Games Expo Ireland 2017 – Fun, but lacking games
For me, the success or failure of GXI really depends on your personal expectations, but as a member of the media who was analysing every corner of the convention, I was left in two minds. While the general public seemed to be enjoying themselves as they attended panels hosted by various guests and visited the various stall, my mind was filled with the question, where were all the games?
Now, I’m not saying GXI had no games, as the convention had a host of retro games, indie games, classic arcade games, several Nintendo Switch games and a PC Gaming Zone. Now, while that sounds like a lot, there were no major AAA publishers or developers bar Nintendo, who were an official sponsor of GXI. Personally, I would have loved to have seen a wide selection of games from different studios, especially with the run-up to Christmas. Continuing the discussion of games, there was no way for attendees to buy games, which is rather surprising when you realise that CEX was one of the convention’s sponsors. While the convention offered a great indie and retro experience I felt that GXI didn’t offer much in the way of AAA games.
Moving onto the guests, GXI had three high profile guests, Peter Jessop who voiced Paladin Danse from Fallout 4, Caroline Ravassa who voiced Sombra from Overwatch, and Anjali Bhimani who voiced Symmetra from Overwatch. The three guests spent their time signing, meeting and taking part in Q&A panels. While I didn’t get to talk to them I will say this, charging €25 for a selfie is a bit much.
Speaking of panels, GXI had three stages: The Big Betty Stage, Games Summit & Panels stage, and finally a stage for MineVention. While having three separate stages works well, in theory, there was one major issue. The Big Betty stage and MineVention stage were only feet apart, which meant that these two stages were constantly fighting for attention and with both of them talking over each other it became almost a sea of noise with one stage trying to be louder than the other. Honestly, it was annoying and it made it difficult to focus on one stage over the other. Although before I finish talking about the stages, the Big Betty Stage was, in reality, a massive truck that was kitted out to provide a great Esports experience.
Moving onto the hall itself, the convention had a lot of wasted space with the main hall looking almost barren, especially when viewed from the balcony. I think if a third row of vendors was added to the main hall it would have looked a lot less barren, but I think the emptiness of the main hall was also due to the number of attendees.
Now, while I don’t know the exact figure, I did notice that the convention never felt packed. With the main hall that contained the guests, vendors, indie games and retro games looking pretty quiet. However, the second hall, which contained panels, tournaments, Nintendo Switch and PC gaming zone, was relatively full. From a visual perspective, it is difficult to know how full or popular Games Expo Ireland was.
Now, while I have been a bit negative regarding Games Expo Ireland 2017, I should point out that the convention had a great atmosphere with children screaming to get on stage with the All Cast Irish Gamers to play the likes of Sonic and Bomberman and the hilarious Irish version of Cards against Humanity “Ah Here Now”, which me and several others played for way too long.
With everything said and done was Games Expo Ireland 2017 good or bad? Well for a brand new convention it had its faults such as wasted space and a lack of AAA games, but despite these faults, the convention provided a family-friendly and welcoming experience.
To learn more about Games Expo Ireland, visit http://www.gxi.ie/.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.