So I was given the distinct pleasure of going to the debut convention of Game On Expo hosted by John Lester, better known as Gamester81. There was so much to cover I couldn’t contain my excitement to see all the Youtube celebrities.
Upon entering the convention center, I had no issue getting setup with my badge to enter. Everything was very well organized at the beginning to make it the least painful experience as possible. It was apparent that some of the people didn’t really know how to answer some questions or where to direct you, but they were very quick and polite to help you as much as they could.
So yes, I was ready for some hiccups for a first timer expo, but no, it wasn’t bad at all. I personally really love how small the convention was, not as large as my favorite Amazing Arizona Comi-con but not as overwhelmingly huge as Phoenix Comi-con. Apparently being there right when they opened made me feel like I had gotten an early access pass. No one wanted to wake up that early I suppose but I also live 9 minutes away so, there’s that.
The arcade room (right) is a really solid layout, this is also the most empty it was the entire time I was there. Two hours in and it turned into (left) one hell of a party.
The vendors themselves weren’t bad, they are as you would expect from conventions, ranging from stupid expensive to really well priced. Not exceptional deals but being one of the first ones there I walked away with some great priced games. I aquired, not to brag: Phantasy Star Online Episode III for $15, typically I find this game much more expensive. By far the best was Retro City Games, love their pricing. I also came across a soon to be open video game themed bar, The Grid, that will be opening in October (below).
But that wasn’t the only thing to see, there were artists all over the place and game designers, I make it a personal objective to buy at least one piece of artwork and get it signed by the creator. They put so much work into their art and need the support to keep it alive.
I also met so many cosplayers in the cosplay hall, but by far the best attraction wasKiba the Cosplay Corgi (right). The only downside to that hall was it was way too tight and it got so hot so quickly with all those bodies in there that they eventually had to move the poor people out to the larger room next door.
They played The Wizard in the theater as well as Nintendo Quest, a fantastic documentary. As well as two panel rooms for the events that had the designated schedule on each rooms door. The only downside is that, if you two panels that you really wanted to see were going on at the same time, you would have to miss one, or see only half of one to go see the final half of the other panel.
Luckily the ones I wanted to see didn’t collide with each other. Not to mention when times were changed, they were extremely efficient in announcing several times to inform the public of the changes being made, much appreciated!
By far the most exciting part for me was meeting these fellas (above) The Game Chasers, Rob McCallum of Nintendo Quest, The Gaming Historian and Pat the NES Punk had a booth setup to sell merchandise and talk to the fans. Each of these gentlemen had their own panel to see, the only one without a booth was The Completionist. In order of the Panels I saw and their experience, here we go!
If you have never heard of these guys, go check them out on their youtube channel immediately. They are two buddies, Billy and Jay, that travel all across the country collecting retro video games and vintage toys for their collection. They have such personality and the panel was very much a reflection of their attitude.
The most entertaining thing about these guys live is that they really aren’t a personality on their channel. They treat you like their friends and bash on each other and likewise you. For instance, one gentleman was called out as “you look like you have PBG hair!” for no particular reason, just to say it. They are such a blast that they even requested everyone flip them off so they could post it on their twitter.
Granted these guys were much more mature and vulgar than the other panels but they were an absolute blast to watch and listen to. Billy accidentally kicked out a kid from the panel, when he was only warning the mother that they will work on their swearing, she escorted her son out of the room. Needless to say Jay gave him a hard time for the hysterically unfortunate outcome.
I have personally never been a real fan of Pats material, and his panel didn’t have much to change my opinion of him. It’s very apparent that he does have a large fan base. So he’s entertaining to plenty of people, I wont argue that. He started the panel bragging about everything he has done and all of his accomplishments. Which, sure it can be well warranted, but all the other panels were much more humble with their achievements in retrospect.
The highlight of his panel was him revealing the first couple pages of a book he has been working on, this is something that I thought was really cool. It’s a review of each and every US released NES game. I think it could be very interesting, the price on the other hand is very heavy with about 400+ pages expected, he averaged the final price to being roughly $60.
I may be already jaded with him when I came into his panel, but it wasn’t completely horrible, his jokes were lacking and just felt a little mean spirited as he typically is. One question was completely avoided doing the Q&A portion and I’m not sure why it was.
I love the Gaming Historian, his work is so detailed and informative. The big thing that he announced to the audience is that he has quit his job and gone career with the youtube channel. Which is, in its self, a very daring and courageous endeavor.
He presented his panel as a live version of an episode, with his topic being The Power Glove, it was great to see an episode presented in front of everyone, like a homework presentation. This will later be a full on Gaming Historian video, but this was almost the general layout of what he would be speaking about in the video.
There was also a fun portion before Q&A that he did a trivia game with three contestants, all of the questions were based off of something he did an episode on, so if you were really a fan, you would win this with no challenge.
Probably the most exciting and final panel of the Saturday events, The Completionist had by far the biggest turn out. He is easily to the most friendly and sincere man I have ever met, not to say everyone else was off putting. But this bearded bear was just so happy to see everyone come up and talk to him.
His presentation was actually something that I can not even speak about, seriously. It’s about a video he will be doing soon and he requested that we keep it a secret to the public. It was awesome, a special event just for the people of Game On Expo. He is just as funny as he is on the show and his panel even extended an extra hour to the theater hall because they were going to close down but he didn’t want to stop talking to everyone.
So we all got escorted into the theater room and by row we go to go up and have him sign something and take a picture with him, the biggest highlight of the entire convention!
So how was the overall experience of the Game On Expo, at least as far as the Saturday events go? It was amazing, so much fun. So many personalities, so many items to buy, have signed, talk to so many creative minds, it was perfection in my opinion.
I personally love small conventions that aren’t overwhelming, I like being able to check out everything and walk away full engrossed in the experience. I absolutely encourage everyone to come and check out this expo and show it some love if you are ever in the area.
I hope this convention is successful enough to come around again next year, who knows, maybe there will even be a NAWK toons booth.