So, the 17th MCM Expo came and went, and I was on hand with the people at www.plusxp.com to cover the event first hand. After covering both days and spending the evening of the first day hanging out with the awesome people at www.gaminglives.com, we all had learnt something about the Expo. Namely, that we found it pretty disappointing. Further inspired by a thread on the Gaminglives forums named “10 Things I Learnt From The MCM Expo”, I decided to chip in on this blog some of the things that I learnt after covering the Expo. So what did I learn? Read on and find out!
It’d Help To Have A Map:
At first, the place is pretty bewildering. It’s pretty difficult to get your bearings and to make your way around the Expo when you start out. The layout design adopted was a pretty confusing one, and it took a while to get used to it. It didn’t help that the place wasn’t signposted, so you had to guess your way around the place until you get used to it. It’s less of a problem for the press who were given a map, but it was inside the Expo guide which was split up by about 5 pages of adverts in-between each part. So I guess by this I mean “It’d help if there was a giveaway map for the Expo where the map wasn’t split up by adverts and just as confusing as if I didn’t have a map”. Or, improve the layout of the place so it wasn’t so obfuscating and annoying to find your way through.
Gamers May Be Disappointed:
This was probably going to be a given in any case. Considering the MCM is a Media expo, that means there’s going to be a lot apart from videogames. However, the videogames didn’t have anywhere near as big a presence as we’d have hoped. So, any gamers wanting to go just to try out all the games or hoping there’ll be loads of games to play may find themselves a bit disappointed. Coincidentally, any videogame sites may have a harder time than they thought getting enough coverage of the Expo. Come with a backup plan, basically. PlusXP’s was to interview cosplayers, and Gaminglives’ was to get drunk at the Trocadero. Both plans turned out awesomely.
Interviewing Companies About Their Games Can Be Difficult:
We thought that seeing as Game Companies were there, they’d be more than happy to give interviews about upcoming games. As it turned out, we were only able to get interviews from Tecmo Koei and Rising Star, which while sweet, was not as much as we’d have hoped.
Click here for the interviews with Rising Star and Tecmo Koei
No one from Activision was about to talk about Blur, Spiderman, Shrek Forever or Transformers: War for Cybertron, meaning that getting an interview was impossible. Then we couldn’t talk to anyone about the upcoming Magic: The Gathering game, not that it mattered because no one there knew enough to talk about it. Similarly, for the Nintendo stand, no one there was allowed to talk about the games without a marketing person present. Marketing people who didn’t show up the entire weekend, and thus left us unable to talk to anyone. Not that it’d have mattered, because…
Nintendo Need To Hire People Who Know What They’re Doing:
I apologise in advance for how whiny this is about to sound. Know that in reality, I love Nintendo to bits, I just need to get this off my chest.
Please hire people who actually know how to play games at your stands. Having people who don’t know how to play your games and can’t talk about them without the invisible, never arriving marketing person is incredibly counterproductive.
Few people at your stands knew anything about how to play games, except the guy at the Sin and Punishment 2 area, who was nice enough to help me out when I got stuck on the Demo. But even then, he told me after he only found out how to play by watching people play it over the day. If you’re trying to make your console seem simple and easy to play, then actually train the staff so they know how to play the games on display. The people running the stands should know how to play the games in question. I found it really insulting that one was so clueless that in response to a question he should have known was literally “I don’t know, press A or something…” It would take very little time to train them or brief them on how to play the games they are demonstrating. In fact, that guy was at the Super Mario Galaxy 2 stand all weekend, and even then, on the sunday, his response to someone who was stuck on the Faceship was “I dunno, press A or something…” You’re supposed to know! That’s surely what you were hired to do, to promote the game and help people to play it?
The thing that further compounded that situation for me was the fact that in Europe and Japan, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a tutorial DVD. The game is obviously in a finished state, as the game being demonstrated was the full version. So how difficult would it have been for them to put on the tutorial DVD for the people running the stand so they knew what they were doing? Why not let them play the games in question before they have to promote them?
Seriously, when your workers are clueless and uninterested, why are you hiring them? If they don’t want to do it, I’ll do it! There’s plenty of pro-Nintendo fans out there who’d be more than happy to help promote your console and games to the masses. If you hire people to help you sell videogames to other people, make sure they know something!
Continuing from the previous section, we want to interview the companies and representatives at the stand because we want to help get exposure for your games. It’s pretty difficult when no one at the stands knows what they’re talking about, or they’re unable to talk without marketing people who don’t show up. It just seems counterproductive to bring your games to the Expo, then refuse to let the people working at your stands talk about them.
Just Because It’s Announced Doesn’t Necessarily Mean It’ll Be There:
Even more counterproductive to your cause would be to announce your presence at the Expo in order to advertise your products, then not showing up at all. In this vein, Ubisoft announced before the expo that they’d be there to advertise the new Prince of Persia movie and the new Prince of Persia game. They then proceeded to not show up to the event. Surely, it’d have been better advertising for them to you know, show up to the event and promote both the game and the film? Sadly, we’ll never know. Which is a shame, because I’d liked to have seen the game better promoted, seeing as I’ve seen no promotion for the game in comparison to the movie. Still, I’ll never know why they didn’t show up, but it seemed weird of Ubisoft to announce their presence and then not show up at all. Maybe they were washing their hair? Maybe they had better things to do? I wouldn’t know, because they refuse to answer my phone calls, my text messages, emails, tweets, and sent me my 3rd restraining order from them. Though, that may be a lie.
Also suspiciously absent from the Expo despite its announced presence was the Halo Warthog. All we wanted was to steal it a little, but that was apparently too much to ask, seeing as the thing never showed up. Instead were the Dukes of Hazzard car and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. Also, the A Team Van, which was more than adequate replacement.
Like this, but at the MCM Expo. With some of the PlusXP team posing in front of it looking awesome. And explosions everywhere, us wearing sunglasses, our favourite band playing our theme song and loads of girls fighting over us. It was epic. You had to be there.
Finally, and worthy of note was the fact that I heard Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions was going to be at the Expo. What did I get? A trailer I couldn’t hear because there were way too many people about. My fault for expecting it to be there, but they could have at least told me beforehand it was just going to be a trailer so I wouldn’t have been so disappointed.
The Cosplayers Will Greatly Range In Quality, But Will Mostly Be Anime:
This I also should have realised at first. The cosplaying is a big tradition for the MCM Expo, and most of the people there were in some form of costume. However, I didn’t expect there to be such a wide range of quality of costumes. While most were pretty good, there were simply loads that either blew your mind, or just melted it at how bad they were. From full getups of Big Daddies and Issac Clarkes from Dead Space to people running around with cardboard boxes cosplaying as the turrets from Portal by singing the Still Alive song, the spectrum of cosplayers was simply huge. Granted, there were a couple of people in disturbingly skimpy costumes (and this was especially disturbing when most of them were very young teenagers, some with their parents), and I may have even seen a couple of furries and way too many Naruto/Matt Smith impersonators, but on the whole, the cosplay was pretty sweet. I even got to hug the couple with the really awesome Bowser and Yoshi costume and a guy dressed as the Cookie Monster. Awesome.
Luckily, PlusXP got interviews with some of the best Videogame Cosplayers over the weekend, and they can be seen at the following link.
PlusXP’s Cosplay Interviews
The Free Hugs Conundrum:
As well as the large amount of Cosplayers at the Expo, there was also a worryingly large amount of people with ‘Free Hugs’ signs. The idea of Free Hugs is innocent enough, you of course hold up a sign indicating that people can hug you without having to give you a monetary reward. However, a while into the Expo, you begin to realise that there’s a problem. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Most of the people with free hugs signs were ugly. Or really desperate for attention. Or both. Granted, with something as cool as free hugs, there must come the obvious catch, but at the same time, you don’t want the free cookies if they’re stale, so to speak. Even further complicating this was the fact that most of the genuinely attractive and cool looking people with free hugs signs would be followed around by their less attractive, more desperate friends, meaning that it was unlikely you could get away with hugging the hot ones without having to hug the ugly ones too.
I simply avoided the conundrum by not hugging anyone with a free hugs sign. Crisis averted.
The Gaminglives and Plus XP People Are Awesome:
This was probably the most important thing I learnt. Granted, I’ve been writing alongside all these people for the last few months, but when you meet them all, you realise that they’re all just as awesome (if not more) as they come across on the internet. They’re all genuinely funny, amazing people, and I’m glad to know them all and that I get to write alongside them. Thanks to Rob of PlusXP for putting me up for the weekend, and thanks to him and Mark of Gaminglives for liking my stuff enough to put it on the internet for people to read and for putting up with me. Thanks to everyone there for being so awesome to talk to, joke and get along with. You’re all amazing :D
Everyone at both Plus XP and Gaminglives are awesome, and meeting them all over the weekend of the MCM Expo was probably my highlight of the entire weekend.
I heartily recommend to any gamer reading this to put both of the sites in your bookmarks and check them daily.
PlusXP On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Plus-XP/111508508502
And to PlusXP and Gaminglives, thank you :)
P.S: Life’s A Game On Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lifes-A-Game/359126551955