EGX Diary - Day One
By Phil Myth
EGX, the UK’s biggest gaming convention, is back for 2018 and Nintendo have brought a whole slew of games for everyone to try out. Naturally we’re making an appearance to report on all that gaming goodness for you all. Here you’ll find our erstwhile Editor’s diary from day one. He’s flying solo today, but be sure to check back tomorrow where he’ll be joined by Mr Gary Gray, as well as a few other friends from the Nintendo community. Enjoy!
5:55am: Oh god what is that unholy cacophony of noise?! Goddam alarm clock. The things I do for Smash Bros.
7:30am: Slightly more human now, let’s make like a donkey’s johnson and hit the road!
9:57am: Arrived at the NEC. Fleeced for parking (£12! I ask you!) but wristbands and passes attained, queue has been joined, the doors are open, let the gaming begin!
10:06am: Big queues for Pokémon Let’s Go. There’s a lot of trainers at EGX this year!
10:12am: Signed up for the Mario Kart tournament. My heat is at 11:00am, victory shall be mine.
10:15am: First stop, Wargroove. The animations on this game are gorgeous. It really is medieval Advance Wars in glorious HD. The sprite work is fantastic, and the way the units all move about the map is hitting me right in the nostalgia. Can’t wait for this one.
11:15 am: Mario Kart tournament was on Star Cup. I got blue shelled right by the finish line on Electrodome and finished third instead of second. Went on to miss getting through by a single point. Naturally, I was magnanimous on the outside but internally, I was absolutely seething. I hate that stupid game.
12:15 pm: After lunch (and a cooling off period) its time for some Diablo III. I have no idea what it is I’m doing bar mashing the attack button, yet ploughing through hordes of enemies is incredibly satisfying. All the character options are level 70, so I’m massively OP’d, but it’s a lot of fun nonetheless. Most importantly though, it looks and runs incredibly well on Switch. I was playing in handheld mode yet even when the action gets really intense with waves and waves of enemies, there’s no slowdown or glitching at all. Impressive.
12:45pm: Hoo boy Dark Souls is tough! I’ve never played a Souls game before but I now understand why it’s become industry shorthand for ‘hard as effin’ nails’. It’s not the most visually impressive game I’ve seen on Switch, but the action looks good and everything’s nice and fluid. Wonder if we’ll actually get that network test before it launches next month?
1:50pm: After a considerable wait, I got to go hands on with Travis Strikes Again. Easily the highlight of the day so far. Almost-top-down hack ‘n’ slash arcade gameplay at its best. It featured all of the trademark humour from the series - including a hilarious boss fight where the enemy in question repeatedly referenced previous TSA demos and events, declaring that the Gamescom demo finished after his second phase, but just for EGX he was going to phase 3. He even asked Travis to leave him alone so he could wander Birmingham listening to Duran Duran. Hype levels for this just went from high to through the roof.
2:20pm: Had a quick blast on Broken Sword 5 which is out on Switch today. Very pretty looking game, and quite an enjoyable point and click adventure by the looks of things. Vacated the kiosk for someone else after playing for ten minutes or so, but definitely intrigued me.
2:30pm: This is the queue for Untitled Goose Game. Not Smash Bros or Pokémon. But a game where you play as a goose and terrorise a farmer. And they say video games aren’t art.
3:15pm: Goose Game is ridiculous. But beneath the ridiculousness, the objectives are fun to accomplish (if fairly straightforward to work out). Will be interesting to see if it has any legs (or wings), but initial impressions are good. It’s also ridiculous.
3:48pm: An achingly hipster hazelnut latte and a brief sit down later and I’m in the line for Smash Bros Ultimate. The benefit of all these queues is that I’m making significant progress on Hollow Knight today. Just acquired the wall jump ability and traversal is SO MUCH EASIER. I do love my Switch.
4:10pm: We were allowed two games of Smash Bros. I did play this earlier this year down at Nintendo’s UK HQ. Name of the game that day was to try out the new characters on offer (Inkling and Ridley). Today? Today is about domination. The three blokes I was playing against were no match for my Link. I took the second game with 8 kills and a single death. Just like in June though, the game is fast and wonderfully chaotic. The Bomberman assist trophy doesn’t half do some damage too. Weirdly not that enamoured with the GameCube controllers on offer though. They feel flimsy in comparison to the satisfyingly weighty Pro controller. Will likely stick with that when the game actually releases.
4:40pm: Pokémon easily the longest queue so far. Hollow Knight update: just been annihilated in a boss fight. Slow burn opening on this, but it’s slowly getting its hooks into me.
5:07pm: Three guys in the queue in front of me were setting up a Mario Kart lobby. I tried to sneak in, but apparently we’re using different versions of the game so it wouldn’t let me join. Boo! Update your software lads!
5:10pm: Man I could do with a chair.
5:12pm: Seriously my legs are killing me right now.
5:15pm: Nintendo’s presence is much larger than it was last year. They’ve got a big ol’ stage with a humongous screen behind it, for hosting the Splatoon championships and doing playthroughs of their upcoming titles. They’re currently using this massive apparatus to show off a bunch of indies, starting with Wargroove. Much like the Nindie Directs, it’s really great to see Nintendo use their weight to highlight some of these smaller studios and their work. Bravo.
5:17pm: Should I just sit on the floor? It’s a bit of a scruff thing to do but the pace of this queue is akin to a Slowpoke dipped in cement.
5:19pm: Noticed my shoelace was undone. Knelt down to do it up. For ten glorious seconds I wasn’t stood up and it felt... so... good...
5:30pm: Finally, I’m next up!
5:40pm: Let’s Go looks so good. Interestingly the rep told me that the textures on the partner pokémon are more detailed to help set them apart. I caught a Pikachu and wanted to add it into the team to see how it compares to my partner Pikachu, but as soon as I opened the menu the rep damn near had a fit. Apparently we’re not supposed to look at the menus. If I feel like braving the queue again tomorrow I may push my luck a bit and see if I can glean any interesting tidbits...
5:45pm: Current showcase on the big screen is Stick Fight. Essentially a bare bones Smash Bros but it looks insanely fun. Gonna have to get a game of this at some point this weekend.
5:56pm: Managed to get myself chosen for a game on the main stage, and good lord that’s a lot of fun. Quick fire matches, one life a piece and as soon as three stick men are dead, the level changes and all four are thrown back in. Rounds don’t last much more than 20/30 seconds so if you die you’re not sat twiddling your thumbs for long. I can see this being a stupendous amount of fun with three mates and a crate full of beer. Drew a pretty decent crowd as well, really entertaining!
6:20pm: Headed over to the Chucklefish booth and as well as Wargroove, they’ve got four other titles on show. None confirmed for Switch as yet, though there are two that could potentially show up further down the line. One of those was Timespinner, a Megaman-esque Metroidvania with a cool time stopping mechanic. The sprite work was tasty too. One to keep an eye out for next year maybe
6:36pm: Just played Victor Vran. Haven’t the first clue what the game is or what it’s about, but it appears to be a Diablo-esque dungeon crawler, where you play a revolver wielding, hammer swinging, behatted badass, taking down demons to tune of Ace Of Spades whilst collecting journal entries that are all about Motorhead’s late frontman Lemmy. Yeah I haven’t got a clue either, but apart from a little frame rate drop in one part, it was kinda enjoyable!
6:54pm: Rounding out the day watching some more Smash Bros on the big screen. Mario jumping round Saffron City in his wedding outfit, beating the crap out of Pikachu is truly a sight to behold.
Quick shout out to familiar faces Nimmz and Marc who have hosted these proceedings. They always do a great job at these events.
Awesome day filled with some great games, roll on day two!
Phil is the co-founder and editor of Nintendo Village, and also writes, hosts and produces P Myth Gaming. He has been a Nintendo fanboy for as long as he can remember and owns every home console bar the Virtual Boy (one day... one day...). His favourite game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.