A Trip to Hell and Back: The GamesCom Experience

What a fitting logo: Tons of people crammed together in little space with more wanting to get in.

So I was at GamesCom yesterday. Let me tell you how it went and how I managed to make it back in one piece.

This is all about GamesCom, so let’s just ignore the fact that I spent hours in a traffic jam. My GamesCom started with me standing in line to get a sign of proof that I’m an adult, which turned out to be a meaningless endeavor because apparently nobody would doubt me being older than 18 anyway. From there me and the other people I came with walked towards the nearest entrance out of 4, which had a humongous crowd in front of it, so we kept walking until we reached the northern entrance, which had long lines in front of every door. The fun part is that those doors were closed. You might have heard the news that GamesCom was closed because there were too many people in attendance. I was out there when that happened, in the probably hottest weather of the year with neither shadow nor wind anywhere near us. The doors would only open every half hour or so, when enough people had left the building. So I had the door I was waiting on open and close right in front of me 3 times before I finally managed to squeeze my way in. Some asshole tried to cheat his way in from the side, but I managed to push my elbow deep into his jerk-upper body and push him away so he wouldn’t get in.

Finally inside the building I stood in the shortest of the lines (with only 3 people before me) to get my ticket, followed by another line (you see where this is going?) which stood still for at least 15 minutes again because of the halls being too crowded. At that point, I was understandably mad and certainly not amused. Then we were able to enter the halls and move freely.. I wish. Moving through the masses was torture and not losing my group was pretty hard. When we finally reached a place where we could kind of talk in peace we split up, because I wanted to meet up with a few people and they had different goals from mine. Since one of them and I kept missing each other I decided I should probably get some actual fun into my system and headed for Hall 6, where Capcom was stationed. My goal: Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. The latter I had already heard was not available there, so I wasn’t too disappointed not to find it. While I was waiting in line to get to play Street Fighter X Tekken Stephan, the other person I wanted to meet, asked me where I was, so he was able to find me shortly before I got to actually play. From then on we hung out and got a little bit of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition (with no lines!) in and eventually managed to meet up with the other person, Lina. We avoided all lines and mainly talked, found a place to sit and talked some more.

When Stephan had to leave, Lina and I thought that maybe the masses of people might have let up a bit, so we tried to find something to play or maybe get some free swag. But I’ll let you guess how that went. Hint: Lines. The lines in front of Super Mario 3D land were pretty short, luckily, so we both got some playtime with that. From then on, nothing of real importance happened except for some more failed attempts at finding places to go that weren’t jam packed with people. At roughly 6pm the group I came with called out to me because they wanted to leave. I said goodbye to my companion and breathed a sigh of both relief and melancholy, promising myself to get a press pass next year and arrive on an earlier day, so that I’ll be able to actually play the things I want to and not suffocate and die, like I did this year.

I remembered Stephan likening the heat, the amount of people and the noise to what hell would probably be like. Since I made it out alive, I am literally Hercules now.

So what do we learn? Don’t go to GamesCom if you don’t have a press badge and hate lines or people, because there are a lot of them. I will be talking about the actual games in tomorrow’s post. See you then!

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