Every year in August, numerous visitors gather for four days in Cologne for one of the world’s most important computer and video games trade fairs. There are always a lot of gaming-enthusiastic children and young people in attendance.
Gamescom is Europe’s largest trade fair for interactive entertainment. Thousands of game enthusiasts from all over the world come together here. The focus is on computer and video games, their developers and the gaming community. New games will be unveiled on the large exhibition grounds, gameplay scenes will be presented on live stages, there will be lectures and shows, game corners, workshops, interviews with game developers and much more. At some events you can not only watch, but also play yourself.
Visiting Gamescom is a special experience for adolescents in different age groups. Everything revolves around gaming. You can discover a lot and try out new games – if you want to stand in the long queues.
For children up to 11 years old, there is a “Family & Friends” area where everything is tailored to the needs of the age group. This area is designed to be as stress-free as possible and offers a particularly wide range of variety and hands-on activities, such as play stations and a “Junior Club” where toddlers are guided by trained caregivers.
Walking around Gamescom without adult supervision is the epitome of independence for many children. As a general rule, children under the age of three are not admitted to the fair. If your child is between the ages of four and eleven, he or she must be accompanied by an adult at all times. In fact, you should think carefully about whether your child can already handle the many stimuli at such an event.
Some parents with children over the age of eleven fear their child may encounter games inappropriate for their age, as Gamescom presents games for all ages. Upon admission, each visitor will receive an age band with different colors upon presentation of a photo ID, analogous to the USK age ratings (12, 16 or 18 years). The USK checks every publicly presented game at Gamescom, so everything is clearly marked with the appropriate age limits. In the case of games with a USK 16 or 18, booth personnel must ensure that these are actually not visible and accessible to children – e.g., through privacy screens or separate rooms.
If your child is over eleven years old and independent enough to discover Gamescom on his or her own, you should still arrange a meeting point with a time in each hall where the family can meet again briefly. Gamescom has a large crowd of visitors, so it’s easy to feel lost. Also, make sure your child’s smartphone has enough battery or give them a note with your name and phone number. This is also recommended if, after careful consideration, you decide to allow your child (who is 12 or older) to visit Gamescom with friends without adult accompaniment. Also, arrange a set time and place to pick up your child. Also, keep in mind that food and beverage prices at trade shows are often relatively high.