This weekend the first Play.com Live video games event took over Wembley Arena to show off a variety of upcoming games to the public.
As you approached Wembley Arena from Wembley Park train station, you could see a huge inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man floating by the arena, and next to him the Ghostbusters car! Sadly, however, once inside, there was no hands-on with the game, but just the trailer we've seen so many times before. Presumably, a hands-on was part of the plan (hence the promotion) but someone pulled the plug at the last minute.
Once inside, the event was split over three floors, with the ground floor hosting a Rock Band stage where people donned rock-tastic wigs and got cheered or booed by the crowd. At the other end of the ground floor was a proper stage, where Hollyoaksactress and glamour model Gemma Atkinson and co-host Iain Lee compered the event.
A variety of bands played some tunes for the nerds, who seemed largely to be more concerned with playing the games. First up was the Rumble Strips, wearing fluorescent workmen's outfits, and breaking guitars. Rock and roll!
Throughout the event there were the mandatory gratitious promotions. One example is the showgirls dancing to 'Viva Las Vegas' to promote Midway's upcoming This is Vegas (EDIT--I've just been told that the game being promoted was in fact Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2).
Slightly more baffling was the use of a hot chick on a motorbike to advertise San Disk--portable storage disks which you use in mobile phones or digital cameras, and which have absolutely nothing to do with hot chicks or motorbikes.
The event seemed pretty packed, but as it was fairly compact, it was difficult to tell exactly how many people were in attendance. Here's a picture of about half of the first half of the ground floor. Count up the number of people and multiply it by six and that'll be about right.
One of the games that grabbed my attention was the Lego Indiana Jones title, which looks like it's going to be pretty much what everyone expects from the Lego series--not a bad thing at all. To promote the game, they had made a full-size Lego model of Indie.
We also checked out a demo of Far Cry 2, which is looking very nice indeed, bringing to life a series of lush environments in a fictional African country for gamers to enjoy blasting people away in.
Personally, although it has nothing to do with video games (until they make a video game from the series, anyway, and I don't mean one that's based on the Top Trumps card games) I was delighted to see a Doctor Who stand filled with dalek toys galore.
Tom Baker, the fourth doctor, was on hand to sign autographs, and pose for pictures. Visitors were also treated to free DVDs just for showing up. On the Saturday in the morning I got given a copy of Knocked Up and in the afternoon Ice Age. See you next time!