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  • My First Trip To EuroGamer Expo

    This is a little late as the expo was at the end of September!

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    The EuroGamer Expo is one of those events that sneaks up on me each year and I never get around to booking tickets so after getting the heads up from a friend this year I made sure I’d got tickets booked in plenty of time (Thanks Niaz!)

    If you don’t know the event is a huge exhibition where game developers bring out their latest and greatest to show off for the public to preview (in the hope they will go on to buy them at a later date of course..it’s all mutually beneficial!)

    As well as all the new stuff there are developer sessions, a retro section as well as plenty of things to buy and people dressed as their favourite characters.

    Nuns, Hitman and Lara!

    Earthworm Jim!

    So in terms of new “big” games what did I actually play?

    Assassins Creed 3 – I was really looking forward to playing this and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m a big fan of the series and it looks great and plays as you’d expect it to play. The naval battle demo was interesting even though I was a but rubbish at it. I’ll certainly be picking this up.

    Tomb Raider – This is a game that wasn’t really on my radar and was pleasantly surprised at how good it is. It looks great and takes a very different style to the previous games. From a plot perspective think of it as a “reboot”.

    Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 – I’ve been avoiding football games (i.e FIFA and PES) for the last few years, it’s probably a subject of another blog post but I thought I’d give it another try as there happened to be a free controller as I walked past. The verdict? Seems like a big improvement so I’ll give PES a chance this year if i can find a copy at the right price.

    DOOM 3 BFG Edition – This was actually my first experience of playing a 3D game. I wasn’t overly impressed. The whole thing seemed to dark to be able to tell what was going on and while the 3D effect was nice while just walking around and exploring it just didn’t work once the action started to get a little frantic. Not for me.

    Hitman Absolution – I don’t really have much knowledge of the Hitman series. This wasn’t a bad game but didn’t really grab me. Probably worth a second look at some point though.

    There were also lots of games I was happy to watch other people play (in part as I really didn’t want to join some of the larger queues!). Sim City, Halo 4, F1 Race Stars, An Unfinished Swan, Prison Architect, Rocksmith all caught my attention.

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    In terms of the event itself what was good and what was bad?

    Actually there were plenty of good things to talk about.

    It was really good to see lots of families at the event. Gaming covers such a broad range of people now it was nice to see something other than the stereotypical “hard core”. The separate over 18 section was good to see in this respect. 

    The venue. I’ve never actually been to Earls Court before. But on the whole I couldn’t think of anything wrong as such. There was plenty of space and it never felt crowded at any point and the queues to get in disappeared much quicker than I thought they would.

    Accessibility -  my friend had a minor operation on his leg the week before the event but was still only able to walk about with a crutch. The staff at the event were really great though, making sure he was able to do everything with a minimum of fuss.

    Developer Sessions – I only managed to see the Prison Architect session in person and it was great! Hearing the thought process behind the whole history of the game was really interested and they kept the room entertained throughout. You can find links to the sessions that were recorded on the EuroGamer website

    Free Stuff – They were giving away some neat stuff at the various stands if you got in quickly enough. I’ve got a very cool little Hitman character sitting on my desk in the office.

    And the not so good?

    Mobile phone coverage – there were a lot of people at the Expo and while I was able to use the website and follow the Twitter hashtag initially before long my mobile phone quickly became a glorified camera. I was barely able to send texts or make calls for most of the day, let alone use the Internet. This was really disappointing. There were some people I was hoping to catch up but it was impossible to communicate with anyone. I’d have happily have paid a bit extra for my ticket in return for some WiFi. 

    Queues – yeah it’s an obvious one but there was tons I didn’t get to do because I was unwilling to wait in a queue. I really wanted to check out Halo 4 but I’m not so desperate that I’d stand in line for an hour. I had an early access ticket that I failed to take advantage of properly. As it was my first time I spent half it just walked around taking it all in. If I’d realised what would happen to the queues I’d have got all the games I wanted to play sorted in that first hour. 

    Free Stuff – yeah this is probably a little unfair but…..After the event I got an email with a free trial code for 30-days access to PSN+. I do appreciate the gesture – really – but as I don’t own a PS3 or a Vita it wasn’t much use to me. I’ve also got a code for a free iOS Lara Croft game. Very nice..but again I don’t own an iOS device.

    You’ll probably agree that’s not a huge list of bad things though.

    I’m planning on going again next year and if you’re into gaming at all it’s worth checking out! 

  • Obvious Productivity Tip

    Things have been a little quiet around here. I’ve had an awfully busy time professionally and personally and there are some things I’ve done less of to make sure I can do more of some other things. Blogging being one of them.

    Anyway…I thought I’d share a massively obvious productivity tip. It’s helped me write this post so why not!

    Here it comes….<drumroll>

    GET UP AND DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

    See, I told you it was obvious. I am as guilty as lots of other people who sit at their desk for extended periods of time trying to get through that every growing to-do list and we’re always told that we should get up once in a while.

    Unfortunately, generic ativan price making a cup of tea doesn’t count which is how I fool myself into thinking I’m doing it correctly.

    By actually going and doing something different you’ll come back refreshed and re-focussed. If that something means going outside then the fresh air and the total change of environment will give a much needed energy boost.

    I did this today. I’ve spotted a pattern recently where I hit a dip mid-afternoon and my concentration suffers. I decided to walk to the shops and the twenty minutes out in the autumn air have helped massively.

    I’m using the kick start to my afternoon to write this, what do you do to get going when you’re feeling low on energy?