The PC Gamer Showdown

If you’re going to go to one gaming event this year, then you should probably go to the one that we’re going to be at. It’s the PC Gamer Showdown, a huge PC gaming exhibition and BYOC event which is being held at Stoneleigh Park in the UK, on 27th and 28th of September. Serious gamer types will be there to win money playing Team Fortress 2 (£15,000), Counter-Strike: Source (£10,000), Call of Duty 4 (£5,000), and World In Conflict (£5,000). The rest of you will be there to see Dawn Of War 2, and to play Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, Mercenaries 2 and, er, Facebreaker, as well as anything else we fancy. There will also be beer, and some kind of PC gaming luminary panel. Exciting! Kieron and I will be there, and Kieron is team captain in the panel event thing. More details on that next week, probably.

Day tickets are £7.50 and the BYOC weekend ticket is £60.

I had a little chat with PC Gamer editor Ross “The Boss” Atherton about the event, and you can read that after the jump.

RPS: What on Earth possessed you to set up some kind of PC gaming event where real people will be and stuff?

Atherton: We don’t want to just be a magazine, peering out at the world from our ivory gaming tower. We know that today’s gamers do more than just play alone – LAN events, where hundreds of gamers get together to play, socialise and compete, are increasing in popularity. However, there aren’t actually that many great LANs. In fact, Multiplay are the only people who do big gaming events in the UK with any panache, which is why we’ve teamed up with them to put on our first PC Gamer Showdown. Oh – and it’ll be great fun. The Showdown is split into two parts: the bring-your-own-computer LAN bit, where you can use our super-fast network to play anything you want all weekend; and the exhibition side, where we’ll have some very exciting forthcoming games to play, stuff to see, various entertainments, and other stuff. If you can’t come for the whole weekend, there are day tickets available which give access to the exhibition side.

RPS: Is PC gaming really as social as all that? I thought we were supposed to be hidden away sniffing old biscuits in an attic somewhere?

Atherton: Sure, every PC gamer secretly loves to spend the odd evening in his pants playing games alone. But the great thing about PC gaming has always been its diversity; the huge number of different games and types of game – and now we’ve got different ways to play, too. There’s nothing quite like playing competitive games in the midst of a huge crowd, and the atmosphere when it comes to the finals, with thousands of pounds at stake, will be something else. So many games today are designed for team competition, and a big LAN is the perfect venue for this – rocking up with a few mates to take on all comers at Team Fortress 2 or Counter-Strike feels like some kind of Clockwork Orange ultraviolence for the 21st century… but with fewer jockstraps.

RPS: What pleasures can people expect to indulge in at the event?

Atherton: We’ve got £35,000 at stake across TF2, CSS, Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict – although our online prequalifying tournaments are under way already, you can still sign up to play in these tourneys at the event itself. The winners of the prequalifiers get free tickets and a bye to a later round at the event. Those who don’t rate their skills so highly will be able to play anything the hell they want on our superfast LAN – there’s a local Steam server to ensure things are speedy. We’ll have impromptu mini-tournaments in any game enough people want to play. And then there’s the exhibition side.

RPS :And there will be proper grown up new games there too…

Atherton: Left 4 Dead is the one we’re all most excited about. It’s got to be the most anticipated shooter this year, and everyone who’s been lucky enough to play it so far has just gibbered madly. Valve are bringing it to our Showdown on a four-PC mini-LAN, so this is the first time it’ll be playable in the UK. We’ll also have Dawn of War 2, Mirror’s Edge and a whole bunch more we can’t confirm yet.

RPS: Anything else you’d like to tell the PC Britons? (And are foreigners allowed?)

Atherton: Foreigners are most certainly allowed, though there will be enforced warm-beer-drinking and compulsory reminiscing about the good old days of the Empire. But seriously… Yes, I know we already have some folks coming from overseas and more are welcome. But most of all I’m hoping that our readers will just enjoy themselves, whether they come for the whole weekend of gaming debauchery or just for a couple of hours to have a quick play on Left 4 Dead. That’s our only goal: to have a successful event where everyone has fun.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    Don’t diss my old biscuit collection.

  2. ImperialCreed says:

    Here’s hoping it’s an annual thing going forward, I missed the boat this year. Best of luck to all of you while you’re there.

  3. Kieron Gillen says:

    Whatcha mean “missed the boat?”. There’s a month to go, Imperial Creed.


  4. Gap Gen says:

    Shame it’s a BYOC, as I have no car and my PC is quite heavy. Maybe a rent-a-PC scheme could work?

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    You can also go for the expo, £7.50.

  6. KBKarma says:

    Same issue with me: My PC is an old XPS Gen 5. As a result, it’s about a third my height and a quarter of my weight (I think), so I can barely carry it out the door, let alone across the Irish Sea. And that’s not counting mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

    Also, I have nowhere to stay.

  7. The_B says:

    I may go just for the expo, due to lack of being able to actually bring my own computer. However, I have a cunning plan involving a sleeping bag, the bar and lots of hiding to ensure I stay the entire weekend, just as long as I don’t go spilling my elobrate plan on some gaming blogs comment section…


  8. Philip says:

    Ah, bugger. I’m on holiday then. Would have otherwise been there (I only live about 15 minutes away).

    Did attend the Multiplay event at the same venue a couple of weeks ago, albeit in an unintentional way. I was helping with the archery “experience” outside, and didn’t realise it was a gaming event until the day before! Some good exhibits, although every single one of them seemed to have a liquid nitrogen-cooling rig they were overclocking heavily. Some more imagination please people! :-P

  9. Mooey Poo says:

    I’m going to build a car with a top-end PC built in to it. Only problem is I can’t drive. I’ll just have to push it all the way from Bodmin.

  10. Seniath says:

    I’m toying with the idea of taking a few days off work and dragging a friend down with me, but we shall see…

  11. Ging says:

    I’m tempted to go along for the expo – can’t be arsed lugging my pc all the way over there. Mainly so I can shout abuse at the writer types for not interviewing me yet, because, well, I’m awesome.

  12. brog says:

    Wah! I got a surprise when I looked up this “Stoneleigh Park” place and it’s all “Coventry, Warwickshire”. Turns out that’s where I live these days. Since it’s so damn convenient, I think I will definitely be coming, at least for the expo.

  13. Ghiest says:

    Attending, also playing in either Tf2 or Cod4 (hopefully) tournaments. Should be good i think.

  14. MichaelJHoward says:

    Hopefully the expo bit will be better than the Mutliplay event, It sounds like it will.

    Apart from the EA stand (who were the only games company there), where the same people camped on one of the dozen PCs all day, there wasn’t a lot of diversity. Every other stand was showing one of COD4, Grid, or Guitar Hero 3.

  15. Pod says:

    If I were to go, it’d be purely to stroke the many beards of the Bath and exBathites.

  16. KBKarma says:

    @Pod: The Bathyspheres, surely? :D

  17. Bursar says:

    Forgive the stupid question…. does BYOC also mean ‘bring your own monitor’ or are they available on site?

  18. Ging says:

    Bursar: normally you have to take everything you need for your pc to function, some of the bigger i events have included some equipment rental in the past, but I wouldn’t bet on it!

  19. Ian says:

    If only I lived somewhere convenient. :(

    What we need is a PC Gamer roadshow.

  20. Mr Peckerston says:

    We (wotr2 (those guys that hang out on the PCG TF2 server way too much)) were going to enter the TF2 tournament, as we were told all teams that made it through the online qualifiers would get free tickets. However, it was changed at the last minute so only the top 2 teams in the world get free tickets, and anyone can enter the PCGS competition without bothering with the ‘qualifiers’.

    The fact that tickets to the 2-day event are £76 including camping, compared to i35’s £64 3-day tickets, doesn’t help either, so we’re going to have to skip it this year. Good luck to the main wotr team in the TF2 tournament though :)

  21. ImperialCreed says:

    Cost of the expo isn’t an issue for me – it’s the travel from Ireland. I’ve just bought a new PC, new car, a mint boxed copy of System Shock 2 and I’ve got 200quid’s worth of games to buy in the next month. Oh, and I move house on the 28th of September. So I’m caught out.

    Bummed I’m going to be missing it (espc w/KG and co. doing the panel). At the very least I owe you RPS heads a drink for all the linkage you’ve sent my way. Still, play some L4D for me eh?

  22. KBKarma says:

    How far are you from Holyhead, Imperial? I’m close, but have to resort to Dublin’s “excellent” public transport. And I wouldn’t trust ’em with my PC.

  23. Switch625 says:

    *jaw drops* I’ve always wanted to go to a proper PC Gaming event but they’re always in London or America or somewhere.

    This is _on my way to work_ and about 5 minutes away from where I live. Woohoo!

  24. ImperialCreed says:

    @KBKarma: I’m a southerner. If I could go I’d probably drive and get the ferry (roadtrip ftw). As it is, it’s just not financially or physically possible for me this year. On the plus side, I get a new house to live in.

  25. Dood says:

    Isn’t it supposed to be World IN Conflict?

  26. KBKarma says:

    @Imperial: Southside, or South Ireland? If the latter, than I can definitely see the problem wrt the trip up to the ferry.

    Congrats on the house, anyway.

  27. ImperialCreed says:

    Oh South Ireland! South West really.

  28. KBKarma says:

    Cork then, I presume.

    Lovely place, Cork. I’ve spent some time in Other Realms and at Warpcon.

  29. ImperialCreed says:

    Presume away ;)

  30. KBKarma says:

    Well, it’s a safe enough bet. Cork takes up most of the south-west coast.

    … OK, my mistake. I thought Cork had a bigger south-west coastline than it does. I thus retract my previous presumtion, and now presume Kerry.

  31. Bongob says:

    Alas, likewise, would love to be there but can’t make it this time.

    Here’s hoping This Sort Of Thing happens on a regular and none-too-sparsely-spaced basis. It would do us good. We’d only be off mugging wildlife otherwise.

  32. Erlam says:

    “Sure, every PC gamer secretly loves to spend the odd evening in his pants playing games alone.”

    Does that mean the rest of the time we don’t wear pants? ;)

    Sounds like a good event. Always wanted to go to one, but you know, being Canadian and all.. we are rather shunned.

  33. Evan says:

    Hey folks! Evan from PC Gamer US here — just wanted to share a link for our US version of Showdown that’s goin’ down in September. We’ve got three events between Illinois, California, and Massachusetts. Check it out here:

    link to

  34. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Erlam, I think he meant JUST pants ;)

    Oh, and if you Canadians are like the Americans – we mean underpants when we say pants! And while we’re on the subject of amusing regional variation, fanny doesn’t mean bum. Oh no. Dark Iron Fanny packs *girly giggle*.

    I will certainly be coming along to this, it’s not too far from where I live. Can’t wait!

  35. Butler` says:

    I wish someone would make a decent competitive game in order to actually bring people to LANs. :[

    CS1.7 will do nicely.

  36. Simon Jones says:

    Mmmm, interesting. I was reading about this just the other day and I’m really quite tempted to go along and attempt to behave like a real journalist, to see where that gets me. There’s only so much game blogging I can do from the safety of my house, after all! Time to get my hands dirty.

    Kieron / Jim – any news on when this panel will take place? I’ll most likely only be able to make it for one of the days and don’t want to miss anything crucial. :)

  37. Mike says:

    Needs more cosplay.

  38. Dean says:

    What Simon said (heh). I was actually quite excited about this, as I’m moving back to Leamington in September. But I don’t care about LAN gaming and am not lugging my PC anywhere, so when I saw the ticket price I gave up.
    But £7.50 for a day ticket to the expo makes a massive difference.