Louie M. cover conventions for comicsheatingup.net.
Hi CHU Family! Growing up, when I didn’t have a comic book in my hand, I had a video game controller. Today the convention scene has grown to accommodate large conventions for all types of fandoms and subcultures, and gaming is a perfect fit. Game On Expo took place in Phoenix, AZ on August 11-13th with three full days of programming.
Game On Expo features something for any type of gamer. The exhibit floor featured an array of gaming vendors and an artist alley. Retro gaming is hotter than ever. About 10 years ago I decided my old NES, SNES, and Genesis consoles/games were taking up too much room and wouldn’t ever be worth anything. So I took them to Goodwill to free up space. Now there is a market for them! You see vendors selling all of the classic consoles whether it’s the original machinery or new hardware with the classic games installed.
In fact, console box protectors were being sold. Who would’ve thought to protect the condition of the box?!?!
I still love my PS4 so while retro gaming is fun and nostalgic, I mostly stick to the latest and greatest. Virtual Reality gaming is swiftly improving in quality and price. Alienware had a busy booth where you could try it along with many other VR stations. No doubt in my mind that all next gen consoles will be VR ready.
Free play arcade is a major bonus of this event, would love to see more cons do it. Great social aspect to take breaks and hit up some games. The arcade had the latest in arcade spectacle, classics like Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter, and super obscure ones like a Budweiser game called “Tapper” with the sole objective of serving as much beer as possible.
One area of gaming I am woefully uneducated on is tabletop. Game On had a dedicated room for casual play and tournaments. They did a great job of making it a welcoming experience for newbs. The staff working there was inviting and helpful as were the various game masters sitting at the table. The tournaments were in the name of fun so no concern if a novice sits down to see how long they can last. Learned about some awesome new games such as Forbidden Island, Catan, and Ticket to Ride. I liked Pandemic as it was a co-op where you are all trying to fight back a virus.
I also had the opportunity to play The Oatmeal’s new game “Bears vs Babies”. It was very NSFW and hilarious. The object of the game is basically to create a monster powerful enough to survive attacks from a baby army and be the last one standing. Here is my monster creation of a “Bear with fire nipples wearing spooky cat feet, a saucy sombrero, one arm is a chainsaw and the other arm is all guns”. I did say it was NSFW!
Game On had talent from all over the the gaming world. There was a panel of popular YouTubers such as Andre Meadows, Ian Ferguson, Game Sack, AntDude and 8-bit Eric. Voice talent such as Dave Fennoy (The Walking Dead), Melissa Hutchison (The Walking Dead), Patricia Summersett (Legend of Zelda), Carolina Ravassa (Overwatch), and Mark Meer (Mass Effect).
A 25 year reunion of the actors in Mortal Kombat was a great panel with some anecdotes of making Mortal Kombat, the entire cast was in incredible shape. One funny moment was Brian Glynn getting asked what it’s like to be the cheapest villain (Shao Kahn) in video game history. He chuckled knowing the character is notoriously hard to beat with so many cheap shots. The cast also remained super interactive with the event walking around the floor on Sunday. I noticed Master Daniel Pesina (Johnny Cage, Scorpion, SubZero, Reptile) mingling all day with vendors and taking pics with folks who couldn’t leave their booths to attend panels
I hope to see Game On continue to grow. Gaming has so many different aspects and so much history, it would make for a great convention anywhere. https://gameonexpoaz.com/