The weird world behind the scenes at Gamescom 2018

Horse heads and endless crowds. Yup, sounds like Gamescom.

Andrew Lanxon
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
Andrew Lanxon
1 of 26 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Gamescom 2018 -- Europe's biggest gaming showcase -- is full of important industry news and gaming announcements, but it's behind the scenes where the fun happens.

A walk around the numerous halls of the German convention will open your eyes to an endless string of bizarre sights that really must be seen to be believed. 

To help, I've put together this delightful gallery of some of my favourite things I've seen on the show floor this year. 

First up, cosplay. Because, whether professional (as I assume these guys are) or just for fun, there's always a ton of cosplay when gamers meet up in huge crowds. 

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I'm presuming this ragtag bunch of military folk were cosplayers, rather than, y'know, the actual military. 

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Gamescom is, of course, all about the games, so it's no surprise that most booths had seemingly endless rows of PCs set up, letting people queue up to play new titles before they go on sale.

And queue up they did.

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Gamescom is open to the public and as a result, the public areas are utterly packed to the rafters with excited gamers. It's a total crush, particularly around popular booths where people want to play exciting new titles. 

And if any booth does any kind of giveaway or competition, you can bet you're not getting anywhere near it without first elbowing a few thousand people out of the way. 

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Some queues for available PCs were well over an hour long. 

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Microsoft of course had to have a McLaren Senna on its stand to promote Forza Horizon 4. The Senna is the hero car of the game and did look pretty badass sitting here.

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Nvidia launched its latest graphics cards at the show this year, but it was outside its venue that I had my most fun -- that was where the food was! All served out of various old buses.

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Big enough?

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Farming Simulator 2019 brought a John Deere tractor to jazz up their stand. They brought a plastic horse as well. They wouldn't let me ride it. 

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Nor was I allowed to ride this carousel horse at the UK's showcase booth. In fact, I went the whole show without riding on a single pretend horse. 

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These horses weren't even at the show -- they were mannequins in a store in Cologne, but I thought they were so odd I should include them anyway.

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Same goes for this store mannequin. What's happening here? Is he screaming in pain? His face sure looks like it. I really feel someone needs to help him.

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With crowds swarming absolutely everywhere, people had to find any available space to sit down. Even just in the middle of a loading area.

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Cyberpunk 2077 had a bar at its booth, where it was serving these custom Cyberpunk beers. You can read what I thought of all of them in my review, but it was also just nice to have a quiet, dark room in which to drink some cool beers away from the hordes. 

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I was watched over by cosplayers dressed up as some of the game's characters, complete with electronic light-up collars on their jackets, which apparently everybody will wear in the future.

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Microsoft's booth had a big stage and enjoyed shouting loudly about Mixer, throwing an array of promotional t-shirts into the screaming crowds.

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Between the halls I found this giant robot being filmed for reasons I couldn't quite fathom. 

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The Fortnite booth was the biggest and busiest at the show, presumably to show off its position as the world's most popular game. As well as an assault course, various adults were pitched against children in battles of strength. 

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World of Tanks brought a tank. But then what else would you expect?

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The UK industry booth had this light-up frame for some reason and were also giving out free straw boater hats, presumably as a way to distract people from our poor economy. 

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At the Just Dance stage, a whole team of attendees took to the stage to dance along to Britney's Work Bitch, which is, let's be honest, a rad track on any occasion.

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Also this weird fancy bear was there. I'm not sure why. 

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I saw various figurines for sale, but none of them were life-size like this guy. I don't think he was for sale though. 

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This Mario-themed dress is perfect for a gaming addict's wedding. 

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Many stands had big statues you could pose with, but I found this massive one from the game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice particularly impressive. I really wouldn't stand that close to anyone smiling like that holding a sword that size. 

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The detail on these Darksiders costumes really was impressive.

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