Nope, I’m not talking about clothes, your phone, laptop or even the tickets you need to get into the Expo itself. Frankly, if you need a guide to help you remember to pack these things, then my soul weeps for you. No, this is a guide for the essentials that you may not have even thought of; so with PAX Prime just around the corner and Eurogamer Expo next month, now would be a good time to share some tips to make the most out of your Expo experience.
“Tudor, you big girl’s blouse! Why are you so worried about picking up the odd sniffle?” The truth is, I’m not. I have my fair share of illness throughout the year, so what’s one more case of man-flu? But – and it’s a big but – there are people out there that don’t even wash their hands after visiting public conveniences; furthermore, and most likely in the same building, you’re likely to buy some food that isn’t served on fine china with silver cutlery. Knowing that, are you really that comfortable to touch every controller, mouse, keyboard and door handle at the Expo without protecting yourself from potentially eating a sandwich with a side order of faecal particles? Yeah, I thought not. It’s not only for your own health, but stops you from passing those nasties onto people you meet at the expo, possibly celebrities and (heaven forbid) bringing it home to your family. No one likes being the guy that made the family household a quarantined area!
Expos are a popular place to potentially meet celebrities from the world of everything even remotely geeky. Most of the time, if they’re going to be signing something, they’ll have a table set out and you’d have to wait in a long line that you may never reach the front of. So be prepared, with pen in hand, to meet them away from any lines where they likely won’t have a pen handy, and use that to your advantage. How can they politely say no when you’ve gone to the trouble of providing everything they need to provide you with their John Hancock?
On the flip side of this, if you have any kind of celebrity status on the internet (or if you’re Jon Brady and just think you do), having a pen could mean that you make someone’s day by signing something for them. You never know, you really could become a big name one day, and that guy had your autograph first. He’s going to be your original hipster fan!
Stuff to Sign
Did you see this one coming? Because you really should have. Nothing could look more pathetic than proclaiming “I’m your biggest fan!”, only to produce a random scrap of paper for your icon to sign. It doesn’t need to be anything amazing, even a generic signature book would be better, but make sure you have something that’s ready to be emblazoned with the scribblings of your chosen idol should the opportunity present itself. Popular gaming items to have inscribed include controllers, t-shirts, game boxes or even consoles, which gives you plenty of space for a bunch of autographs, but on the downside, it will mean you’re lugging it around for the rest of the day. So pick your items to be signed wisely, and do your research on who will be there whenever possible.
Nothing is going to spoil your time on the show floor more than getting the munchies halfway down the line for that game you’re dying to get some hands-on experience with. Throw some energy bars and a refillable bottle of some kind in your bag so you can keep yourself nourished as you go, avoiding those long lines – and exorbitant prices – at the catering stalls for as long as possible. You could even keep an extra empty bottle handy if you need to relieve yourself, although this is at the risk of being kicked out of the expo for indecent exposure. Maybe that one is a step too far (Editor’s note – I agree).
Completely optional, but in the age of dubstep being a must-have for any self-respecting game trailer, you might be wise to protect your eardrums – and your brain – from having heavy bass pumping into them for countless hours. They might even come in handy for the trip home if you’re able to get some sleep, because everyone knows there will always be at least one crying baby on public transport.
As well as the aforementioned dubstep, you’re going to staring at screens all day in dimly lit areas. That’s a powerful one-two punch that’s bound to cause your brain some distress. Grab some pills to numb the pain and carry on or, alternatively, be a baby and at least go out into the daylight for a while. We’re only thinking of your health, honest.
It should be a no brainer, but you’re going to be on your feet all day in queues and walking around. Wearing shoes that aren’t going to blister your feet will be a Godsend by the third day of any expo. Not to mention you’ll be able to out-run everyone else in the event of a freebie give away or, although admittedly unlikely, a zombie apocalypse.
So that’s a wrap on our Expo packing guide, don’t forget the essentials we didn’t mention, you know, those ones I listed off in the first paragraph? They’re really important.
And remember to tip your tour guides, I’ll have a scotch on the rocks at the Expo bar.