Behind the scenes of the this weekend's digital entertainment expo at Auckland's Vector Arena
The Oculus Rift VR headset is probably the most talked-about gadget in gaming these days. Auckland's Media Design School has provided the expo with a number of their development kits, which you can try out for a strictly-policed three minutes at the expo.
The Rift is held firmly to your head by a back/top strap, very much like Sam Fisher's signature goggles in Splinter Cell. If you're worried about unintentional transmission of hair gel or gamersweat, you might want to ensure you're near the front of the line, because these things are going to see a lot of action.
Foam padding surrounds your face, completely blocking out the outside world.
Other attendees can see what you're looking at, projected in 2D on a conventional monitor, though it really doesn't carry the same immersion. In fact, the monitor view can be a lot more motion-sickness inducing than the Rift itself, as when you're watching the monitor you've got no control of where the Rift operator points their eyes.
PC World editor Harley Ogier tries on the Oculus Rift, doesn't fall over or become violently ill - good for decorum, but doesn't provide as interesting a photo opportunity.
On the arena floor, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One showcases stand opposite each other across a hallway that serves as a sort of 'demilitarized zone' between the two competing giants.
Desperate to get your hands on the PS4 and have a few minutes of actual playtime? Go for it. Just be prepared for a long queue and a pre-warmed controller if you're at the end of it.
There are several PS4 stations set up, but given the expected attendance, and New Zealand traditionally being a 'PlayStation nation', we doubt you'll be able to spend all that much time with one.
Multiple games are on display, across both consoles.
The Xbox One, like the PS4, is on display in a vented acrylic enclosure to protect it from sticky fingers.
If you're more the Xbox type, you can get your hands on an Xbox One controller and try out a range of driving, fighting and other (today unseen) games
The Xbox One setup uses LG's latest televisions and Turtle Beach's new Xbox One-compatible headsets.
Fighting on the big screen? Looks awesome, though there'll be a whole lot of gamers watching if you lose.
The games on the show floor are all family-friendly. Microsoft has an 'R13' zone for restricted games, behind the main display. There's also an R18 zone (pictured next).
The games on the show floor are all family-friendly. Microsoft has an 'R18' zone for restricted games, behind the main display. There's also an R16 zone (pictured previously).
The History of Video Gaming/History of Computers collections are on display along the top of the stands at the left side of the arena. Check out our [[artnid:527667|dedicated slideshow]] for a more detailed sneak peek.
A step down from the main 'robot wars' tournament, a smaller ring allows attendees to design and battle Lego Mindstorms robots. We're not sure how this will work, given expected attendance, but we fully agree what Mindstorms is grade-A awesome.
We were hoping the main 'robot wars' event would be of the American, robots-destroying-robots-with-pickaxes-and-sledgehammers type, but alas, it's a 2v2-robot ball collecting challenge. We're sure it'll still be entertaining to watch, but don't expect a technological bloodbath.
The robot wars arena shows the large and small coloured balls that robots must collect.
On Sunday, this is where larger-than-life internet entrepreneur and mega-gamer Kim Dotcom will take on 100 people, including "NZ celebrities and leading industry speakers", in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
...We assume they'll remove the coloured balls for that.
The seating arrangements for speakers' sessions are about three times the width pictured, but it's just those four rows of seats: we're worried seating will quickly overflow for popular speakers.
Dell's Alienware Pod is present, and was running DiRT 3 when we stopped by to take a couple of snapshots. This PC Gaming rig is essentially a fancy chair, with a top-end Logitech steering wheel and pedals bolted on.
Do jump inside the Alienware Pod if you get a chance. We've borrowed it for a PC World event in the past, and it's definitely an enjoyable experience.
Auckland PC builders and retailer Playtech are on-site with a stack of demo PCs, promoting their wares and pushing the case for PC gaming.
As we left today's media preview, EB Games was setting up a pop-up store in the downstairs foyer. Didn't quite get your fill of gaming? Looks like you'll be able to buy something to take home with you, if you still acquire your games in disc form.
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