I went to EGX 2016 alone. No one I asked to come with me was available, or they simply didn’t want to. This year I got two suckers to come with me – Ambrose and George who what I live with. I found that having company at EGX is extremely preferable to being alone, so I’ll start this by thanking my compadres for agreeing to accompany me. I mean, I’m sure neither of them came just for that reason alone, but I’m glad they did.
We arrived in the morning with enough time to get our wristbands (I managed to embarrass myself by holding my arm out for the woman to put it on me rather than take it and do it myself which is what you’re supposed to do), and get pretty close to the front of the line waiting for 11 o’clock to be let in. Our ambitious plan was to get in as quickly as possible and go straight to the Assasin’s Creed line. Being an EGX veteran myself, I doubted we would be able to get in the queue seeing that a lot of people had gotten the early entry tickets so they’d been in the show since 9AM – but I was willing to try. Sure enough, however, we reached the queue and saw the line would be 2 hours. We abandoned AC for the time being.
On our way over to AC, we saw a big banner hanging from the ceiling. One side had displayed in large letters, “PUNCH ZOMBIES IN VR.” On the other, “SHOOT FRUIT IN VR.” This was above a big booth showing off a couple of VR games. The first we saw was a game called Shooty Fruity being demoed on the Oculus Rift. You play a checkout person, doing the checkout thing, who must periodically pick up guns and shoot down malicious fruit charging for an assault. The best part was that the queue wasn’t very long so the three of us got in line.
I’m told, reliably, by George and Ambrose that the game was very enjoyable. You see, I couldn’t fit the Rift over my glasses, and I couldn’t see anything in the Rift without my glasses – even with much adjustment from the people running the demo. This surprised me because I’m short-sighted and can see further forward than the Rift protrudes from my face. Obviously, I don’t understand optics as well as I thought. I’m disappointed I couldn’t have a go personally but I trust that is was very fun to play. George got 2nd place on the EGX leaderboard, but we checked a few hours later and he’d already been knocked off by other people.
At my request, we went to the other VR demo in that area. It was a game called Bloody Zombies (it’s set in the UK, so I think it’s a pun) and was being demoed on the PS VR. This one was an interesting one because it’s a 2D side-scroller fighting game. Usually, VR games are 3D first-person games for obvious reasons – how would something not in the first-person work in VR? Luckily, the PS VR was designed to work with glasses so I could find out. Surprisingly to me, I put on the headset and immediately exclaimed, “Oh my God this is amazing!” Because it was. George and Ambrose were playing at the same time and seeing the game on a TV (it was co-op), which restricted their field of view to a small window where their characters were. I could see everything. I could see the whole level by looking left or right, I could see things in the background which the others could not, I could see it all in 3D which made the gameplay easier because I could more easily see what 2D plane my character was on. I didn’t want to take the headset off in order to let my friends have a go and when I did everything seemed so flat and small. I want to go back! I mean I still don’t think it’s worth a £500 investment but it is pretty cool and I found it made the game a lot more interesting.
The rest of the day was spent going from game to game and trying everything that was free at the time. Total War: Warhammer 2, Cuphead, Worms WMD on the Switch, Mario and Rabbids, Disney Land Adventure. What a list. We also spent a small while looking at a couple of indie games: Tokyo Dark and Max: Curse of the Brotherhood.
I’d seen Tokyo Dark advertised a lot on PC Gamer’s website and wondered what it was. Turns out it’s a 2D point and click detective visual novel puzzle solving thing. The small amount I played was quite intriguing; it features puzzles which rely on you paying attention to the dialogue and using the information characters give you to solve them. The game doesn’t seem to hold your hand very much at all, and the small amount of the story I saw was rather intriguing. I’m currently considering buying it. I’ll get back to you on that one.
Max: Curse of the Brotherhood is a 3D puzzle platformer with a twist. At the touch of a button, one can summon an enormous pencil and draw ropes connecting things together. The game was fun and challenging, and the kind of thing I could play with my children – as it seems to be geared to a child audience.
Overall, it was a very fun day out and a marvellous time was had by all. The most impressive thing we saw would have to have been the VR stuff – it’s what we were talking about for the days after the event. I look forward to VR becoming affordable.