On September 29, 2007, Budapest, Hungary hosted its the first, and hopefully (and probably) not last gaming event. Microsoft, Electronic Arts and CD Projekt finally worked up the courage to do what no company has dared before: bring a western-style gaming event to a country where pirated games are king.
The event started a bit late, due to a power shortage. But once it opened, four or five hundred zerglings rushed up to be the first ones to try out the games on display. I walked around and took note what was going on. Halo 3, DiRT, Project Gotham Racing 4, Kane and Lynch, Crackdown, Guitar Hero II, Timeshift, Moto GP 07, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, FIFA 08, Call of Duty 4 and World in Conflict were all playable. Guitar Hero II, FIFA 08, PGR 4 and DiRT featured organized contests, where the two finalists faced off on the movie theater screen and won all sorts of prizes. It was a good thing for them that I’m such a humble guy and didn’t sign up for anything, preventing their utter humiliation.
The games that were shown, were presented in a movie theater. Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer Beta, PGR4, Halo 3, Medal of Honor: Airborne, FIFA 08, Bioshock, World in Conflict, and The Witcher all got 15-20 minutes on an enormous movie theater screen, commentated by publishers or members of the Hungarian gaming press. The presentations were even worth watching for games I’d played myself, as the guys playing and commentating gave a new, humorous look at them. And it was definitely worth watching presentations of games I knew little about, like the PC RPG The Witcher. During FIFA 08‘s presentation, Xbox themed green soccer balls were even handed out. Unfortunately, due to poor lighting, I could not take many decent quality pictures, but you can check out a few of PGR4‘s menu.
The event only lasted six hours, but it was totally worth attending, despite a few technical hiccups. I would like to thank Microsoft, EA, and CD Projekt for being brave and actually doing something for the previously nonexistent Hungarian scene. Some people trashed Microsoft, saying that this was just a blatant propaganda event on Microsoft’s part. It’s evident that it was, and so what? Where was Nintendo? Where was Sony? Nowhere. Microsoft deserves all the praise it gets for the event, and my hat it off to them. Let’s hope that next year even more developers and companies will be here, to please the much neglected Hungarian gamers.