• Paul Fingleton

PlayersXpo 2017: A great family event for Gamers of all ages

"Gaming, Not Queueing" is what PlayersXpo promised when it was announced earlier this year and they delivered. For this weekend it was all about the games. The Convention Centre in Dublin was transformed into a gamers paradise on Saturday and Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend. Banks of PlayStations, Xboxes and networked PCs were joined by classic consoles. To highlight that gamers are not just about computers, there was a sizeable section for tabletop gaming.

There were plenty of things to do and lots of room to do them. It was generally easy to get onto a console or PC to play a game within a few minutes if someone was already on the particular game you wanted - anyone familiar with an old games arcade would have remembered calling 'next' for a machine and the same rules applied. If you didn't want to wait you could easily head over to another station and come back later, there was always something to do.

Some of our highlights of the show floor were Future Shock showing off details for their new Virtual Reality game centre in Smithfield.

John Romero took on all-comers in a 16-player deathmatch of Doom 2

In the theme of the Retro corner of the floor, where old consoles and classic games were all hooked up and playable, there was perhaps the biggest and best nostalgia and retro moment: John Romero, the godfather for 3D FPS gaming and responsible for several id Games biggest titles like Doom and Quake, was on hand and played multiplayer Doom 2 with anyone who felt brave enough to take a shot at the guy who literally invented the genre.

The show had always been billed as a family-friendly event and the second floor had plenty to keep the younger attendee entertained: Rows of consoles with almost every Lego game imaginable playable along with Overwatch tournaments for all ages, lots of parents entering with their children on the cartoony and yet fiendishly addictive team-based shooter.

Call of Duty was on hand and cleverly boxed off in an Over 18's only area, so younger eyes didn't get to see something they shouldn't. A gaming convention wouldn't be complete without Cosplayers being on-hand and they turned out in force this weekend.

The only big cloud that was cast over the event was to convince people that this event was nothing to do with the troubled GamerCon event that took place earlier this year. The bad taste left in the mouth of some families and gamers from that event led to smaller than anticipated turnout on the Saturday. However, organisers of PX2017 even went so far as to offer free entry to anyone with a valid GamerCon ticket to help show what a well-run gaming convention in Dublin could look like. Overall this was a very well organised and seriously fun event and we would be encouraged by the quality of production and number of consoles and systems available. Hopefully, we can look forward to PlayersXpo 2018 and that some of the big publishers and studios take note: Ireland loves gaming