Review: The PC Gamer Weekender, Olympia London
This weekend saw the arrival of the (appropriately named) ‘The PC Gamer Weekender’ to London’s Olympia, so we decided to take a Geektown team outing, and get our gaming on! The show is a little haven for those of us who may own consoles but, given the opportunity, will alway go for the PC version of a game. Being smaller and less busy than its larger cousins there’s hardly any queues, and sensible booking methods meant you had a good chance of getting onto the range of VR experiences on display. From big named AAA titles & pre-release games, to retro favourites & indie projects, it managed to pack a large variety of titles into its small size.
For us though, the main highlight was the huge collection of VR booths & games on offer, mainly using the HTC Vive VR system. Do be warned you don’t look as cool in real life as you feel in VR! Check out the video below for show highlights and some footage of Bex ‘looking badass’ in Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope…
Along with Serious Sam, we also got the chance to try out Raw Data, a VR game where you are attacked from all sides by a constant stream of robotic bad guys. You find yourself shooting in all directions, and ducking for cover. But the sheer terror of spinning around only to realise one of the mechanical maniacs has managed to sneak up on you really makes you jump!
If you’ve read any of our coverage from gaming events before, you know we have a soft spot for the indie developers, and there was a huge range of options to chose from at this show, including a number of VR titles. We got to try out Jeff’s Tower VR, created by a team of students from University of South Wales. As you might expect, it sees the player in a large tower, being constantly attacked by groups of Orcs. It’s still in development, but is a great work-in-progress. Standing on the edge of the tower looking down would give anyone who has a fear of heights so real issues!
Over on the other indie stands we got talking to the guys from netherlands based Crimson Owl Studios about their awesome puzzle based physics brick breaker game Caromble, which was an impressive 7 years of weekends in the making, and easily looked as good as titles made by a much larger team.
The gameplay was simple but addictive and very well balanced with more power ups and variations with every level. We got to chat with one of their developers and have a go at the game ourselves:
Other games we were impressed with included Antihero, a multiplayer turn-based strategy game with a lovely graphic style, that lets you sneak, steal, and assassinate your way to the most powerful thieves’ guild in Victorian London. There was Impact Winter, a top-down style survival game, where you play the leader of a group trying to survive the aftermath of a devastating asteroid collision. And also Hacktag, a 2 player co-op stealth game, where one player is the on-the-ground agent, and the other is the in-the-van hacker, unlocking systems for him.
What we love about the current PC indie scene is the sheer quality and variety across the games. Some developers are teams working full time, whilst others are a few guys coding on weekends, but there is masses of great development going on out there!
The PC Gamer Weekender is on each spring at Olympia in London and you can find out more by clicking here!
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.