Not-Nephew and I went across to UK Games Expo today - early start, forty minutes on the train, £9 for me (free for him) and we managed to stand it for all of 30 minutes before leaving. I had £200 burning a hole in pockets and brought all of it back home.
So went wrong there?
The crowd. All three trader halls were hot and packed. It proved impossible to see anything and look at potential purchases. The two larger halls had the usual arrangement of two outer rings of stalls facing each other with gangway between and more gangways running across the centre but in one of the rooms we actually gave up on ever getting access to the centre gangway. Not-Nephew is a small-for-his-age ten year old and seeing him struggling in the crowd gave me unpleasant flashbacks of the very small number of football matches I attended in the good old/bad old days of open terracing.
The main entrance hall was choked by a queue for a cash machine - this is before eleven on Saturday so raises questions about how prepared some people were (or were not). I bet it wasn't a free ATM either. There were some cosplayers somewhere in there as I could hear Daleks. Hear. Not see.
Eventually I got an SMS telling me some friends were at the participation miniatures games over by the swimming pool which turned out to be something of an oasis in the middle of the seething mass of geekdom. We popped over to see them and discovered that a huge snaking queue that ran the length of a corridor and curved around into another room that I had assumed was for food was actually for the Bring and Buy. We abandoned any attempt to even get near that room.
At crisis point we discussed was it worth going back and trying to look for the things we wanted. And basically decided, no it simply wasn't something we wanted to do. Neither of us wanted to spend time in the crush for the sake of spending money and tempers were getting frayed. I was harangued for not moving out of somebody's way while what I was actually doing was waiting for somebody else in the human gridlock to move first so that I could move, no doubt while that individual was waiting for somebody else to move first and so on and and so on elephants all the way down. Fuck this shit and all that.
So at 1100 on the first day of the show we walked out and went home for bacon sandwiches on the garden bench. I did idly wonder if it might be quiet on Sunday afternoon and worth a second attempt but since then I've made other arrangements for Sunday.
I'm really disappointed. I missed last year when it first moved to the NEC Hilton as I was suffering from "real" flu (this differs from man-flu in that it actually is flu and hammered my health for about two months) and already the show is just too big for it's venue. Some traders have lost my custom because sorry guys I simply couldn't put up with that to get across to you and give you my hard-earned and I won't be attending the show again if it stays at the same place. Shame.