After attending Comic Con in Birmingham a few weeks ago, it wasn’t long before my sights were set on EGX Rezzed in London, a convention dedicated to a celebration of the Video Games Industry. EGX hosts numerous games events in the UK and overseas, with Rezzed having a particular focus on up and coming ‘Indie’ developers as well as established ones. The high number of exhibitors and events give Rezzed more of an intimate feel to it, with talks being conducted in smaller, more inclusive settings and developers eager to talk to you about the games they’re showcasing.
This being my first of hopefully many EGX events, I feel I’ve learnt a few things I’d like to share with you to help you get the most out of your time there and events similar to it!
1 – Plan your visit
Seeing all that’s on offer at Rezzed is a dizzying experience that can make choosing where you put your time and attention very difficult! Having a look at the schedule beforehand will help you scope out things that you definitely want to see, so you can make sure you keep yourself available for them. Often there’ll be more than one event that you want to attend occurring at the same time and deciding which you would like to do beforehand will save unnecessary angst when you have to decide on the spot.
When I arrived, I had to make the tough decision between seeing a live show with beloved YouTube channel, Outside Xtra and attending a talk with Brenda Romero, best known for her work on the Wizardry series, on making it as a Games Developer. I was able to kinda get the best of both worlds, by attending Romero’s full talk, asking questions and getting great advice and inside info, and also getting to catch the last 20 minutes of Outside Xtra’s Super Smash Bros tournament. However looking back, I wish I’d have made time for Eurogamer editor, Oli Welsh’s talk on making it as a Video Game Journalist considering the topics I’ve been writing about lately, but hey, you live and learn! Many of these talks are available on EGX Rezzed’s YouTube channel, but attending these events live is obviously much more ideal, can allow you to ask burning questions and potentially make valuable contacts.
2 – Make time for Free Roam
It can be tempting to try and fill your day completely with all the amazing events you can possibly cram in, which sounds great in theory, but this presents 2 issues. One, you are (presumably) a human being and, as such, need food and water to survive. Make sure you make time for lunch and rehydration! You can get around that by bringing your own food and water with you, but even just taking a mental break from your packed day is highly recommended so you can actually appreciate all you’re experiencing. The other issue is that there’s lots to experience at Rezzed that does not occur at a particular time. There are many video games and tabletop games available throughout the day, that you can access any time they’re available. Having a bit of time to explore and see which games or developers grab your attention is a great way to spend your time, but you need to have a fair bit of free time to make that happen and make some great discoveries. I was particularly excited about hands on time with up and coming alien fighting strategy game; Phoenix Point as well as chatting with the developers behind it. But there’s many other hidden gems you’ll only find by having a wonder yourself!
3 – Get to Meet & Greets early!
For those of you who don’t know, Meet & Greets are events when you get to meet and greet celebrated people during a scheduled period of time. Now, any advice I have on approaching celebrities needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as I get very nervous about the prospect. At Comic Con in 2017, I paid for a photo opportunity with Red Dwarf’s Chris Barrie, which was a huge moment for me, having been a big fan of the TV show, Red Dwarf from childhood into adulthood. However, I was so nervous, I literally could not think of a single thing to say to him, and while I still have the photo, I felt like I’d missed out on a great opportunity.
Here, I was really hoping to get some face time with the Outside Xbox and Outside Xtra teams, since they had two Meet & Greet sessions on the day, but I missed them both because I wasted time trying to psyche myself up to do it. If you really want to get some face time with people during a Meet & Greet, make sure you get there early. That said you might get to see people while you’re walking around while you’re free roaming. As I was checking out some games in the Indie Room, I found members of another favourite YouTube channel of mine; Playstation Access. However, they seemed busy so I let them be.
So, in conclusion, do the opposite of what I did; get to the Meet & Greets early and if you see people you recognise for their work, I’m sure a quick “Hi, I really enjoy your work” wouldn’t go amiss! Which leads me nicely on to my next point.
4 – Make connections where appropriate
I’m not just talking about connecting with people you recognise from the games industry here. If you’re attending this event, then chances are you have a lot of shared interests and passions with many of the participants in attendance. If you spot someone wearing something from a franchise you like, tell them that. If you’re in a queue for something you’re excited for, there’s probably people around you also excited about it and if they’re on their own, they could be bursting at the seams to talk about it! Why not give them that gift and ask them about it? At the very least, you and others get the chance to express your passions, maybe even join a games session together, or, you never know, if you’ve got that much in common, you may have made a friend!
However, also remember social conventions. It’s relatively easy to pick up on when someone would rather be left alone, in which case, respect their space and don’t take it personally.
5 – Accept that you probably won’t get to see everything you want in one day
As I’ve said before, the choice and quality of events and opportunities at EGX Rezzed is overwhelming and if you’re trying to do everything you want, without missing a thing, you’re probably going to be disappointed. If you are there for only one day, like I was, prioritising the essential events that you don’t want to miss can help, but it might be worth considering whether one day is enough to get to do all that you want. I left wishing that I had more time. I wanted to attend more events, see and play more games, and meet more fun and interesting people. And who knows, maybe I’d actually be able to strike up a conversation with some admired gaming personalities! In future, I hope to be able to attend multiple days in order to soak up more of what EGX has to offer!
(Big thanks to EGX for allowing me to use their gallery photos for this article, and also for being awesome and giving me something to write about! To see more about their up and coming events, follow this link and see what they’ve got in store!)