GO3 2008: A Reader’s Report

go3_rock.jpgAugust 1-3 saw GO3 land at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre. According to the official (and rather flashy) website, GO3 is all about the “latest in technology, communication, electronic games, in-car technology, communication, education & training [and]home audio”. Sadly, Perth isn’t the most accessible place in the world and, as such, the event remains a mystery to me.

Not to worry, as reader Theodore suggests this is probably a good thing. In fact, he was kind enough to offer his reporting services to document the event, even though it turned out to be rather unexciting. If you’d like to have a read and view some photos, just hit the jump.

As an aside, if you’re in a position to attend an event or see something super-special or gaming related and would like to write about it, let me know!Click here to check out the Picasa gallery.

By Samuel Spencer (Theodore)

When GO3 promised to bring an E3 killer to Perth at a time when E3 appeared on a downward slope, I was excited. But then a friend of mine reminded me that we were too far from anywhere to even make half of the claims of Go3 true. As last year’s GO3 crept up and vanished with barely a blip on the radar, even here in Perth, I knew he was right. So I went along this year to see if it could improve on its previous performance, and I can say without doubt, it didn’t.

I’ll be honest with you – I never got a chance to get to last year’s GO3. The entry fee was too much for what I knew it was going to be and the conferences that were to be held in conjunction with the expo were far, far too expensive to make it worthwhile.

The first thing that stood out this year was the lack of big names. None of the big console manufacturers were there, and what games were on display were mostly promoted by the various local gaming and PC shops. Nokia was there and it was showing off its new N-Gage, and some of the games looked good, but nothing big enough to headline the show with.

There were a few games being show off, but there was really not that much to get excited about. Two booths were set up playing Soul Calibur IV, which was cool. The game played well, and playing as Yoda certainly brings a fun side to the game, but it’s already out and the only reason I stopped by was that I’d yet to pick up a copy.

The same can be said of Rock Band, which although it hasn’t been released here, has been out long enough that all the people I know who want it have already imported it. I spoke with the guy manning the booth and he was underwhelmed by the whole set up, and with the fact Rock Band 2 is due out here around the time as the first instalment.

As for new titles, Midnight Club had a few screens set up to play, a handful of Rockstar merchandise and a pimped-out car, and that was it for the big games. Besides this, there were very few games being shown off – sure there were games, but they were there to display lounge room settings or “total immersion kits” – which are basically vibrating chairs with speakers next to them.

The rest of the stalls were very lacklustre; there were about five PC gaming booths, a few promoting local universities and technical colleges, a Vodafone store pimping out the iPhone and paintball and laser-tag booths trying to convince geeks to get up and run around with toy guns and live out there gaming fantasies. To be fair, the uni booths did display some of the games made in-house by students and in that regard they were good, but when you put them in the same room as Soul Calibur IV… it really didn’t help their case.

What stood out most was that GO3 hasn’t found a niche. There was nothing there that a gaming fan wouldn’t have seen or heard about, or even imported already, which when you are trying to promote a gaming expo is a problem. Go3 wasn’t really promoted outside of the gaming or technical community so the numbers were quite low (just under 700 patrons when I arrived at 4PM).

After GO3, I can’t say that there is much chance of seeing a gaming expo in Perth again for quite a while.


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