EGX was in full swing again this year as thousands of gamers and eventgoers attended the UK’s largest event this weekend. It was hosted at the ExCeL building in London during October 12th-15th, 2023, and there were plenty of incredible games available to play, as well as interesting panels and talks, merchandise, networking opportunities, and more.
Having attended EGX several times over the last few years, the show this year was extra important for me. A special panel was hosted to celebrate 25 years of the iconic Nintendo 64 Platformer, Banjo-Kazooie. Having very fond memories of the game and four of the game’s original developers being on the panel, there was no chance I was going to miss, especially when the panel consisted of the likes of Chris Sutherland, Steve Mayles, Ed Bryan, and Grant Kirkhope.
Although I wasn’t able to attend EGX for the whole duration, I did get to go on the Saturday to see the Banjo-Kazooie panel in person and meet up with my convention buddies Pete Beckett (Rapid Reviews UK), Barry Dunne (Impact Game Station), Richard Stokesy (Nintendo Portsmouth), and Jack Gawn (Nintendo Village). Also coming along for the ride is my partner Veronica, my sister Ashleigh, her partner Alec, and their friends Paul and Melek. There was quite a group of us in attendance but staying together was quite difficult when there was so much we wanted to do. It wasn’t a problem, though, as we all broke up into smaller groups and did our own thing.
This year was big for games at EGX as the likes of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Sonic Superstars, Persona 3 Reload, Persona 5 Tactica, Prince of Persia, and many more games had playable demos available. Nintendo UK had quite the space set up with all of its demo booths for Super Mario Bros. Wonder. There were also a couple of photo calls, one with a warp pipe and another with a green screen. Mario and Luigi mascots were also around so people could have their photo taken with them, too!
The Indie game scene was buzzing with people and was a real delight to see. There were crowds of people around games like Make Way, Little Goody Too Shoes, Gori Cuddly Carnage, DMG Control, Wargroove 2, Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles and Stampede: Racing Royale. I don’t think I saw a single empty seat either, which just goes to show how great the selection of games were this year at EGX.
The Retro zone was also pretty packed with games consoles and arcade machines from over the last 40 or 50 years of video game history. I didn’t have much time to see what games and consoles were playable, but having attended EGX several times before now, I know that there was a decent selection available.
One of the things I liked at EGX 2023 is, of course, the merchandise stalls. My sister and her partner saved up money all year just so they could spend some of it at the merchandise stalls. This year, while there was a notable drop in the quantity of stalls (half as many as last year, it seemed), the quality was still the same. Pokémon fans, Funko Pop collectors, figure collectors, and tabletop players had plenty of choice, and there were even some select amiibos and video games available for current gen systems as well as for retro systems too.
Although I was very tempted to get something from the stands, I did hold firm and only picked up a new lanyard, which has become somewhat of a tradition for me over the years. My sister and her partner, on the other hand, well, let’s just say they’ll be eating baked beans for the next few months because they came back with quite the haul.
The biggest highlight of all was definitely the previously mentioned Banjo-Kazooie 25th Anniversary panel. It was the one thing I most wanted to listen to, and it did not disappoint. Ex Rare legends Chris Sutherland, Steve Mayles, Ed Bryan, and Grant Kirkhope had so much to share with the audience, and I was fortunate enough to get front row seats to the whole thing. Granted, I was waiting in a queue for about 40 minutes so I could be one of the first to enter, but it was well worth it.
After the panel, Chris, Steve, Ed, and Grant were available for autographs and a quick chat. This provided me with the opportunity to get a couple of items signed and to personally thank them for the many happy memories of playing Banjo-Kazooie during my childhood. I have many favourite games on the Nintendo 64 but the bear and bird duo take the top spot, beating of the likes of GoldenEye 007, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Super Mario 64.
All in all, EGX was another brilliant day out, and more memories that I will forever cherish for years to come. It was an absolute blast seeing all my convention buddies again, and I would like to give them another shout-out and thank them for sharing photos of EGX with me that you have seen throughout this feature. To Jack, Barry, Richard, and Pete. You guys are absolute legends and are what makes gaming conventions in the UK a joy to attend.
I would also like to give special mention to my sister Ashleigh and her partner Alec for also being fantastic company and providing me and Veronica a place to sleep during my trip to the UK so we could all visit EGX together. You guys are amazing, and I am so lucky to have you guys in my life. While EGX may be over for this year, I do look forward as to what is to come for EGX in 2024.
Thank you all for reading this feature, and until next time, Keep On Gaming!