Monday, November 5, 2007

Review: Northern Digital Expo (NDEX 2007)

I heard about this event on the radio last Thursday on the way home from work and I became so excited. The instant I walked in the door, I started looking up information about it. The website made it sound awesome, possibly better than the World Series of Video Games that happened a few months ago. I never had a chance to go to that either but I thought the NDEX would make up for it. Boy, were we sorely disappointed...

The website said admission is $12.50. I must've failed to read the fine print because it is actually $15. After being soured by the slightly higher cost than expected, I had hope to be sweetened once I walked through the front doors to see all the glory of video-gaming & larger-than-life demos. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that you can take in the entire expo area in one sweep of the eyes and the collective heart of me, roommate & bf just sank. I'm not saying it was just 10 guys, 10 booths in a 50' X 50' room. There were some good-looking displays, flashing lights, a main stage, game demos, etc. BUT...Of the big 3 consoles out there right now, only 2 were represented: Wii & Xbox 360. There's something wrong with that!

There was a lot of "coverage" for Guitar Hero 3 & Halo 3 as they are the higher profile games right now. Halo & Gears of War were the featured games for the MLG Pro competitions. The MLG stadium (which was pretty nice) & tournament areas took up a good half of the show floor. The Nintendo booth had 6 Wiis on demo but all the games were at least 2 months old, nothing I haven't seen. I like video games but I'm not so avid a gamer that I know everything that's coming out in the next 6 months. For me to have seen and even played all the games on demo? Wow! LAAAAME! They had a few DS's on demo too, I didn't even bother with those. That booth's saving grace was the fact that they were handing out free iron-on Nintendo character t-shirts or customized Mii t-shirts. But even that, the iron-ons were kind of ugly because the clear parts were not pre-trimmed so you end up with this dirty-white misshapen rectangle with a colorful character in the middle on an office-A4-paper-white tee . Whatever, it was free.

A large part of the expo floor was taken up by 2 Ford cars on display. Ford is the title sponsor so sure, give them their space but it was pretty unrelated to video games. One of the cars had a video system built in so guys were always sitting in there playing racing games but that is so 2002, we need a bit more innovation than that. The cooler looking car, a retro-racing blue white & orange painted Ford GT was locked, so you couldn't even sit in it or anything. I would say the 360 booth was the most appealing. It took up almost a sixth of the entire expo floor. They had a mini-stage built, 2 consoles for GH3, 2 more arcade-style consoles in front of those for more GH3. Then off to one side they had about 20-25 arcade demo consoles for various games, new & old. Zellers had a stupid mini store set up with cheap MLG shirts, console accessories, batteries? and others . It was the ugliest thing I've ever seen next to an actual Zellers store. It was a shameful display, truly. What else was there now?

Oh I know...NOT MUCH! I agree that the delay in us heading down to the CNE resulting in us missing the latter rounds of the GH3 competition and the slight detour we ended up taking when trying to look for parking added to this negative review. Bf was so bitter & disappointed, he was just in a mood to blame me for wasting our money and for dragging us down to this "thing". It made me kind of annoyed but I kept my mouth shut and we ended up not participating much. I missed the open free play on the main stage for GH3 because of us dicking around NOT playing any demos so they set up the stage for a live band performance. I ended up just playing with roommate at the 360 stage, but we didn't even "go on stage". That would've been a good rush, to play a stranger and totally rock them or both of us killing the song!

So all in all NDEX 2007 was a waste of time & money. When we left, we snuck into the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair next door as they were shutting down for the night. For the 20 minutes that we roamed about, things were actually way more interesting. There were giant mutant vegetables and cattle of all shapes & sizes: fuzzy ones, lean ones, tall ones, you name it! We missed the Eukanuba Superdogs show but saw a lot of nice doggies as they were heading home. Even though the entire place stank of cow shit it was refreshing! (The sights, not the shit.)

Next year, I am definitely going to Fan Expo & WSVG instead of this. OR, if they were smarter, MLG would just amalgamate with WSVG. We don't need 2 different circuits for video gaming, yet. Maybe in another 10 years.

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