TopGeeks unleashed at EB Expo

by Liza Shulyayeva and Jess Watson

For the first time in Australia, gamers had the chance to feast their eyes on the best up and coming and recently released games all at one exciting destination – the EB Expo. The expo promised access to the gaming industry’s most prolific publishers and brands, and of course the games themselves.  iiNet kindly gave us TopGeek finalists a media pass to check it out.

After the ambitious grand opening ceremony, complete with pyrotechnics, motorcycles, dancing and more, we were met with so many things to look at we didn’t know where to start. There were special presentations, game characters wandering the halls, an EB Store, games competitions and many other entertaining, shiny things.

The Exhibitor Booths
When we first walked in we made a beeline for the EA booth where a Battlefield 3 line was already stretching into the abyss. Jess, being a big Battlefield fan, lined up while I explored the other games on show. Perhaps the funniest booth was Just Dance 3, where attendees were pulled on stage to attempt to mimic 80s and other dance moves.

One of my favorite booths at EB Expo was for Xbox, specifically their selection of indie Xbox Live games available to play. Activision had a real tank on display for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. However, they lost points for not letting me climb it. Who needs Health and Safety Guidelines anyway? – Liza.

EB Live Sessions
Apparently the Battlefield presentation was amazing, with more pyrotechnics and army guys rappelling from the ceiling. It was really disappointing to have missed it, but I was lucky enough to play in the Alienware Battlefield: Bad Company 2 competition with (fellow TopGeek finalist) Andy Wells which was a whole lot of fun.

After a crushing defeat and a chat with Bajo and Hex (Good Game presenters) we once again went our separate ways; I to stare at the lines for Modern Warfare, Batman and Halo Anniversary, and Liza to meet more cool people (Creative Director of Battlefield 3, Lars Gustavvson, and Global Battlefield Community Manager, Daniel Matros!) – Jess.

Other cool stuff
Along with the actual games and developer booths, EB Expo had some great peripheral entertainment options. These included an upstairs bar, a fan art display and competition, chiptune music, a cosplay competition and other sideline events. These made for a good way to break up the seemingly endless queuing.

The peripheral entertainment also included some amazing costumes, my favorite of which would be the very realistic Commander Shepard of Mass Effect Liza.

The After Party
EB Expo after parties were held on Saturday and Sunday nights. To say the Sunday after party was underwhelming would be putting it fairly mildly. Don’t get me wrong – I actually met some great people and had a good time, but if I hadn’t previously already known them through Twitter it could have easily turned into a “forever alone” moment.

You could tell the organisers over at East were trying extremely hard to make it exciting and vibrant, but even the giveaways were a little disappointing. We all got a FIFA soccer ball (which I conveniently forgot at the venue when leaving) – Liza.

Expo Overall
Even though we would call the first EB Games Expo an overall success, there is always room for improvement. Long lines, for one, were a major complaint of ours. It’s as if EB and/or the exhibitors didn’t quite realise just how packed the expo would be.

We also hoped to see more indie developers present. With the recent stream of closures of major development studios like THQ in Australia and the considerable success of some indie developers like Halfbrick (creators of Fruit Ninja), there is really no excuse to ignore the little guys anymore.

That said, we will definitely be going again next year. For anyone interested in games, there is a lot to see and do there so check it out (so long as you have patience for lines). The next expo is set to be held in Sydney next year, with Olympic Park as the prime location. See you there!

One comment

  1. Andy wells says:

    How about a photo credit ladies? hehe “Photo of Liza, Jess and Minecraft guy taken by Andy Wells”