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As I entered the expo, located at Earls Court, I felt a sense of beginning. This was a new experience for me - there were many around me, and I entered a massive space, darkened with a blue tint, that held all the latest and greatest gaming releases - it seemed too good to be true.
This is the famous Eurogamer Expo, held annually and open to everyone. The expo itself is held during the last four days of September. If you like games, want a job in the games industry, or just fancy a good day out then this is DEFINITELY for you.
It's easy to get lost in such a large space but you soon find your bearings as you walk around the crypt. With plenty to see and do, it,s no wonder that this is the UK's largest gaming expo. Last year, for many, was the mother of all years for sequels and new releases. Games such as Assassin's Creed Revelations and Skyrim held a lot of attention on the main floor, whilst Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 attracted many in the over 18's section. Staff were incredibly friendly, it was easy to make conversation with them at the Spacemarine stand and amusing to take pictures with someone who just about resembled Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect 3 queue.
Whilst the focus remains of games, there are other things to do as opposed to playing (such as watching if you're like my girlfriend and have a phobia of public performance). There are various talks and presentations throughout the day. For me the most memorable talk of 2011 was the Ubisoft team talking about Assassin's Creed Revelations which included an extension of the trailer shown all over Youtube and ended on a cliffhanger, and a Q and A session between the developers and the audience.
If you don't feel like sitting down for a while and listening to a talk, then why not try out some of the newer and more inconspicuous Indie (independent) titles. These games aren't the blockbuster types that are broadcast and advertised, but rather those on a small budget, developed by a small team, and perhaps differentiating from the norm. Even better, join one of these teams in the future by moving over to the careers section and finding out how you can become involved.
There's literally a mountain of things to do, and as it changes every year, I simply can't list them all. As you'd expect, there are toilets and a cafeteria, but choose your food wisely (burger and chips is a good option). Finally, to top off the day, as we left we were handed free bags of crisps or chocolate - whatever was left over and however much we could carry - so we stuffed our bags and went merrily on our way,
I honestly can't urge you enough to give this a try if you think this may be for you, it was one of the highlights of my year and I've had it marked on my calendar ever since. The dates for this year's Expo are 27th-30th September, with a day ticket (11am-7pm) priced at £12, an afternoon ticket (2am-7pm) will cost £9, and a SuperPass which gives you access to all four days and early entry (10am-7pm) costing £50. It's also a good idea to go with as many friends as possible so you can get a considerable discount from large ticket orders with 5-10 tickets earning you a 5% discount and so on in that fashion.
It's well worth going and I'd urge you with every fibre of my body to give it a look-in!