A Virtual Drive Through the Past – EB Expo 2016
I have been to almost every EB Games Expo since they began all those years ago. The first one I attended I did so with a broken foot (which our editor promptly stepped on but we won’t get into that). Hobbling around the venue at Olympic Park, the first thing I noticed was just how much was on show. There were games everywhere; I had no idea what I wanted to play or do first, so like a kid in a candy store I pushed the pain of my broken limb to the back of my mind and went to town.
2016’s EB Expo was remarkably different, which, to be honest, was a little disappointing. Blizzard and EA Games were missing from the lineup this year, and their presence was sorely missed- even just for the floor space they usually take up. Granted I was there on a Friday this year, but the hall felt rather empty to me. There were booths upon booths of merchandise and stuff to buy, but so far as games to play went, I felt this year was lacking.
Not to say there was nothing at all, because that’s simply not true. The boys have covered it better in their coverage of the day, so I won’t repeat the same info, but there were a range of upcoming, playable AAA titles on show that would have kept you busy for ages. Being a Friday, lines were short and game time was maximised, so if you timed your day right you easily would have been able to see everything you wanted (and then some).
The definite highlight for me was being able to experience PSVR with Drive Club. Anybody who listened to the podcast will know that I raved about this for a while, but for those that didn’t (and why haven’t you?) I thought that my PSVR experience was really great. The headset is light and sits comfortably on your face. Unlike other VR headsets on the market, it doesn’t have to be positioned just so in order for you to get the full effect of the experience either, meaning there’s a lot less frigging around and a lot more playing of games. As far as the actual gaming goes, it’s fluid, fun, and brings just the right amount of adrenaline and vertigo. If ever you have the chance to play something in VR, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a little bit amazing.
The retro gaming hall was another highlight of my time at the Expo this year, as it has been every year since they installed it. Walking into that hall is like walking into parts of my childhood, and it always brings back the fondest of memories. Along with a bunch of frustration because oh my god some of those games are so hard now and how the hell did we even master them as children, Jesus Christ. But mostly, it’s the good stuff. Watching children walk into that hall and have absolutely no idea what anything is is another high point. Their parents walk around wrapped in nostalgia while kids tug on their sleeves asking ‘what’s this, what’s that, how do I play this, what the heck is that thing?’. This year the retro games hall wasn’t as easy to stumble upon as other years, and I almost missed it myself, but it’s something to check out if it returns next year. Go and relive your childhood dreams!
Whilst EBX this year was undoubtedly smaller than previous years, it still showcased some great titles that some people wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see otherwise. It’s always a great day to see what’s coming up, not to mention splurge on random merchandise and Pop Vinyls (oh god so many pop vinyls). Play some games, buy some crap, and have a beer with good folks at the end of the day- what more could you want?