I’m still feeling a little tired from the trip and I’ve been back for two days! The years are taking their toll. 🙁
GamesCom was huge! The fact that it was so much larger than last year’s GC in Leipzig shows that it needed to move and is also a source of encouragement that the industry is in a strong enough position to sustain something of this size. If we weren’t in the middle of a global financial crisis would it have been even bigger?
In some ways I wish it wasn’t bigger and that the event was still in Leipzig. There, the event felt like the whole city was a part of the show and in Cologne it didn’t seem to register beyond the exhibition centre itself. The size also gave it a slightly impersonal touch. I didn’t bump into the same friendly faces anywhere near as often as the last two years.
In a business sense, it must be a lot better if there are more exhibitors in the business halls (which must have been 2-3 times larger than Leipzig overall). But what that actually taught me was that it was more difficult to get appointments at the show and I should have organised far more meetings in advance. Some people seemed to have so many meetings booked that they were in danger of becoming unravelled.
Because I write mostly adventures, it was a little disconcerting to see that the profile of adventures seemed much lower than the previous two years. Which seems a little crazy when adventures haven’t had such a good profile for years, thanks to recent Monkey Island releases, amongst others. Although I demonstrated the Wii version of So Blonde a few times, it wasn’t nearly as often as I was expecting. A number of people from the adventure site press told me that they had some real trouble getting to see presentations of games they knew were at the show, which is very puzzling indeed.
There were lots of great games in other genres, of course, and many of them were really exciting. I managed to get a play on Brutal Legend, but it was in some kind of boss battle and being unfamiliar with the controls I couldn’t work out what to do. I was hoping to get a look at the Star Wars Old Republic game, but they didn’t really seem to have much on show in spite of a huge public stand with lots of computers. There was a pretty healthy presence of casual games, particularly on the consoles, which helped give a good balance to the show.
I met a number of people for the first time, which was a real buzz. The first of these was Josh Winiberg who did the music for Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso and is destined to go far with his talent. The second was Noel Bruton of Arberth Studios but we only managed a couple of hurried meetings because of other appointments. The third guy I met for the first time was Dan Connors, who is doing wonderful things with all his team at Telltale Games. I’ve been impressed with Telltale’s episodic approach to adventures for some time, so it was good to meet Dan at last and have a chat.
I also met up with lots of people I already knew, such as the Wizarbox people and Mark and Rachel from Outsource Media. I also met up with and had dinner with Claas, Dominic and Jan from Daedalic who were great and gave me a German version of The Whispered World, which has been receiving great reviews. I hope the English version is as well received.
And, of course, no event like this would be complete without meeting up with the people of the gaming press, especially those from sites that concentrate on adventure games and I want to thank them all for their time an interest in what I do. I would particularly like to thank everyone from Adventure-Treff who invited me along to their community party and where I was able to meet Dan.
And if I missed anyone out who I should mention – sorry. Catch you next year.