This year, I had the honor of helping out to man a booth at Gamescom. To be honest though, I did not only do it because I wanted to support some great people. I know a couple people who I can, at most, see once a year – during Gamescom. With me not streaming much, if at all, currently, getting Press accredited was pretty much impossible, and despite studying Computer Science, I wouldn’t have been able to get a Trade Visitor badge, either. And then there’s the normal visitor badges, but if half of the people you’d like to meet and catch up with hang out in those holy, air-conditioned halls, things start getting a little harder.
So I birthed an idea, a to-be last-minute solution that could, however, also potentially spawn more opportunities. I decided to take to Twitter and simply ask if anybody would like to have any help on their booth. After all, I’m pretty much a local, and while Media-day and the first public day are mostly held in english, the weekend would see an influx of people defaulting to german, with lackluster english skills, if any. Thanks to my buddy Thomas Faust‘s network, I got into contact with Goblinz Studio, guys from France with a knack for Turn-Based-Strategy and Dungeoncrawling. A match made in heaven! We talked, and it clicked; I would be going to Gamescom, and the guys would have help on the booth, keeping an eye on things when everyone was busy with appointments and by having a local to engage people. Everything worked out smoothly and I am definitely considering doing this again next year, if anyone would like to have me.
That all being said, I learned a couple things as well:
- There is not really that much rigid scheduling on Booth(s) other than Press Appointments. Want to take a break or roam around for a bit? So long as there’s people left at the booth its not really much of a problem. This may differ for people, but it is a prime opportunity for devs to connect and catch up as well, isn’t it? I feel like rigid scheduling might hurt those processes.
- While there was some foot traffic even on Media Day, Tuesday should be fine to ‘take off’ so to speak since the booth is manned anyways. Ideal time to roam around yourself as a voluntary helper.
- If I am going to help out somewhere again next year, I plan on not asking around last minute, but before the big ‘We take appointments now’ wave rolls along to make sure I know what I’ll be attending as and planning a couple meetings myself.
- The obvious one: Make sure I take some vacation days during Gamescom week. Having had to do actual work on Tuesday evening cost me a chance to reconnect with people.
- See if I can’t make it to a party or two. I know enough people to probably get in somewhere.
Also, exhibiting at Gamescom (or any other Convention, for that matter) is quite tiring. The void that is days One and Two after Gamescom is also something to not think of lightly, at least in my humble opinion, and I was not really prepared for that but I guess that comes with experience.
Last, but not least, no matter how hard you try, you will miss information if you’re on the floor all week. There simply is no chance to keep up with all of the twittering of announcements, official announcement posts, exclusive ‘scoops’, streams and so on. If you are attending even just on a 3-day Trade- or Press-Pass, you’ll have a lot of catching up to do not just for (new) contacts, but also for all the stuff you missed. And there is going to be a lot.