Before I start this article I would like to thank Kenny Morgan, Marta Skorupinska and James Bruck for their help and company at this convention.
It’s no surprise that every videogame convention has it’s own motto. From the biggest event to the smallest gathering they all have their own mission statement which they hope to abide by. Now a phrase which I kept seeing around the very first London Gaming Con, was ‘bringing gaming fans together’.
I thought about this catchphrase as I walked around the convention, looking at the fans attending and the various gaming stalls. For a first attempt at a videogame convention, had the gang behind London Gaming Con succeeded in this mission?
Well you’ll have to find out after the jump, as I give you the information about what happened when a Sega Addict visited the very first London Gaming Con.
When me and my rag-tag group of friends first walked into the con it was very early on in the day. Things were still getting set up and the venue was not quite ready. This however did not last long as gamers started flooding in, making their ways to see what was on offer. For a convention that was just starting out the crowd seemed to get bigger and bigger, at least in the early hours of the day. This boosted the atmosphere immediately as quiet sections of the building were soon filled up with groups of gamers.
There was lots to do at the London Gaming Con as the curators had made sure to pack whatever they could into every space. There were arcade machines and consoles set up all over the place. Boredom was simply not an option here. Upstairs they even had a mini-market in which sellers were constantly begging for your attention. The booths were all nice (except for the occasional over priced tat) and I even made friendly conversation with the odd stall owner or two (especially the guys from GameLink who I promised a shout out to. Shameless plug over). Overall the venue was well laid out in this big, yet intimate space.
One of the big draws of the convention was the abundance of question and answers sessions with internet celebrity guests. From brentalfloss to the ‘that guy with the glasses’ crew, this was the place to meet and greet your favourite e-entertainers. The London Gaming Con pulled out all the stops here too and the schedule was packed with things to do and people to see. In fact many times two events would clash, meaning I’d have to miss one. This was frustrating as the convention didn’t really run on time either. I there was any room for improvement it would be sorting out the times and getting the sound ready. All minor growing pains, I suppose.
Walking around however did feel a bit intense after a while. With a lot of people packed into a small space it started to get me hot and bothered. This is why having a bar in the facility was a good idea. As I mentioned before the London Gaming Con had invited entertainers to perform videogame acts for the attendees. This included music as we were treated to performances by the bar. From the techno inspired acts of Zonic (whom I have mentioned many times on this very site), to the comedy styling’s of brentalfloss there was a lot to be heard, the latter being one of the many highlights of the evening. The music itself was nice and apart from a few technical goofs, the convention had a brilliant array of musical treats which I had yet to see from any other convention.
That was pretty much the first day. Unfortunately the final day had a lot to live up to, which it honestly did not. While it was less intense, it was also more laid back. With less people this will always be a problem, it’s just hard to keep up such an atmosphere over an entire weekend. So my last impressions were more reserved than the majority of the experience. However the experience I did get in-between first arriving and the point when I left were packed and memorable. You can’t dismiss that at all.
If this all seems overwhelmingly positive, it’s because my experience really was. Comparing it to most conventions, it wasn’t the most professional but it did give the retro gaming community a chance to unite for a short time. Comparing it to other gaming conventions for example: If GameCity was about the industry, the London Gaming Con was about the community. And by that fair logic, I guess you can indeed say that the London Gaming Con did bring gaming fans together. Mission accomplished. Here’s hoping for an even bigger and better con next year.