I'll be in Germany for Spiel '04 in Essen. Spiel attracts about 150,000 people and is the largest games convention in Europe (maybe even the world). This will be my fourth or fifth outting and all I can say is it still hasn't failed to impress me. It's great to see the popularoty of games in Germany - the convention is a real family outting. I don't actually get to play anything over there though as it's all business, business, business for me (and, yes, parties and aftershow entertainment is still classified as business :p).
I'll be returning to these fair shores on Saturday early afternoon and will have plenty of catching up to do at that point no doubt.
This evening has also been very productive for me. Plenty of transatlantic phone calls have been made and business done. It was also good to catch up with some of the new worlders I spoke to too as I count several of them as friends as well as business associates. I just wish we all lived a little bit closer so we could see everyone more often. Which, I guess, is another reason why I love attending trade shows and conventions. There is a core of people you bump into at all of these shows and many of them are great people who you'd have o problems hanging out with. Hence the parties and aftershow entertainment. The motto of shows like Spiel/GAMA/GenCon should really be 'work hard play hard' because the days are very tiring but the parties will keep you buzzing until the early hours. You just have to balance that hangover correctly :p