GO3 Electronic & Entertainment Expo 2009, Borderlands Hands-On


My hometown of Perth, Western Australia has for 3 years now been home to GO3, an entertainment expo which had hoped to become the Asia-Pacific’s primary gaming convention and exhibition. 2007’s inaugural event was poorly received by the gaming media, as expectations were raised too high. As a first-time event, it wasn’t terrible. It just wasn’t very good.

An attempt was at least made to bring a number of developers to showcase games, talk to the public, and address the conference – which has now been scrapped. After such a lukewarm reception, subsequent GO3 expos have been aimed and marketed at the geek community at large, catering to both video and tabletop gamers, anime fans, and general gadget nerds. Entry has gone from a $15 charge to free, which saves the current state of GO3 from being too offensive. The event was small then, and is tiny now.

With that history in mind, the exhibitor list for GO3 2009 is available here. Recognise any names on the list, international readers? Probably only 2K Games, who made the trip to showcase the upcoming Borderlands. This was literally the only major title on offer, and thankfully several stations were set up for the public to play. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed.

Three of Perth’s five universities offer students gaming units, and all were present, demonstrating games students have made. The Defence Force made themselves available to anyone curious about joining their ranks, and had this Flash game playable. A number of local shops were selling books, games, shirts, CDs and DVDs, swords, and so on – indeed, the event largely felt like a shopping centre.

Essentially, if you’re in Perth and are into this sort of thing, you might as well show up. After all, it’s free. Just don’t expect too much. Saturday and Sunday feature guest stars Connor Trineer (Star Trek), David Nykl (Stargate Atlantis), and Chaske Spencer (Twilight). As far as gaming news goes…..well, I got to play Borderlands, and got a sweet shirt for being one of the first 250 to sign up to their mailing list.

Borderlands itself was running on a number of Xbox 360 setups, and due to demand, each player was given only 5 to 10 minutes to play. While I was given control after someone was halfway through a mission, it was easy enough to get into. The missions were simple – kill 8 bandits or skags, repair a bot, purchase a shield – clearly, I was at the start of the game. The game ran smoothly and looked great. There really isn’t a lot more to say, as we weren’t shown anything that hasn’t been released yet and I only had about 10 minutes to play.

Borderlands was the saving grace of the event for me, and I thank 2K Games for making the effort to show up. I had already pre-ordered the game, but the taste of the game I’ve received really has me itching to play more now. Also, the shirt should go well with the hat I’ll get from pre-ordering at GAME.

Here are some top-quality phone photos:


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