True Gaming surprised a lot of people still somewhat sour from the events of Sony Gamer’s Day 2012 by announcing TGXPO 2012 just a scant two months after it.
The three day event took place at the MENA Grand Khaldia hotel, a somewhat odd choice given its location in one of Riyadh’s older shopping districts. Entry required purchasing a physical ticket for every day of entry at a nominal fee. The game line-up consisted mostly of already released games, but there were promised demos of DmC, Metal Gear Rising, Gears of War Judgment, Lost Planet 3 and Fable: The Journey. Nintendo was sadly absent this year. The tournaments this time around were for Halo 4 and FIFA 13, and there was an additional challenge event where people could register to fight EVO player Abdullatif Al-Hamli aka Razer Latif in Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition for a chance to win an Xbox 360.
The first thing I noticed upon entry on the first day is that I wasn’t wading through a sea of people like the last two times. The floor was spacious and there weren’t enormous crowds of people. Everything was going smoothly apart from the fact that Gears of War Judgment and Lost Planet 3 were conspicuously absent. Some legitimate talent from the east and west coast of the kingdom tried their hand against Latif, but the man who once beat Daigo walked away with the win every time.
I spent the second day mostly sitting down with Latif and making pleasant small talk. The third day was mostly chilling with the floor staff over matches of Street Fighter X Tekken which was on display for some reason. Once again I couldn’t attend the cosplay contest due to circumstances but it still showcased the same level of talent as last year, including a very nice Auron costume and the return of Frank West.
Overall, I had fun at this expo. Personally I found that it lacked a bit of oomph with regards to guests and events but it’s still an improvement over last year and a step in the right direction for conventions in the Kingdom.
But wait, there’s more! I caught up with True Gaming founder Mohammed Albsimi and asked a few questions. Here’s a paraphrasing of the interview:
How long was TGXPO 2012 in planning?
We’ve been planning it since the end of the first one last year. We had initially promised to hold the event on October in the Riyadh Exhibition Center (RICEC) or at the Faisliyah hotel failing that. However, scheduling conflicts with Sony Gamer’s Day and a few other circumstances forced us to delay by a few months.
What do you think went wrong with Sony Gamer’s Day and how did that affect planning for TGXPO?
Sony advertised the event a little too publicly, and that attracted the attention of the wrong crowds. We took careful note of the mistakes made there and did everything we could to circumvent them
Was the location (an out of the way district) and date (which coincided with many students having final exams) a deliberate decision?
It was completely a matter of circumstance.
Were there plans to get more guests who worked in the games industry?
SGD set a bad precedent for bringing foreign guests to gaming conventions here, but next year we should be able to bring back high profile industry veterans as well as have more interactive panels.
Similar to last year, TGXPO seems to suffer from having game lineups that are mostly already released on the market as opposed to upcoming. Are publishers being difficult with regards to providing playable demos? Additionally, what happened to games that were promised but didn’t show up like Gears of War Judgment and Lost Planet 3?
The publishers aren’t actually a problem. I believe we had a respectable selection of upcoming games for TGXPO 2011. As for this year, most of the games on display actually were unreleased back in October, but obviously the two month delay wasn’t something we could easily adapt to in terms of the lineup. As for the missing games, the matter was out of our hands. The Lost Planet 3 demo unit that we were sent experienced technical issues and wouldn’t work, while the Gears of War Judgment demo was being held by customs.
Where was Computer House?
Computer House’s participation this year was limited to only being our ticket vendor.
Where was Nintendo?
Nintendo was actually planning to display the Wii U at TGXPO but ran into trouble with their corporate headquarters due to not having settled on a release date for the console.
Special thanks to Mohammed Albsimi, Adel Bajunaid and the rest of the TG staff for making this happen and I wish them the best of luck on future conventions.
Tried to take a photo with Mohammed but my light sensitive eyes derped out. Still worth it to show off my custom t-shirt.