Community, Fan Works

London Gaming Con: The Report

There’s something about human contact, isn’t there? I haven’t been seen around here so much lately, but if you mention that there’s a meet-up somewhere close to me, I’ll be there. People, with their strange, squishy bodies and minds. Man, I love ’em. You might not be surprised, then, when I tell you that the idea of covering London Gaming Con for Sonic Retro appealed to me. Put a bunch of gamers in the Rocket Complex, add internet celebrities and sprinkle a bit of technology about the place, then bake for a couple of days. That’s my kind of weekend.

Well actually, it was my kind of Sunday because the Saturday was taken up with a family wedding. As a result, I missed out on Dr. Ashen, CoLD SToRAGE and the busier of the two days. What I didn’t miss was the Super Sonic Sunday programme of events, which sought to celebrate our blue hero as his 20th anniversary year draws to a close. You can see some of these events in the video below:

Of course, that’s only part of the story. Do you want to see pics and things? Of course you do. Click the post break already.

There’s something about human contact, isn’t there? I haven’t been seen around here so much lately, but if you mention that there’s a meet-up somewhere close to me, I’ll be there. People, with their strange, squishy bodies and minds. Man, I love ’em. You might not be surprised, then, when I tell you that the idea of covering London Gaming Con for Sonic Retro appealed to me. Put a bunch of gamers in the Rocket Complex, add internet celebrities and sprinkle a bit of technology about the place, then bake for a couple of days. That’s my kind of weekend.

Well actually, it was my kind of Sunday because the Saturday was taken up with a family wedding. As a result, I missed out on Dr. Ashen, CoLD SToRAGE and the busier of the two days. What I didn’t miss was the Super Sonic Sunday programme of events, which sought to celebrate our blue hero as his 20th anniversary year draws to a close. You can see some of these events in the video below:

Of course, that’s only part of the story. Do you want to see pics and things? Of course you do. Click the post break already.

Early mornings are not normally my style, but I needed to go shopping before the Con. You see, I had recently read an article that said “You are not a true professional or a true Scotsman if you take photographs without a tripod. BUY NOW! GET NOW!” and decided that, for completely unrelated reasons, I should obtain a tripod for this event. So I went to Westfield Stratford City, a veritable cathedral of capitalism that attracts a hell of a lot of wallet-worship every day, to buy that damned tripod. This is relevant because I then had way too much stuff with me and had to put down at least 15 bags every time I actually wanted to take a picture, annoying the hell out of all around me. Erm, sorry about that. On the plus side, no shakycam!

Anyhow, I got to the venue a little after 12 and was greeted by the ever-enthusiastic Zonic, who you may have seen in that there video earlier. Getting in was a very non-stressful experience compared to some events I’ve been to in the past, so with badge and conbook (and bags, and bags, and bags, and bags) in hand, I was quickly on my way. There were also t-shirts and con badges available on the front desk, which was nice to see. The first things I saw upon entering the room were the Sonic Wrecks stand, running the Sonic Blindfolded competition, and Hand-Baked Arcade‘s section. They had a number of different retro machines up and running, including sweet things like the Saturn (with Bomberman and 10 pads!) and Mega Drive, as well as an Atari 2600 with Synthcart. These guys do retro gaming set-ups for events and seemed to have a bunch of neat things to choose from, so it’s worth looking at them if you’re ever in that market. After that quick look I sat down to unbox my tripod as the first live act headed to the stage, the enjoyable Nottingham-based “Gaijin rock” outfit Area 11.

Being a massive students’ union bar actually makes the Rocket Complex really good for this type of event. The downstairs main stage wasn’t the biggest in the world but was adequate for this event (even if the poor old keyboard player here had to stay off the stage), hosting Brentalfloss, Sonic Wrecks’ Sonic pub quiz and Zonic’s live performance. The bar was also rather conveniently located in this area, and had plenty of comfortable seating available. The gaming rooms were separate, with the retro area in the back room holding various systems including the Dreamcast, Playstation 2, N64, Playstation, Mega Drive and Amstrad GX4000. Yes, really! It was a good place to catch some Pang and indulge in co-op Streets of Rage. Meanwhile, the modern area had Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles all over the place with games on display including Mario Kart Wii, Super Street Fighter IV, BlazBlue, some Naruto game I couldn’t name if I tried and, of course, Sonic Generations. I did have to resist my temptation to sit down and set some sweet times there, I must admit. Better still was the upstairs area. A massive open hall, the room hosted a variety of dealers selling everything from the usual retro games and accessories to gaming t-shirts, manga and Japanese snacks. A row of tables was reserved for trading card games, which excited me until I discovered that my princess was in another castle (Yu-Gi-Oh players were there, and that ain’t my game). You could also find dozens of consoles running all sorts of fighting games (and Super Smash Bros. games), including some very shiny new things such as King of Fighters XIII and Soul Calibur V. There was also another main stage, this one big enough for two projection screens as well as the performance space, which played host to Whose Game Is It Anyway? and the Sonic vs. Mario Showdown hosted by Dreadknux of The Sonic Stadium, which you can see in the video above.

Of course, the material things at any con pale in comparison to the atmosphere and the stories you take away from it, and London Gaming Con didn’t disappoint. The atmosphere was lively even considering that the Saturday was apparently more heavily attended. Cosplayers milled about the place, including a a fully-outfitted Mario and Luigi pair and GirlGamerNerd in full Sonic gear (see left). The audience was very willing to participate in the various events too, with duelling “Sonic” and “Mario” chants during the showdown, and a very vocal crowd during Brentalfloss’ set – resulting in a mad-lib that contained the words “rectangular” and “spiffy” in addition to the usual memes and profanity.

People were pretty open, too. I came in knowing very few of the other attendees (hey, I was there for coverage) and annoyed tons of people by waving a tripod around, but I left having met some cool people, including some from the wider Sonic scene. I played a best of 3 match against a con-goer on Virtual On for the Saturn, and managed to wrestle the pad controls into some form of workable to win it. I ran deep into Streets of Rage co-op with someone I’d never met before, in a dominant display that only stopped when he had to leave. I even met someone who was marvelling over the “shiny” things at Retro Game Base‘s table, before moving over to buy a boxed pair of Master System 3D Glasses from another, for a wallet-smashing £90.

Perhaps the best stories were obtained from the impossibly awesome Sonic Blindfolded. I met Shadow Dinosaur and Nemain (pictured right) at this stand, and indeed it is Shadow Dinosaur who managed the crazy 0:35 run on the YouTube video. I saw Dreadknux roll up to take his turn on the game and make it through on a very dangerous third attempt at 0:57. I declined to have my own blindfolded run recorded, fearing for my credibility on this very website, then wished I hadn’t as I put in a respectable 0:38. What is crazy is that neither myself not Shadow Dinosaur were good enough to topple the leader’s insane 0:33.

When I said earlier that I liked people, I wasn’t kidding. I like them so much that I went from one job that involved planning and delivering events to another, but that has had some impact on me as a person. See, having spent the past couple of years doing this kind of work, I now often find myself comparing the events I go to against the ones I run. Some places have nicer rooms, others have worse catering, others still are a mismanaged shambles. London Gaming Con was good in that it left me with nothing to complain about on a personal or professional level, in many ways exceeding my expectations. London Gaming Con is a first-time event this year, but it was put together by experienced convention organisers at AnimeLeague and it showed.

I had a great time at London Gaming Con and hopefully, the event will return next year to build on the successes from this year. Hey, maybe some of you tea-filled, crazy Brits could join me out there too?

I mean, you might get to see this sort of thing happen. It doesn’t come around too often!

Early mornings are not normally my style, but I needed to go shopping before the Con. You see, I had recently read an article that said “You are not a true professional or a true Scotsman if you take photographs without a tripod. BUY NOW! GET NOW!” and decided that, for completely unrelated reasons, I should obtain a tripod for this event. So I went to Westfield Stratford City, a veritable cathedral of capitalism that attracts a hell of a lot of wallet-worship every day, to buy that damned tripod. This is relevant because I then had way too much stuff with me and had to put down at least 15 bags every time I actually wanted to take a picture, annoying the hell out of all around me. Erm, sorry about that. On the plus side, no shakycam!

Anyhow, I got to the venue a little after 12 and was greeted by the ever-enthusiastic Zonic, who you may have seen in that there video earlier. Getting in was a very non-stressful experience compared to some events I’ve been to in the past, so with badge and conbook (and bags, and bags, and bags, and bags) in hand, I was quickly on my way. There were also t-shirts and con badges available on the front desk, which was nice to see. The first things I saw upon entering the room were the Sonic Wrecks stand, running the Sonic Blindfolded competition, and Hand-Baked Arcade‘s section. They had a number of different retro machines up and running, including sweet things like the Saturn (with Bomberman and 10 pads!) and Mega Drive, as well as an Atari 2600 with Synthcart. These guys do retro gaming set-ups for events and seemed to have a bunch of neat things to choose from, so it’s worth looking at them if you’re ever in that market. After that quick look I sat down to unbox my tripod as the first live act headed to the stage, the enjoyable Nottingham-based “Gaijin rock” outfit Area 11.

Being a massive students’ union bar actually makes the Rocket Complex really good for this type of event. The downstairs main stage wasn’t the biggest in the world but was adequate for this event (even if the poor old keyboard player here had to stay off the stage), hosting Brentalfloss, Sonic Wrecks’ Sonic pub quiz and Zonic’s live performance. The bar was also rather conveniently located in this area, and had plenty of comfortable seating available. The gaming rooms were separate, with the retro area in the back room holding various systems including the Dreamcast, Playstation 2, N64, Playstation, Mega Drive and Amstrad GX4000. Yes, really! It was a good place to catch some Pang and indulge in co-op Streets of Rage. Meanwhile, the modern area had Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles all over the place with games on display including Mario Kart Wii, Super Street Fighter IV, BlazBlue, some Naruto game I couldn’t name if I tried and, of course, Sonic Generations. I did have to resist my temptation to sit down and set some sweet times there, I must admit. Better still was the upstairs area. A massive open hall, the room hosted a variety of dealers selling everything from the usual retro games and accessories to gaming t-shirts, manga and Japanese snacks. A row of tables was reserved for trading card games, which excited me until I discovered that my princess was in another castle (Yu-Gi-Oh players were there, and that ain’t my game). You could also find dozens of consoles running all sorts of fighting games (and Super Smash Bros. games), including some very shiny new things such as King of Fighters XIII and Soul Calibur V. There was also another main stage, this one big enough for two projection screens as well as the performance space, which played host to Whose Game Is It Anyway? and the Sonic vs. Mario Showdown hosted by Dreadknux of The Sonic Stadium, which you can see in the video above.

Of course, the material things at any con pale in comparison to the atmosphere and the stories you take away from it, and London Gaming Con didn’t disappoint. The atmosphere was lively even considering that the Saturday was apparently more heavily attended. Cosplayers milled about the place, including a a fully-outfitted Mario and Luigi pair and GirlGamerNerd in full Sonic gear (see left). The audience was very willing to participate in the various events too, with duelling “Sonic” and “Mario” chants during the showdown, and a very vocal crowd during Brentalfloss’ set – resulting in a mad-lib that contained the words “rectangular” and “spiffy” in addition to the usual memes and profanity.

People were pretty open, too. I came in knowing very few of the other attendees (hey, I was there for coverage) and annoyed tons of people by waving a tripod around, but I left having met some cool people, including some from the wider Sonic scene. I played a best of 3 match against a con-goer on Virtual On for the Saturn, and managed to wrestle the pad controls into some form of workable to win it. I ran deep into Streets of Rage co-op with someone I’d never met before, in a dominant display that only stopped when he had to leave. I even met someone who was marvelling over the “shiny” things at Retro Game Base‘s table, before moving over to buy a boxed pair of Master System 3D Glasses from another, for a wallet-smashing £90.

Perhaps the best stories were obtained from the impossibly awesome Sonic Blindfolded. I met Shadow Dinosaur and Nemain (pictured right) at this stand, and indeed it is Shadow Dinosaur who managed the crazy 0:35 run on the YouTube video. I saw Dreadknux roll up to take his turn on the game and make it through on a very dangerous third attempt at 0:57. I declined to have my own blindfolded run recorded, fearing for my credibility on this very website, then wished I hadn’t as I put in a respectable 0:38. What is crazy is that neither myself not Shadow Dinosaur were good enough to topple the leader’s insane 0:33.

When I said earlier that I liked people, I wasn’t kidding. I like them so much that I went from one job that involved planning and delivering events to another, but that has had some impact on me as a person. See, having spent the past couple of years doing this kind of work, I now often find myself comparing the events I go to against the ones I run. Some places have nicer rooms, others have worse catering, others still are a mismanaged shambles. London Gaming Con was good in that it left me with nothing to complain about on a personal or professional level, in many ways exceeding my expectations. London Gaming Con is a first-time event this year, but it was put together by experienced convention organisers at AnimeLeague and it showed.

I had a great time at London Gaming Con and hopefully, the event will return next year to build on the successes from this year. Hey, maybe some of you tea-filled, crazy Brits could join me out there too?

I mean, you might get to see this sort of thing happen. It doesn’t come around too often!

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

5 Comments

  • Reply

    I’m really disappointed that no-one seems to be mentioning ProjectorGames in their event write-ups!  Did you try it?  What did you think?

  • Reply

    Hello Si,
    I wasn’t sure where you were located, and then it turns out that I could figure it out – just by the door downstairs, right? I didn’t get a chance to play, but I did briefly see people having a lot of fun with Falldown. When I passed early on, someone was playing music from Rez which is an easy way to get my attention. It seemed like quite a nice setup, but as I didn’t play it I couldn’t really say a great deal about it.

  • Reply

    mm i dont like the cosplay

  • Reply

    Lol Sonic The MedicHog?

  • Reply

    Nice to see you are playing the NTSC version of the game. 😉

  • Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment

    Leave a Reply