5 weird things I saw at Gamescom

August 24, 2016 by Brandon Sheffield

Gamescom isn't just a place for big announcements. It's also a place for Human Foosball. And sad hoverboarders.

Gamescom is big. It was attended buy hundreds of thousands of actual human beings, who willingly queued for hours to play games in giant loud booths full of advertisements in the otherwise lovely city of Cologne, Germany.

I don't judge these people! I just describe the environment. It's loud, big, and full of people who are very enthusiastic about big things. There seemed to be fewer small booths, but the big booths were even bigger, making up for the vacated space.

Usually the little booths are where you see the odd stuff, so I was worried whether I'd get any kind of wackiness going on. But even though the little booths were in the minority, there was still plenty of weird stuff to be seen. It's Gamescom after all! And I was there! So here are five of those weird things.

Meme Toys

Straight off the bat, right when I walked into Gamescom, this is what I saw. My fault for entering via the retail section, to be sure, but I wasn't really paying attention, dang it! And lo, I was struck by physical toy versions of crappy rage face meme garbage. I felt as though the world had already ended, and only I could see the burning remains.

Not only is it a crappy move to make money off someone's uncopyrightable creation (since all of these are public domain) and then charge 13 euro for it (about 15 bucks), who even wants this stuff in their house? If your answer is “me,” to you I say:

Need for Seat

Need for Seat is a real name someone decided to use for their business. Maybe you knew that already and I'm a big idiot, but naming your company (which makes office and gaming chairs) after a pun on a popular EA racing property is… weird?

They seemed to be setting up for some sort of office chair kart racing, which is actually kind of a fun idea with a precedent in games, but I didn't stick around long enough to find out. I didn't want anyone trying to sell me chairs! I'm sorry, I did a bad journalism.

Human foosball

Yeah! This is Gamescom, right here! Take a bunch of German Christian Youth, put them in a weird bouncy castle, give them a soccer ball, and tell them they can't move without their hands between the roundy things. It's a recipe for wackiness!

Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves here, but imagine the size of house I'd need to get this in it! The Christian Youth contingent had a whole bunch of weird physical games set up, like a one on one bungee race, and something called a “daffy board.” Did they hope their clean wholesome physical fun would lure the youth away from their FPSes? They're gonna need more than foosball for that!

German ratings board quiz

Can you get any more German than this?? The USK is the German rating board, like the ESRB in the US. In a quiet corner of Gamescom, they made a game show out of asking people questions about what kind of content is allowed for what ages when it comes to video games, and all that super fun stuff. It was peppered with general game knowledge questions, such as the depicted one about Trials Evolution.

The lady up on stage wasn't doing very well, and was EXTREMELY embarrassed about it. Will she be trying for any future games rating board contests? FALSCH!

Sad Razor hoverboard man

I almost felt bad taking a picture of this fellow. Razor had set up a huge hoverboard arena, bigger than many nearby booths, complete with a Monster energy drink kiosk, a DJ, flashing disco lights, and the whole nine yards. A recipe for success!

And yet - inside the arena was a solitary, very sad-looking man just rolling around quietly with his hands in his pockets as thumpy euro techno played. I just barely missed the perfect photo – he was slowly gliding around the arena with his head downcast for nearly 30 seconds. But this gives you a taste. “What are the choices I made that led me here,” he seemed to be thinking. Buck up, sad razor man. Some day you'll evolve into Gizmoduck!?

Ogned in Cologne

There was lots of other silly stuff – a zombie party planning business, Farming Simulator 17's giant tractor, and a mysterious booth containing pink walls and a green garden gnome for which I could not discern the purpose. There was a game where you slap circles on a wall, and ginormous Overwatch statues.

But at the end of all the wackiness, what have you got? A giant series of glitzy advertisements, in a cramped-yet-giant hall which smells like feet and sausages. It's no wonder the Razor man was so sad. By the end of Gamescom, sad hoverboard man is all of us.