Not all video game conferences are for game developers, industry leaders and career nerds. Even many non-gamers will be surprised to learn just how much fun a gaming convention can be. If you want a few days of ecstatic nerdy fun and tons of hot women in sexy video game outfits, you may want to check out the following five best video game conferences that are like Mecca for gamers.
ScrewAttack Gaming Convention, Dallas/Fort Worth.
This is one video game conference that bills itself not just as an expo, but a raging party. Whatever type of games you’re into, you cannot go wrong with ScrewAttack. The festive annual conference in July covers just about every aspect of gaming past and present. There are Pokemon meet-ups, “Super Mario Brothers” shows, concerts, cosplay contests, dance parties and even a dunking booth where you can dunk conference organizers. Each day of the three day conference has more than 30 events to choose from. The official site is at www.sgconvention.com.
Tokyo Game Show.
Japanese people know how to party. While the organizers tout the conference as a business-to-business networking opportunity, all fans of gaming and Japanese pop culture are sure to have a blast every September. Industry outsiders are allowed to attend the final two days of the conference. Enjoy the latest games on all platforms such as PCs, smartphones and other gadgets. Shop around for schools that teach game development in the Game School Area. If you have little tykes, there’s a family area where people dress up in silly costumes depicting popular characters. Be ready for heavy marketing, but you probably won’t mind after seeing all the hot cosplay costumes. Visit tgs.cesa.or.jp/english for info.
Blizzcon, Anaheim, California.
“World of Warcraft”, “Diablo” and “Starcraft” are the babies of Blizzard Entertainment, and they invite you every October to celebrate these innovations. Well, except for 2012, that is. You’ll discover tournaments, old and new games, speakers, concerts and even songwriting contests. You need to prepare yourself by sucking up to the fact that your sorry self will get pummeled by some of the best gamers in gaming land. If you’re okay with that, you will have a great time at Blizzcon. The official site is at www.blizzcon.com.
Penny Arcade Expo, Seattle and Boston.
Are you a pinball freak? Do you get excited in an almost sexual way while playing “Galaga” or “Centipede” at the local pizza joint? While there aren’t any support groups for this freakish condition, there is a conference for it in both Seattle and Boston. You’ll find arcades galore at this conference. If you can escape the numerous arcade rooms, you’ll enjoy speakers from the vintage arcade era, concerts and the ongoing Omegathon tournament. You’ll also meet some of the world’s best players of “Pong”, “Doom” and “Mariokart” and get your butt kicked by all of them. You’re probably a champ at “Excitebike“, though. If you’re lucky, the Omegathon will feature games that allow you to kick some butt yourself. The PAX video game conference is usually in the Fall and Spring, depending on what coast you want to go to. Visit the conference’s site at www.paxsite.com.
Portland Retro Gaming Expo.
Don’t waste your time with silly fad games that will be obsolete next year. The only sure way to future-proof your gaming is to go retro. The video games featured at the Retro Gaming Expo are so obsolete that they’re actually fun to play again. Enjoy classic arcade games like “Qbert” and “Kangaroo” as well as Playstation 2 games like “Grand Theft Auto”. This video game conference focuses on the historical aspects of gaming, so expect iconic speakers who make up the legion of unsung video game heroes. Visit the official site at www.retrogamingexpo.com.