London's Business Design Centre has played host to new trade show Games Market Europe during the past two days, after the long-standing ECTS and last years new start-up events GameStars Live and EGN faded in to oblivion.


Games Market Europe 2005 - photo copyright GamesPaper


The impressive setting to the north of central London is a strange place to visit, with posh office units ringing the edge of the hall and looking straight out on to the show floor, which itself is raised up a level above yet more office buildings and is under a huge arch roof which spans the entire length of the centre.

One thing there is no shortage of at the show is heat - conditions inside the venue are surely some of the hottest that could have been possible with London being forced to cope with temperatures in the 30c's, and a strong sunshine beating down through the glass panels at the ends of the building.


Games Market Europe 2005 - photo copyright GamesPaper


But despite the surroundings, and the sweltering heat, it's the games which exhibitors and members of the trade are visiting for, and whilst Games Market Europe isn't a patch on the size of events like E3 in Los Angeles or the recent Leipzig Games Convention, it does have an atmosphere which looks as though there may be signs of recovery if the show can get extra support next year.

NCsoft's forthcoming titles drew sizeable crowds as they were shown off on the large plasma screens, whilst just across the show floor distributor Gem showed off an Xbox 360 demo pod and ran video of forthcoming games, and Digital Jesters kept visitors entertained (or annoyed) with the Crazy Frog in a promotional rolling video on their stand as part of the showcase of forthcoming titles from the Hertfordshire based publisher.


Games Market Europe 2005 - photo copyright GamesPaper


Nintendo's last-minute "dog show" comprised of several DS machines each running copies of Nintendogs, although somewhat surprisingly they hardly seem to be getting touched by visitors who streamed past the devices on their way in and out of the exhibition hall - Nokia's two N-Gage QD demo pods didn't seem to be drawing much of a crowd either in what was a fairly deserted looking stand which also saw a motorbike on display in an effort to try and woo the attention of passers by.

Where visitors were stopping and spending plenty of time however was on Codemasters' stand, with playable versions of Toca Race Driver 3 being shown off for the first time, alongside LMA Manager 2006 and the surprisingly impressive World War II aerial battle simulator Heroes of the Pacific, which looks as though it could offer some highly enjoyable gameplay without being too complicated to only appeal to flight simulation fans like some similar titles often suffered from.