Gadget Show Live, held in Birmingham, is an annual convention dedicated to all things technical; from car stereo systems to high-end gaming computers, GSL has it all. In previous years, just the experience of visiting the Gaming Zone was worth the cost of a ticket, so how did things compare this year?
Photo: Alistair Walker.
The 2013 experience was undeniably scaled down, but this shrinkage came with a renewed focus on video games, as opposed to peripheral gadgetry. Visitors to the show had unlimited access to consoles running some of the most recent and upcoming releases. The titles ranged from BioShock Infinite, released back in March, to sci fi MMORPG Defiance (which launched on the first day of the show) and movie tie-in Star Trek, released this week.
If you haven’t already bought BioShock Infinite, it’s in every way a worthy successor to the original, as our five star review suggests. Perhaps you’ve already played BioShock 1 & 2, or perhaps not, but the series is a renowned one and the latest addition has certainly met the expectations of fans.
Next up, the Codemasters crew were on-site to show off their latest racing release, Grid 2. With five years having passed since the original Race Driver: Grid, the new kid on the block is making up for lost time by featuring a host of real-world locations and an overhauled handling system. Whether these elements will make Grid 2 a must-have racing title is yet to be seen, so all eyes will be on Codemasters come May 31st.
For the fans of the sci fi genre, there was Defiance, a third-person shooter based upon a TV series of the same name. While some might suggest this is nothing more than a game designed to ‘cash in’ on a TV series, the game is actually a really immersive experience; landscapes are vastly detailed and even the most wavering fans of the genre will get a kick out of gameplay. At the end of the day, Defiance ticks a lot of boxes for gamers, especially with its detailed co-op elements.
In terms of game releases, last but certainly not least were Capcom’s offerings, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen; Remember Me; and Resident Evil: Revelations. The dark horse of the show was Remember Me, a futuristic exploration based game with a high-concept plot that concentrates on altering other people’s memories.
Photo: Alistair Walker.
Returning from 2012 were Turtle Beach and, emblematic of gadget culture’s uncomfortable undercurrent of sexism and gendered exclusivity, Boys Stuff. A particular highlight was the arrival of a ‘lazy boy’ style recliner to the UK gaming market. Who knows, maybe these will be a centrepiece of every dedicated gamer’s set up in years to come, but even the uniqueness of this product wasn’t enough to grab the attention of every gamer in attendance. No, that honour went to Alienware, whose promotional team were out in force to show off the brand’s latest desktop and laptop gaming systems.
Looking back to previous years, gaming PCs are the field in which the Gaming Zone has always stood out. While we may have been made to wait almost a decade for the next generation of consoles, gaming PCs are always moving with the times, as current technology and futuristic game development go hand in hand. Nothing quite compares to a high-end gaming PC, and the Alienware Aurora was able to do justice to anything thrown at it. Hopefully someday the cost of these machines will come down to reflect the needs of the typical gamer, but if you’ve got the money, Alienware will always have something to bowl you over with.
Although with slightly fewer big attractions this time around, GSL 2013 has given us a great summary of the gaming calendar for this half of 2013. Now we get to look forward to Gadget Show Live 2014, with Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles set to attract the masses.