Gamers of all types will descend on the Phoenix Convention Center this weekend for Game On Expo, billed as the largest convention of its kind in the Southwest. Running from 1:00 pm on Friday, August 11 through 5:00 pm Sunday, August 13, this family friendly event is jam-packed with free play-to-play arcade machines, tabletop games, and consoles spanning the entire history of the industry. Look for me in my snazzy GeekDad shirt and let’s play some games!
The convention has lined up an exciting and diverse array of guests for autographs, photo opportunities, and panels. Some highlights include:
- Dave Fennoy – One of the most versatile voices in the industry providing voices for commercials, narrations, TV promos, award shows, animation, and games.
- Ellen McLain – The award winning voice behind the beloved GlaDOS from the Portal series.
- Master Daniel Pesina – The source of the iconic moves for the Mortal Kombat franchise, his fighting style and work translating ideas into physical motion has inspired generations.
- Mark Crowe – Game designer, artist, and writer from Sierra Online who brought us that classic-of-all-classics Space Quest.
The Game On Expo is full of opportunities to compete against fellow enthusiasts. Tournaments abound for retro and modern video gamers as well as tabletop fans. Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! fans won’t be left out of the competition either. Multi-round tournaments with generous rewards will take place throughout the convention.
In the spirit of competition, local collectors and game stores bring out their most prized items for the Game On Expo live auction which begins at 8:30 pm on Friday. This promises to be an exciting event for participants and bystanders alike! Even if you miss out on a great deal in the auction, you’re sure to find something to take home in the massive vendor hall.
Is cosplay your thing? This is going to be an exciting event for cosplayers of all ages. Opportunities for photos abound and competitions exist for every level from first-timer to professional. Cosplayers should be aware that this event is taking place at the same venue that hosted Phoenix Comicon earlier this year. Because of the events surrounding a police incident that took place at that convention,enhanced security measures are in place and cosplayers can expect similar restrictions on prop weapons at the Game On Expo. Be sure to check the event rules and policies before attending.
Last but in no way least, attendees at the Game On Expo will be treated to a smorgasbord of geeky musical acts. From Chiptune Synthwave to GameBoy Industrial, you’re sure to find something new and exciting on the expo stage. Also, there will be holograms. What more could an electropunk ask for?
Advance tickets are available through EventBrite at a discounted price, and children aged 3-10 can attend with an adult for the modest price of $10. Attendees can buy tickets for each day or the full 3-day event. Ample metered parking is available, but access via the Valley Metro is always a good idea for large events downtown. Hours are as follows:
- Friday, August 11: 1:00 pm – 11:00 pm
- Saturday, August 12: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm (gates open for advance ticket purchasers an hour early at 9:00 am)
- Sunday, August 13: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (gates open for advance ticket purchasers an hour early at 9:00 am)