The moon shone through the blanket of darkness, silence filled the air and four beings stumbled up the steps, no longer in control of their own movements. No, this isn’t the start of a horror film but instead describes our very first MCM London Expo experience – a 6:30am train. After dragging our feet through the carriages to our seats, excitement began to set in and all memory of the 5am get-up was forgotten. The team’s biggest yearly outing had arrived once again and it was looking to be fantastic.
Unfortunately half the Cubed Gamers team couldn’t make it, so we grabbed good friends Alex and Alex (yes, getting their individual attention was a difficult task) to take their place – to which they happily agreed. The first cosplayers were spotted as soon as we stepped off the train, causing our excitement levels to get near bursting point. I, dressed as Wally (of Where’s Wally fame), was unfortunately spotted much more than I would have liked throughout the station, with children and adults alike playing the childhood favourite game. Many people complain about getting onto the underground during the busy times, but for us seeing the slow stream of nerds and geeks enter through those cramped doors made it much more enjoyable than the daily work run – those that were traveling looked fairly confused and ever so slightly terrified which amused us all even more.
No matter how many times you set foot in the ExCeL, the atmosphere hits you like a speeding train (straight into your face and resulting in a bloody mess. Okay… so maybe just the first bit) and everyone looks at you as if you’re an old friend they haven’t seen in a while. Even more overwhelming is the main room, with stalls and people as far as the eye can see. The main attraction this year seemed to be the Wii U area (as well as a queue that stretched so far, we couldn’t even find what they were waiting for) where a variety of the most anticipated Nintendo games were available for you to play. It seems as though this year’s gaming avenue was the biggest yet, with a large handful of games to try out – both unreleased and old favourites. If videogames didn’t quite float your boat dozens of tables were set up for card battles and other less technologically advanced games. However, due to the extreme concentration and possible rage, we decided to keep our distance; we’re aware of just how stressful those competitions can be.
Elsewhere were guests to meet, ranging from big screen actors like Warwick Davis to little-known comic artists showing off their new ideas. Each one had a welcoming smile and completely relaxed demeanour, even when no-one was near their table (everybody say aww!) – there were none of these disastrous divas that we always seem to hear about. Unfortunately we didn’t get the opportunity to meet any of the guests (sorry Jeffrey!), but those that did looked as happy as a kid wielding a giant lollipop.
Speaking of lollipops, our ‘healthy’ lunch consisted of snacks from around the world, provided by the all-time-favourite Cyber Candy who were offering free balloons with each purchase. Oh come on, who doesn’t love a balloon… or two? There was so much to see though that we only allowed our aching feet a few minutes break, though it wasn’t all too peaceful with renditions of Gangnam Style surrounding us. It seems like Caramelldansen has finally met its match!
The rest of day one was spent viewing the stalls placed strategically around the room – and by strategically we mean creating tiny walkways in which to cram large handfuls of people all at the same time. However, we can’t complain as it meant there was a stall for absolutely everything from kitchen items to underwear and the delicious smelling Japanese food area. We were reluctant to buy anything on the Saturday though; everything looked so desirable, but we weren’t made of money (if I was, I would have definitely blown it on the corsets and swords, costing around £60 each). This does raise the question for con goers – just how much money do you bring to these things?! People were walking around with bags full of collector’s items, it was crazy!
With day one over we made our way back to the hotel and (after a lovely meal in Piccadilly Circus) promptly collapsed on the beds, dead to the world.
Day two was much more relaxed, especially as an hour or so was spent sat on a cold floor with hundreds of other earlier arrivals, rooting through our complementary goodie bags. We started off with shopping, haggling our way forward as much as possible, stopping for a brief lunch – again just as healthy as the day before – before shopping once more. After we’d finally spent all the money we could, without taking out a loan from the lovely bank people, we decided to rest up near the stage where people were getting up to sing their favourite songs or, in the case of one person, play an awesome drum solo very, very loudly. The great thing about this was that the ordinary people were displayed to everyone while the famous people were hidden in the theatres by thick, black curtains. The crowd was more than supportive too – none of this karaoke embarrassment everyone feels down the pub, instead everyone was getting up to sing or dance along beside them with a huge round of applause after everything. Something tells me they would have clapped if I’d sat on stage and burped, but that was the beauty of the atmosphere.
After countless hugs and chats with complete strangers, the team was getting tired and so we headed back to the train where we spent two hours sat on the carriage floor playing Sopio – one of the best card games I have ever come across.
All in all MCM Expo London was an incredible experience and we’ll definitely be showing our faces again soon, despite being completely strapped for cash! If you’ve never attended something like this I strongly urge you to as our very own con-virgin (Alex R) can’t stop expressing how much he loved the whole weekend.
Now excuse me but I must collapse in bed for the next week; all this excitement is far too tiring!