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Gadget Show Live: Gaming Guide

Gadget Show Live, the TV program's yearly exhibition of all things high-tech - including gaming - is in full swing at NEC Birmingham. If you're heading along this weekend (or are curious about what's on) here's what's on show.

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Trade Hall 9

The Show takes up several halls of Birmingham's NEC, and even with huge walkways, it's likely to be rammed over this weekend. While it mixes the latest tech in the fields of photography, PCs, driving and everything in-between, if you're looking for the video-games contribution, you'll need to swing down to Hall 9, where the Game Section sprawls over half the space.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
The game section occupies the front section as you pass between the divide of Halls 8 and 9 - note we were there on the Trade-Only day this week - hence the lack of bodies!

Something For All

As you'd expect from a series that covers a wide range of products, even the Game Section is a cocktail of delights. While the current gen of games are represented by sizeable stands from Microsoft, 2K, Codemasters and more, there's contributions from PC hardware designers, arcade cabinet manufacturers, retro enthusiasts, audio specialists - all of whom have products on sale with mark-downs exclusive to the show floor.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
From blinged out Alienware laptops to AC/DC inspired Pinball machines - there's plenty to get your hands on.
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
The section hosts both retro-styled classics with arcade cabinets [left], and EA's current crop of big hitters [right]

Racing Specials

You'll find them in the games section, but a surprising number of other booths dotted through the show also carry racing setups to demo equipment. Car fans can try race tracks while strapped in to rumbling chairs, Formula 1 car replicas, three-screen setups and of course, 3D TVs.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Buried in Hall 8 is a replica F1 car on LG's stand, letting you try out Codemasters F1 title in a way that's much closer to the real thing.
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
But LG aren't the only ones with racing setups: vibrating chairs, three-way screens and more expensive racing setups are dotted throughout the showfloor.
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Turtle Beach used the racing setup to show off their new headset range [left], while Codemasters brought the destruction with them in the Dirt Showdown stand.

Community Property

Hands-on is the order of the day, as all the game stands have titles up and running for you to try out. While some pods are running titles you've already played before, it's worth sitting in on Epic's talk about Unreal technology, and have a nosy at the ongoing Indigo Jam as games are developed before your very eyes.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Stands invite you to try out their wares - be it testing your swinging prowess in Tiger Woods, or Epic's involvement with the Indigo Jam [above]

Turtle Beach

Located directly behind the Spec-Ops stand as you enter the hall is Turtle Beach's setup. The headset specialist has rigged up a wide range of titles to showcase its different products with Ridge Racer Unbounded, Street Fighter x Tekken and Soul Calibur V all present with different tiers of headsets connected. Pride of place though is the two four-unit mini-theatres bookending the stand, one of which offers hands-on with the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2. As with other retailers, Turtle Beach has show-price sales on its products.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Turtle Beach's stand includes the latest titles from both Capcom and Namco Bandai to try out their headsets with...
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
...which come in multiple flavours and pricing [left], but booths like The Witcher 2 [right] let you see which works for you.

Intermission!

Of course, even a tech-heavy show has a few oddities. While we spotted a mini-Robot Wars-style tournament going on in one stand, and a Power Drill salesman chewing through everything that was put in front of him at another, it was oddball stuff like this - a fish tank/dining table combo, that makes it worth exploring the entire show floor while you're there (we assume they weren't serving sushi).

Gadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Stare at the tank. Lose yourself in the fish tank...the Show also caters for random bits of tech and household wares - the fish tank dinning table caught our eye.

Mad Catz

Arcade stick specialists Mad Catz were touting their latest wares on their stand, with a staggering pile of sticks ready for sale tottering dangerously over their sales bench. But the company also demoed its new line of joypads and headsets - including upcoming Ghost Recon: Future Soldier tie-ins - that you can try out.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Gaming tech warred with actual titles on the show floor. Mad Catz demoed a few new pieces of kit, including its MLG Pro Circuit Pro Controller, letting you swop the D-Pads and stick setups around [right]
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Their stand also debuted Ghost Recon-indorsed kit, including a controller and 7.1 Surround Sound headset.

Going Retro: Part 1

It isn't all about the new at Gadget Show Live, and a bunch of companies upheld the industry's glorious past with some of the best stands of the show. The Centre of Computing History actually has two stands - one you'll find nestled in the right corner of Hall 9 when you enter from Hall 8, and the other all the way at the far end of Hall 7 beside the Ford drive-thru.

The first has a line-up of classic consoles for you to try, but the Hall 7 stand is worth the trip - a timeline-styled trip through gaming's history, with each area of the stand themed by decade, and offering a range of computers to try out. You'll be hearing more about the organisation in the near future on Gamereactor UK.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Retro was favoured with The Centre for Computing History - a UK charity that has two stands at the show. One's in the corner of the game section and hosts a selection of classic consoles [above]...
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
...but most inspiring was the stand at the far end of the hall, where the company had set up different decades worth of gaming - from C64s to PSOnes [above].
Gadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
The show has impressive PC rigs to sate the most tech-savy player...

The Modern-Day Contenders

Of course, if you want new, there's a few must-see games on display. Be it shooters with a new twist via the three-screen setup, or Spec-Ops: The Line and Sniper Elite V2, which are both playable at the show. Find time for Dirt Showdown as well - one of the finest looking racers of this generation. And a pretty amazing stand to boot.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
...a setup used to showcase Sniper Elite V2, sadly only one of two games yet to be released that are present on the floor....
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
- the other being 2K's Spec-Ops: The Line [left], but there was a chance at Microsoft's stand to try some of the just-released titles like Kinect Star Wars [right].

Going Retro: Part 2

Our second retro entry was were we found ourselves gravitating towards repeatedly throughout our day at the show. Buried in the middle of the Game Section is Bespoke Arcades. A series of arcade cabinets with selectable classics will delight (though the two grand minimum for the cabinets will make your eyes water), and a bunch of consoles offering multiplayer games such as Micro Machines, Mario Kart and Bomberman have to be experienced.

Gadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Yet it was Besoke Arcades and Replay Events stands that will likely be your main stop. The former creates custom cabinets based on buyer's preference...
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
Gadget Show Live: Gaming GuideGadget Show Live: Gaming Guide
...while the latter offers a mixture of classic game experiences - check out the Sega Saturn Bomberman multiplayer, as well as N64 version of Mario Kart.

The Gadget Show Live 2012 runs until this Sunday, 15th April. Head on over to the official site for ticket and travel details.



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