Saturday, 31 May 2014

UK Games Expo 2014 - Thirty Minutes of Aggravation for Nine Quid

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.


  1. I had been planning to go to this, but after reading your post, am quite glad I didn't!.I will wait to see if there is a change of venue for 2015.

    1. I'm told that Sunday was quieter. I believe (but don't hold me to it) that they are contracted to the NEC Hilton for one more year.

  2. I was trading at the show and didn't get a chance to leave the stand for more than 5 minutes during the whole thing. Saturday was very busy. Sunday was a lot more relaxed, and they also turned the air conditioning on earlier, so it wasn't quite so hot. Last year our sales were split evenly between the two days, whereas this year, it was 70% on Saturday 30% on Sunday. I'm pretty sure they'll be back at the same location next year based on the conversations I had at the end of the show. If I wasn't trading I'd probably go for all 3 days as a punter, but I'd book game slots on Saturday to avoid the masses.

  3. I was there both days and while to me it didn't seem as crowded as you make out on Saturday (though I didn't have a child with me so ok) the Sunday was much better. Also more cosplay on the Sunday if the not-nephew might be interested in that.

  4. The event had about 10,000 people through the doors, so it was very busy. Saturday in particular.

    Sunday was much, much quieter and you could gone round without a lot of effort.

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  6. It was just bad timing, Coops. Saturday morning was very busy, the rest of the time less so. Will be the same venue next year but maybe with more happening on the Friday.

  7. As Marc and Pookie said Sunday was quiet - I recall the last time I went (the last year at the Masonic lodge in Edgbaston) that the Sunday was half empty. Trouble is - will everyone else think like that? :)