If you are planning on going to GamesCom, then we have a few quick tips to give you.
Try and get a VIP ticket.
Months before the actual event, a raffle is held to determine where the VIP tickets go. Sign up for this. The VIP tickets will allow you to attend the Wednesday opening which is reserved for Press and Industry professionals. This alone will be worth the ticket! You may not be able to see everything in a day but you get to knock those “must see” games off your list.
Know Your Tickets.
If you buy your tickets online, you will receive a PDF to download and print. This PDF has two stubs on it, the large stub is not the admittance to the GamesCom as you would think but actually the ticket for the public transport for the day which is free with this stub. The smaller ticket is then your ticket for getting into GamesCom. This is the single barcode ticket you can see on the right. When you get there, this is what you scan at the entrance stalls.
GamesCom is very particular on age restricted content, as such, each attendee is given a colour coded wristband for each age group. Red is 18+, Blue 16+ and Green 12+, this can be attained from special tents set up before you get into the actual buildings. They will check proof of age, so make sure you bring proof of age. (Drivers license, Passport, Student Card, etc.)
Bring a Camp Chair
If you do not attain a VIP ticket or fast pass ticket, then prepare for a lot of hanging around. Our experience on Day 1 was a 3+ hour long queue for The Division. At this point we just gave up and left to view other things. But if we had two of this suckers, on the right, we would have camped down for the time. Everything had a queue. There was nothing in all 10 halls that you were not waiting for.
Planning and Pre-booking.
When we saw, to our delight, that the project Morpheus was there, we went and stood in line, only to be told that all times were booked out for all the days. This was when we realized that it wasn’t a simple thing of turning up for things, but things had to be planned. We were lucky with the Oculus Rift, that all the bookings were done from Thursday on. So we were able to book ourselves in for the Saturday. It is important that if there is something you are really looking forward to at GamesCom, check up the developers website. If you can’t find any info, don’t be afraid to email them and find out directly. They might not respond but it is always worth the shot.
Plan your Food.
Unsurprisingly, food at the event can cost a pretty penny. If you are so inclined, then I would suggest visiting a Rewe (local grocery chain) the night before and bringing your own food. (Also they have an amazing apple pastry that you should try if you have a chance). To give you an idea of prices we were paying 3 euros for an ice-cream that sells for 1.50 somewhere else, or for lunch we paid about 30 euro for two lunches which was pricey for what we got (A plate of chips was 4 euro).
Know Your Queues
Queuing can be a little odd. It is a little disorganized as a lot of queues don’t have a system set up, just a “Queue here” location and no one monitoring it. Any free space is going to be free game for someone trying to save 90 minutes without regard for those who have already been there for as long. Also expect people who will out right cut in line by striking a “friendly” conversation with those already up the front of the queue. People are crazy.
Although Queuing can be frustrating at times, it can be a great opportunity to meet people from around the world. Not everyone will speak your language fluently, but this is Gamescom– so chances are they will know some level of English. Knowing some basic phrases in German will help though so it doesn’t hurt to learn a few like:
“Where is the …” is “Wo ist die ….” so you can say stuff like :
Wo ist die Toilette?
For more travel phrases check this out.
It also helps when you are NOT at GamesCom and are just running about the city =)
The bottom line is that you should maximize the fun factor of going to Gamescom by going with a friend/s and take in the energy and excitement that this event has to offer. With such a huge yearly attendance and countless things to do you will absolutely find something that strikes your fancy– unless you aren’t into game culture– at which point you should be attending any of these festivals instead !