (Xbox 360)
- de Blob (Wii)
- Dimensity (PC)
- Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
- Dragon Hunters (DS)
- Fallout 3 (Xbox 360)
- Fallout 3 (PlayStation 3)
- Fallout 3 (PC)
- Far Cry 2 (PC)
- FIFA 09 (PlayStation 3)
- FIFA 09 (Xbox 360)
- Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)
- GTI Club+ (PlayStation 3)
- Killzone 2 (PlayStation 3)
- Left 4 Dead (PC)
- Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360)
- Legendary (PlayStation 3)
- Legendary (PC)
- LittleBigPlanet (PlayStation 3)
- Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
- Mirror's Edge (PlayStation 3)
- Mirror's Edge (Xbox 360)
- Mirror's Edge (PC)
- MotorStorm Pacific Rift (PlayStation 3)
- Puzzle Pack (PSP)
- Power Pack (PSP)
- Prince of Persia (PlayStation 3)
- Prince of Persia (Wii)
- RACE Pro (Xbox 360)
- Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party (DS)
- Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party (Wii)
- Red Bull BC One (DS)
- Red Faction: Guerrilla (PC)
- Red Faction: Guerrilla (PlayStation 3)
- Red Faction: Guerrilla (Xbox 360)
- Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360)
- Resistance 2 (PlayStation 3)
- Saints Row 2 (PlayStation 3)
- Saints Row 2 (Xbox 360)
- Saints Row 2 (PC)
- Shaun White Snowboarding (PC)
- Shaun White Snowboarding (Xbox 360)
- Shaun White Snowboarding (PSP)
- Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip (Wii)
- SOCOM: Confrontation (PlayStation 3)
- Street Fighter IV (Xbox 360)
- Street Fighter IV (PlayStation 3)
- Street Fighter IV (PC)
- Super Hind (PSP)
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (PC)
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (PlayStation 3)
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (Xbox 360)
- Tom Clancy's EndWar (PlayStation 3)
- Tom Clancy's EndWar (Xbox 360)
- Tom Clancy's HAWX (PlayStation 3)
- Tom Clancy's HAWX (Xbox 360)
- Tom Clancy's HAWX (PC)
- Viva Piņata: Pocket Paradise (DS)
- Wario Land: The Shake Dimension (Wii)
- Warriors of the Lost Empire (PSP)
- WorldShift (PC)
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 (PlayStation 2)