Running from the 17th to the 21st August 2016, Gamescom is the largest video gaming event in the world. Located in the picturesque city of Cologne in Germany at the Koelnmesse convention centre, every year this titan of a gaming event attracts 300-350 thousand people, ranging from trade visitors and the press to gamers and regular members of the public. Bearing in mind however, that the crowd can be quite daunting, specially to anyone who suffers from claustrophobia or anxiety issues.
With that said, unfortunately I was not able to experience much however I will sum up what I have seen.
I arrived on Thursday at the event centre at about 1:30pm, when it was already quite busy. However, I managed to get to the Star Citizen booth and speak to several of the Frankfurt and Wilmslow Foundry 42 developers. After picking up some merchandise, I joined the queue to get a look at the game. Unfortunately, this was on 2.5 PTU which I was already a part of, so whilst I saw nothing new, I did have a blast with the Argo (a utility vessel) which one of the developers behind me had not seen yet. Also ran into a bug (it is an alpha of an alpha!) with a ship called the Vanguard Warden which involved a visual blocker (which are used to help maintain framerates by only rendering what you can see, which is why SSD’s are recommended for Star Citizen) which I pointed out to the developers.
I also walked around the “Fanshop arena” which was a large hall dedicated to merchandise and gaming themed clothing. However, it felt less like what we would expect in a UK convention and more like, as someone else excellently put it, a bazaar with dozens of stalls selling much of the same thing and hundreds of people crowded around them.
On the Friday I arrived 10 minutes before Gamescom was due to open, however, they opened late and the queue took ages, mostly due to the large amount of people bringing multiple bags despite being told not to, as this would hold up the queue as they were having to search most people.
Once in, I got myself some brunch from one of the many street food vendors, and headed around the hall where the PC hardware could be found. After being confused by what turns out to be in incredible innovation, a 0LED thin transparent screen, I headed around the corner to try out a VR headset. This was the Oculus Rift, which having never experienced VR before was incredible. The game it was being used on was Project Cars, which is amazingly optimised for VR, and a view putting you next to the driver means you can look over and it is as if he was actually there, sitting in this car and driving it around. EASTER EGG ALERT! You can look under his helmet, they actually rendered his face under the helmet, although you can only see the area around his eyes.
After that, the crowds became too much, and I decided not to return Saturday or Sunday. However, I did attend the Star Citizen events, which I will cover in another article.
More details about Gamescom and the event next year can be found at www.gamescom-cologne.com
Next year’s Gamescom will take place from 22nd to the 26th August with the 22nd being the trade and press day.