September 2004 saw GamesPaper reporting direct from the show floor of two events which were being hosted in London - in addition to our 2003 coverage where only cameraphone photos were instantly posted online, this year saw the addition of short text captions, giving readers more details about what they were seeing in the pictures.
GamesPaper started off day 1 of the shows at the new GameStars Live and EGN events at ExCeL in the Docklands, and got a view of the EGN exhibition hall an hour before opening.
A pre-show press conference saw ELSPA's Roger Bennett champion the role in which the UK plays in the video games industry, and Aleks Krotoski launched the Chicks and Joysticks ELSPA White Paper which she had complied, reflecting the growing numbers of female gamers.
10am saw the doors of GameStars Live open for the first time, and GamesPaper was there at the front of the press queue to capture the view which greeted visitors.
A few hours later GamesPaper arrived at the long-running ECTS event at Earls Court in West London, having spent more than an hour on the tube due to severe delays on the Jubilee line, and the District and Circle lines totally suspended.
ECTS 2004 was a much smaller and quieter show, which filled just part of the vast Earls Court exhibition centre - no doubt not helped by problems on the tube. Visitors got to meet a number of smaller specialist services such as distributors and manufacturers, whilst the UK heats of the Samsung World Cyber games took place alongside the trade stands.
Day two saw GamesPaper return to GameStars Live which saw a number of large publishers favouring the event over ECTS and the fairly impressive stands went to further reinforce this fact, such as the pier themed Nintendo stand, which featured a fortune telling stall with details of the Nintendo DS, along with a Nintendo Arcade, and other typical pier style attractions.
Both members of the trade and public crowded around the various stands trying to get a glimpse of forthcoming titles in action, and a try of games such as World of Warcraft and Evil Genius on the very busy Vivendi Universal stand.
Seeking some slightly quieter refuge GamesPaper returned to the trade-only European Games Network show which was taking place on the opposite side of the ExCeL centre, and got to see the Zodiac handheld gaming device and PDA from Tapwave, which runs on the Palm OS.
Large queues formed in the boulevard of ExCeL for the start of day three at GameStars Live, just as they had done on the previous days.
GamesPaper however got a unique pre-opening look around the show floor some 15 minutes before the doors opened to the public, and captured the views of stands being prepared for business.
Across the show floor was the main stage, looking very quiet some 10 minutes before the show opened to the public, but soon busy once the exhibition doors open as it was home to celebrity appearances and prize give-aways during the entire five day event.
Main star of the show was Halo 2, which saw huge crowds wait over an hour to get a play of the game - a scene which was repeated daily since the first day where GamesPaper was lucky enough to be near the front of the queue which was said to have seen some gamers spend four hours queuing at it's peak during the first day.
An on-site temporary GAME store proved fairly popular, with special deals on chart titles and a free reward card offer. Pre-orders for games were also being taken, giving gamers the chance to get their reservations in for games which they had just played elsewhere on the show floor.
Finally GamesPaper went back over to the trade-only EGN to speak with Yann Tambellini of development company Kylotonn, who demonstrated Digital Jesters forthcoming first person shooter Bet on Soldier.