London EXPO ~ Jamie’s story

Many of the team went to the London EXPO last weekend, sadly we didn’t have time to sort out some true coverage. However, team member Jamie did us a write up for the Friday when no many people go.

So, please enjoy a nice, detailed and long post about the EXPO. Want to share your stories? Hit us up on Facebook.

Ah, London Expo. The point where all of us strange nerd gather twice a year in order to dress up in silly costumes and spend ridiculous amounts of money. It’s all good fun. Well, this year I bought a weekend ticket, as per usual, however no-one I knew was going up on the friday. Not wanting to waste the ticket, I decided to go up and check out a few things while it was quiet. I also took notes in a notepad, with the soul intention of writing it all up to tell you guys about what’s on offer. This, is that write-up.


Well, my journey to the Expo from my home in Charlton was fairly uneventful. It was when I got to Canning Town station that I noticed some rather beautiful slender women, dressed exactly not like expo-goers, were milling around wanting to go to the Excel Centre. Not one to judge a book by it’s cover, I didn’t think too much of it. However, more and more of these women started to mill around the platform. The original group I spotted got in the same train carriage as me and started singing Sweet Child of Mine quite loudly. Something wasn’t entirely right. Turns out America’s Next Top Model was having an expo at the same time. Clashing interests, lead to a bit of personal confusion, but whatever.

Arriving at the Expo hall, it was obviously a quiet friday, as per usual. In the queue I talked to a guy who turned out to be from Portsmouth. What’s more, it turned out I’d talked to him before – He was the Moku-Jin who sometimes shows up at Yatta! Events. Small world, huh?

Walking into the main hall, the event seemed a similar size as last year. Through a crack in the wall I could see them building more stuff however, suggesting a larger hall for the saturday + sundays. The layout had changed from the norm as well, with the Artists Alley being the otherside of the hall. After a quick wonder around, I decided to look at some videogames.

Heroes of Ruin (3DS)

This game came without a tutorial, and it kinda needed one. I didn’t really understand the layout or magic system, but it seemed like a decent enough dungeon crawler. I picked a gunslinging guy who spayed bullets everywhere. The 3D was pretty bad, but thankfully it didn’t seem like it was needed. The game served a decent enough purpose and I can see hardcore dungeon crawling fans getting into this, but the brief demo I played wasn’t exactly enthralling.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (360+PS3)

Wow. I didn’t expect them to make 13 any worse, but somehow they did. The game plays exactly the same, but with more annoying characters. If you uber-loved FF13, you’ll enjoy it I guess. Myself? I disliked 13. I hated 13-2.

Super Mario Land (3DS)

Graphically, this game is identical to Super Mario 64, which was odd. It honestly seems like the same engine. The game plays exactly like it as well. On top of that, the 3-D is required to see some of the perspectives, as I was playing in 2-D and couldn’t decipher if some boxes were next to me or in mid-air (After furious attempts at jumping, I turned on the 3-D to see it was in mid-air). This game get’s no recommendation from me simply because you need the 3-D to fully enjoy it. As someone who simply does not enjoy 3-D, it completely fell on it’s face trying to capture my interest.

The Darkness 2 (360+PS3)

Coming from the most biased perspective imaginable, this was easily the best game I played at London Expo. Biased because the first Darkness is one of my favourite games of this console generation. The second game fixes a lot of the problems, manages to further fuse Darkness powers and gunfighting for a more streamlined experience, has a bad-ass new cel-shaded visual aesthetic and kicks a lot of butt. Definitely keep an eye out for this one.

Dynasty Warriors 7 XL

Really, this is what you’d expect. It’s DW7, but more. As a huge Dynasty Warriors fan, this is something I can totally get behind. I loved the time I spent playing it, and the new characters, stages, and additions to the between-mission hub areas will make it a good purchase for me. If you’re not a huge DW fan, this will do nothing to sway you. If you are gagging for more after DW7, then hot diggity, put this on your wishlist.

Saints Row The Third

Now, it’s difficult to put a massive scale game like Saints Row into a small demo. No matter what, you’re not gonna get a good feel for the game in 10 – 15 minutes. But what I can tell you, is that the game feels more refined, and works a lot better than the previous instalments on a technical level. It feels a lot more “Current Gen”, but with all the wackiness the series has become famous for.

Hitman: Absolution

Didn’t play this one myself, but there was an enclosed area where you could watch a huge chunk of gameplay being played live. Me and my friend decided to meet outside the booth at around half 1 for the presentation, but frankly, I wish we’d decided to meet at half never.

Hitman: Absolution looks exactly what I didn’t want from the next Hitman game. The Hitman games are fantastically unique in the way the game presents itself to you. You have a huge wide open level, full of characters and hidden rooms and entrances. You’re given a target, and let loose. I loved the ability to blend seemlessly with a crowd, being able to fool everyone into thinking I was a guard, before secretly poisoning my targets drink and slipping out undetected. The “Silent Assassin” part of the franchise was always my favourite.

However, the gameplay I saw for Absolution was a lot more like a Splinter Cell game than a Hitman game.

However, once the friday was over, I felt like I had too many stories to tell to leave it at a brief account on the games I played. So, without further ado, here are this articles main attraction:

The Weekend’s Anecdotes and Stories.

J-Pop Stall

So there was this J-Pop stall, selling J-Pop. Makes sense. They also confusingly had about 10 PS2 games jammed in the side of their stall for sale. But that’s not the most confusing thing. The pricepoint was what baffled me.

Okay, so if you’ve never heard of 505 Gamestreet, they’re a company who mostly used the PS2 era to try and pawn off a bunch of naff Japanese games on an unsuspecting Western audience. So you get games like “Paparazzi”, a game which has boxart suggesting a Paparazzi simulator, whereas the game simply presents anime girls winking as you take pictures. The games were budget titles when they were released, and now they’re uber-budget titles. Incidentally, 505 eventually dropped the “Street” in their name and became a pretty decent publisher. But that’s not the point of this anecdote.

The point is that as a PS2 Collector, I own a lot of 505 Gamestreet games. Because:
A. They’re cheap
B. They’re hilariously bad

I bought Demolition Girl and Fighting Angels for about a fiver each. This stand was selling them for £20 each! £20! I could have bought four copies of Demolition Girl for that! Thankfully, I think most people will be savvy and not buy those incredibly overpriced games. They’re hilariously bad, but not hilarious enough to warrant spending £20. Ridiculous.

The Yaoi Guy

Oh dear God he’s back.

Look, I get it, the guy has to try and sell this stuff in plain sight. No-ones gonna buy it unless they can pretend they’re doing so for a joke. So his whole advertising model is trying to force the joke on you. “Get your hot steaming boy love here!” he shouts, as a group of girls giggle and laugh and browse his stall. He then points at me. “DO YOU LOVE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN!?”

Well, of course I do. But I was on my own, was taking notes on everything to give you guys a decent write-up, and wasn’t in the mood to play his games. But I was in the mood to play a game of my own, called “Annoy the Yaoi Guy”.

“No, I’m more into average women”.

The guy then spends a good 10 minutes poking through his collection, holding up various hentai doujinshi, asking me if they were average enough. “No, these are all quite beautiful, do you have anything slightly below average? That’s what I really like in a woman.”. Again, he goes through trying to find something slightly below average but not ugly. I specified I didn’t want anything very below average, just slightly.

After about 20 minutes he realised I was wasting his time and simply said “Have a look through yourself” and went back to shouting at people. I walked off satisfied I’d spared 20 minutes worth of people the pain of having to listen to that guy.

That’s it for now people, thanks for reading!

Words: Jamie Dickerson

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