It’s funny how some memories stick, isn’t it? I had only been to the ExCel Centre in London once before dropping in at the EAG show on Wednesday, for the consumer gaming event GameStars Live in 2004. Somehow though, five and a half years from that event, I was able to perfectly remember the layout of the Custom House DLR station that serves the venue, as well as the vast hallway leading into the main exhibition hall. As it turns out, familiarity would be the key theme which ran through the day.
Wandering around the new show, it seemed very much like the ATEI show I attended last year. Of course, there was no accompanying media registration panic this time, and not having to deal with two areas split across the upper level of Earl’s Court was nice. Getting in was a simple process (though this may have something to do with my late entry), and the staff on hand were nice and helpful. The organisational aspect of the show, given that it was running for the first year, was fine and left me free to use my short time at the show well.
The striking thing about EAG 2010 is that the exhibitors were, by and large, fairly conservative in their offerings. The standard genres were well-represented: shooting, driving and music games all maintained their popularity, and redemption games were everywhere as usual. However, the commotion caused by fighting games at ATEI in the past (Tekken 6 in 2008, and Street Fighter IV in 2009) was absent, and manufacturers seemed to focus on widening the market for their tried and true hits. Even where unusual ideas were present, such as Giant Tetris, Go Go Grand Prix, and The BishiBashi, an element of familiarity was retained in order to reduce risks – perhaps an effect of the economic situation, which has only grown worse since last year.
All that having been said, the financial pressure ensured that the exhibitors at EAG were fielding a strong line-up of games for 2010, with the best of the last couple of years on show as well as the games which will be taking companies forward. And, having compiled a 1700-word monster report on the show, you’ll need to hit the post break for the detailed EAG rundown!