For gamers, by gamers: why gamescom 2012 is your show

By Dave Cook, Monday, 13 August 2012 06:18 GMT

VG247 is all-hands-on-deck for gamescom 2012, but as Dave Cook explains, it’s you, the gamer, who is in for a great show. Forget E3 and turn your eyes to Cologne.

This is gamescom 2012, and its a chance for you – a member of the gaming public – to skirt around the red rope and press-only barricades that stop you from attending E3, and to mingle with the industry’s finest names and brightest talent. This is your show, not ours.

Like a flock of peasants in some Dickensian novel, clambering over one another for scraps tossed onto the cobbled street by the upper class gentry, crowds of gamers have begun to descend on Cologne for a glimpse of the hottest new games releasing over the next twelve months and beyond, courtesy of the games industry’s top brass.

This is gamescom 2012, and its a chance for you – a member of the gaming public – to skirt around the red rope and press-only barricades that stop you from attending E3, and to mingle with the industry’s finest names and brightest talent. This is your show, not ours.

There is a special brand of excitement in the air that also exists at E3, but there it feels somewhat tenuous. The Los Angeles Conference Centre may be rammed with more exclusive content, but the tension there hangs thick as sweating, visibly stressed journalists scurry back and forth from the venue’s solitary press room to type up notes before their next scheduled appointment begins.

Any journalist who turns up late to a booking at an expo may find that their whole timetable spirals out of sync and from then things can very quickly fall part. It can be a constant race – an endurance test – from start to exhausted finish. Working E3 sounds like hell on Earth, but does the press really get a sense of fun at the end of it?

Well that depends on the journalist in question, but there is definitely a sense of privilege that comes from attending the industry’s biggest expos. But this week at gamescom, the privilege is all yours.

Gamescom is the polar opposite of E3 in some regards. There’s a large press quotient sure, but it’s now gamers who make up the bulk of attendees. They don’t have stressed editors at home barking in their ear for coverage before they’ve even stepped off the plane, and they have no deadlines or embargoes to contend with. They’re there for the fun and a genuine love for their hobby.

On the press side, gamescom can often be a reality check. When dashing around to the tune of a rapidly increasing heart rate and boiling blood pressure, the sight of gamers sharing a laugh while in cosplay, swapping 3DS friend codes and getting into a festival spirit underlines the fun side of the industry and reminds how closely the medium can bring people together.

Last year, the Koelnmesse hit capacity
and the doors had to be closed with
eager gamers still queueing up outside.

Take last year for example, when word spread rapidly of eager gamers queuing for four hours to play one multiplayer round of Battlefield 3’s Caspian Border map. Some people would call this idiotic or pointless, but to many this is what gamescom stands for.

It’s a chance for gamers to fall in line to show support for their favourite title and to be part of an exclusive few that can say they’ve played the biggest incoming games well ahead of release. To them it’s a privilege, not a chore, and amid the chaos of the press floor that is an uplifting sight to witness.

In fact there were few moping faces in gamescom’s serpentine queues last year, snaking around the colossal Koelnmesse compound that plays home to the expo every year. Strangers in line sat next to each other sharing in a laugh, or just stood patiently with their friends talking about games. They didn’t seem to care about the wait. To them it’s worth it, and they deserve kudos for that.

That’s the point though isn’t it? Gaming is a hobby we all use to unwind, share with our friends or whenever we need to get away from the madness of every day life for a few hours. If any calendar event of the year embodies this feeling most, it’s most certainly gamescom.

There is much to look forward to this year, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, The Last of Us, Beyond: Two Souls, Assassin’s Creed 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, DMC: Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Borderlands 2, WoW: Mists of Pandaria and much, much more.

So if you want to see the true face of gaming and the way it brings us together, keep your eyes on the show, or better yet, get tickets for next year, we guarantee you’ll have a blast. For our readers out at gamescom this week, we hope you have an ace time too; just spare a thought for team VG247 as we run around like mad to bring you the best coverage. Cheers!

Not sure when to tune this week? Check out our handy guide to the hottest action at gamescom 2012.

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