The Inaugural PC Gamer Weekender!
Last weekend the Old Truman Brewery in London bore host to the PC Gamer Weekender. Hosted and organised by the UK arm of the website and print magazine, the weekender offered plenty of games to play, events to get involved with, talks and meetups, with a wide variety of the big names in the industry out in force. It was built from the ground up as an event which had the community behind it. Indeed, the initial plans for the weekender started last summer, when PC Gamer sent out a survey asking readers what they’d most like out of a PC focused event.
While this might be the first PC Gamer Weekender, this isn’t the first event PC Gamer UK have been involved in. Previous events have mostly had a LAN party feel, with the PC Gamer Showdown almost a decade ago being the highlight. This event was much more standard fare, similar to Eurogamer’s EGX or Rezzed events, but smaller, with a tighter focus on PC, and a strict over 18s only limit.
This more niche setting didn’t stop the event from having a very wide range of things to get stuck into, though. Not only was there a very decent array of games on offer, but there were plenty of other things to grab your attention. Big speakers hosting talks and Q&A sessions, all of which was streamed online. VR was well and truly a big part of the show, with the HTC Vive having a large section of the show floor, and several other Oculus Rift and Samsung GearVR games dotted around the show floor. Hardware giants were also out in force with PC build workshops and some ridiculously powerful builds on display. There was also competitive gaming to be seen and played, with EGL hosting some small gaming tournaments alongside their bigger pro gaming event. A whole floor was also dedicated to board gaming, with some interesting titles to try out. There were also plenty of free giveaways on offer, with Tshirts, hats, discount codes and steam keys available in both giveaways and competitions.
I attended on the Sunday, watching the tweets and stream from the Saturday, which seemed to be pretty busy. The Sunday seemed less so, and this was both a blessing and a curse. Queues for the popular games were smaller, allowing you to easily come back and replay your favourites, there was more free stuff to go around, and developers were easy to talk to in smaller groups without big crowds buzzing around them. However, because of this, some areas of the event seemly slightly empty, and the venue seemed cold, although this was partly due to the unseasonably cold march the UK is currently having. Combine this with the rather poor organisation of some of the tournaments of the weekend and some players taking part in the tournaments were left standing around in a cold, breezy area for a bit too long waiting for their games to start.
Those minor issues aside however, there was plenty to see and do at the event, with an excellent selection of some of the PCs finest released and upcoming games available to play, and the free stuff on offer alone more than paid for the entry fee. Whatever way you slice it, this is a welcome addition to the events calendar in London, and one that I hope to see return, albeit bigger and better.