The Gamer Tagged team are hitting their 6th year of our annual pilgrimage to the gaming smorgasbord that is EGX. We’ve taken planes, trains and automobiles to London and Earl’s Court in the first few years, seeing the unveiling of the likes of the Xbox One and PS4 and enjoying the legendary after shows of the Sticktwiddlers guys (our brothers in arms). We’ve seen the shift to the NEC and visited in trepidation during their first year there and made a ton of new memories, new friends and new routines. We like to think we’re a bit experienced now for this whole gig.
So we thought, with a week remaining until EGX 2017 we would impart some of our words of wisdom, some sage thoughts, some common sense, some hints and tips that we’ve found useful over the years of doing this annual trip together. We hope you’ll find them of use too.
With a week to go, it won’t be long before EGX unveils the map of the showfloor. That’ll be your starting point. It’ll let you see the games or platforms you want to target, the shows you want to see, the games you really want to play. The key here is PRIORITISING WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE. If you’re lucky like us you’ll either have a Super Pass or an Early Entry pass. This gives you an hour start on the rest of visitors and is key to getting a chance to play the games you want to play. We also tend to find it’s when you can get the most loot from each stand! Prioritise the games in order of those you want to play and head straight for your favourite first. Bear in mind that certain games will attract more folk than others (Call of Duty as an example) so don’t be surprised when you get there if there’s already quite the queue forming.
Hand in hand with prep is timing. If you want to get in first and get to the games, you gotta be up early. We tend to head to the NEC around 8am to pick up our bands for the day or the weekend. The earlier you’re there, the more chance you have to be at the front of the queue. The NEC have a very good system in place for managing the flow of people at the start, but just remember to have all your necessary paperwork available so you can get yourself in line for the start of the show each day without any stress!
75,000 folk of all ages, shapes and sizes attend EGX over four days. That’s a lot of people crammed into a relatively small amount of space. You get hot, sticky, sweaty, smelly and all those combined when you’re working your way around the show floor. Unpleasant to talk about it may be, but some care and attention over the course of the weekend in relation to your appearance should help avoid the dreaded after show lurgy that folk inevitably come down with. A lot of people are playing a lot of games, all getting their hands on the same controllers over and over again. Hand sanitiser, deodorant, fresh wipes, all of these are invaluable over the course of the weekend not just to keep you clean, but to also ensure you aren’t transmitting germs of your own.
Expect to queue. Expect to queue a lot. Over the past six years we’ve seen some queues lasting 3 hours just to get a 10-15mins shot of a game (hello, The Division). Thankfully, last year didn’t seem to be as bad as this, and at most it’s usually a 1-2 hours max. Still, be prepared to queue loads over the weekend. Comfortable shoes are a must, as are light and loose clothes. Pack something to keep you occupied while you wait, or don’t be afraid to have a chat with your fellow gamers as you make your way towards having a go on that one game you desperately want to play! You may be there for sometime.
Much as we love pretty much everything about EGX, it is a long weekend. Not just for us paying punters, but for the folk looking after us all on the stands of each game. Sustenance is key, and unlike when EGX was in London, food and drink choice is limited to over priced food outlets scattered throughout the show floor and within the NEC. Our recommendation on the floor is to find Subway and stick to them during the day as they’re still fairly reasonable and provide some healthy fillings. After the show, within the NEC, Wetherspoons is always a good shout for cheap but decent grub and refreshments… you may even bump into some of the exhibitors and even us!
Throughout the day there’s usually a huge stand for Tornado handing out free energy drinks. Now while these definitely keep you going, just be careful not to over-indulge on the caffeine heavy energy drink or face a mighty crash come the end of the day!
The final sage piece of wisdom we have is to be patient, have fun and bring a rucksack with you for all the SWAG!!!! Everyone is there to enjoy games, to chat about the games, to show their love for games. Don’t be afraid to chat to those around you, try games you perhaps wouldn’t usually play or go watch the cosplay. At the end of the day, you should come away from EGX with a ton of new memories and a set of leg muscles that could crack watermelons after all your walking and waiting around the showfloor.
We’ll see you all there over the weekend. Here’s to an amazing EGX 2017