The PC Gamer Weekender returned for its third year from 17 to 18 February 2018 at Olympia London. Promising ‘exclusive access to new PC titles before they’re released, developer talks on the most exciting games of the year and a series of tournaments for players to battle against each other’, it was billed as an event which would attract ‘thousands of dedicated gamers to London’.
Except that wasn’t the experience I had when my other-half and I attended at the first one back in 2016. While I like an expo which has plenty of open space to move about in, this one felt empty and there just weren’t enough games to fill the room. There were a couple of highlights including Mainlining (which I went on to play in full) and Shadowhand (which we’d first discovered at EGX the year before) but we ended up leaving after a few hours.
It was therefore with trepidation that I booked our tickets for the 2018 event. But with the stepson being old enough to go to his first ‘real’ expo last March and absolutely loving it, we’d been trying to find more for him to attend with us so he can see that games aren’t just about explosions and guns. We’d checked out the games line-up the week before and still weren’t entirely convinced; but with a ‘it’s a day out’ mindset, we made our way to London.
I’m afraid to say that not much had changed. The venue still felt empty and it was disappointing to see several rows of stands left empty or occupied by ten copies of Battlefield 1942 (released in 2002). It also seemed as though few developers had attended and publishers or promotions people had instead been sent in their place, so it was difficult finding people to talk to who had real in-depth knowledge of how a title was made (one even told us the game she was representing ‘wasn’t her cup of tea’).
Saying that though, Ethan enjoyed himself and came away from the event with a few titles he wants to now purchase with his pocket-money. There was Deep Rock Galactic by Ghost Ship Games, a sci-fi FPS featuring ‘badass space dwarves’; Guns of Icarus Alliance by Muse Games, where you own the skies in steam-powered airships; and Cat Quest by The Gentlebros, an open-world RPG set in the ‘pawsome world of cats’. Personally, I rather liked the look of STAY by Appnormals Team; more about that later this week.
So would we attend the PC Gamer Weekender again next year? Yes, because it kept the stepson entertained for the day but it’s still not a patch on EGX or Rezzed. Speaking of the latter, if you’re going this year let us know – and we’ll see you from 13 to 15 April 2018 at the Tobacco Dock in London.