This year’s EGX took place at the NEC Birmingham from 20 to 23 September 2018. Someone please remind me in 2019 that it’s not a good idea to schedule a blog party, volunteering duty, an expo with a seven-hour round-trip and an all-day stream in the same week!
I entered EGX event feeling a little tired after the ESI Super Forum the previous day and knowing that we had to hit the Ubisoft section first thing in order to get a chance to play Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. I’d promised my other-half we’d do this as having an under-18 in tow at Insomnia63 last month meant he wasn’t able to play it there; and he’d been good enough to patiently queue up for an hour for Detroit: Become Human at last year’s event, so I couldn’t really say no.
ROAD TRIP! We're on our way to #EGX today - let us know if you're going to be there so we can say hello. 👋—
Later Levels (@LaterLevels) September 20, 2018
As soon as we arrived at the stand though the queue time already stood at two hours and despite checking back several times, it never really got below this. It was the same for many of the other big-budget areas in the exhibition hall: the line of gamers beside them never seemed to subside. This, combined with the fact that there appeared to be more space dedicated to triple-A titles this year, created an atmosphere which was quieter than in 2018 because many attendees chose to dedicate their day to waiting for a particular title.
This had its positives though: the smaller indie section at the front of the exhibition hall felt more open and was easier to move around in. We had a good chat with Pajama Llama Games Co-Founder and Artist Juda-Ben Gordier about how far Flotsam had come since we first played it at Rezzed last year; I spent quite a long time playing through a section of point-and-click 3 Minutes to Midnight by Scarecrow Studio; and The Bradwell Conspiracy by A Brave Plan looks like exactly the sort of thing my other-half and I would enjoy.
This year, EGX’s organisers had taken the decision to move the Rezzed sessions area outside of the main hall. Personally I don’t think this worked particularly well: the room wasn’t well sign-posted so I’m unsure many people found their way there and there were plenty of empty seats when we went to take a look. In addition, the schedule wasn’t updated on the mobile app and then appeared to have been removed completely so we weren’t even aware of the talks being held. It’s a shame because they’re usually some of the most interesting.
The chill-out space dedicated to the event’s recently-announced partnership with CheckPoint and Gaming the Mind had also been placed outside the main hall and suffered the same fate. This was incredibly disappointing because EGX would have been the perfect opportunity to promote mental-health awareness and advocating the use of video games for good. We stopped by the room to meet the team and I’ll be signing up as a volunteer once I complete my mental-health first-aider course in January.
Despite the long queues and apparent absence of the Rezzed sessions and chill-out space, the expo was still fun event it always is and we’ll definitely attend again next year. Make sure you visit geeksleeprinserepeat, That Green Dude and Upon Completion this week as these guys were also there and I’m sure they’ll be bringing you some awesome content about what they got up to.
Next up is Comic Con at the ExCeL London where I’ll be volunteering on the SpecialEffect stand once again, so if you’re there on 26 October 2018 please do stop by and say hello! In the meantime, you can find our photos from EGX in the gallery below and there’ll be further posts about some of the games we played there coming this week.
EGX 2018 photo gallery
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.