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.