It is quite a comforting feeling to find people who share your interests especially when it comes to the fun, light stuff like anime, tech, and gaming. You do not have to be geeky to get into these interests and find your way to the next convention in your area. A convention is a place to expand your network, to expose yourself on the latest trends and games, and to generally have fun with new people. It is a colorful event that showcases professional gamers, enthusiasts, collectors, exhibitors, and other talented people in the gaming world. If you are looking for a new hobby or just want to level up from your solitary gaming nights, consider attending a gaming convention for a whole new adventure.
How It Began
It probably began back in 1967 in Las Vegas when Consumer Electronics Show (CES) debuted. The event was neither public nor directly about gaming but has been considered as one of the pioneer gatherings that highlighted product launches in computers and electronics. The first actual gaming convention was probably pulled off by Gen Con the following year in Indianapolis. They have kept their gaming tradition for 50 years now.
It was, however, not until spring of 1988 when the idea of gaming conventions made its way to Europe through the European Computer Trade Show’s debut in London. The convention only lasted for 17 years with the last one held in 2004.
On the other side of the globe, in 1996, Japan introduced its own gaming convention through the Tokyo Game Show. It was a large trade and expo event that primarily showcased the Japanese gaming industry, while featuring international merchandise and technologies.
Many other conventions followed and have continued to this day to make meetings easier for enthusiasts within a locality and to bridge interested parties all over the world. Most conventions, however, require an entry fee and if you do not have spare money to spend every time one pops in your area, it is better to just watch out and save up for the best ones out there.
Must-attend and Upcoming Events
Gen Con remains as one of the best conventions to attend today. The schedule for 2017 is from August 17-20, still in Indianapolis. Ticket price ranges from $50 – $100 and the event showcases classic tabletop games including board, strategy, and card games. This long-running con has also expanded to include videogames and will be featuring over 500 exhibitors for this year.
The creators of the Penny Arcade web comic are pioneers of another popular and well-participated gaming conventions. PAX currently hosts five different gaming gatherings covering different regions. There is PAX West, PAX East, PAX South, PAX Aus, and PAX Dev which are all worth checking out. The next event in their calendar is PAX East which will be held in Boston on March 10-12, 2017. PAX features tabletop games, exhibits, console freeplays, and even concerts. Even introverted gamers stuck with their handheld consoles are welcome in the PAX Handheld Lounge complete with beanbags and great company from fellow players.
Probably the most prestigious gaming convention there is to date is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3. The event is a premier trade show known for game launches and tech debuts. E3 2017 is set to happen in Los Angeles, California from June 13-15, 2017. This event is probably the best gaming convention in the world but is only reserved for industry pros and people who are into actual game business and development. Attendance would require you to pay for a $995-worth ticket plus a connection or two with the big people from the inside.
Now, if you live outside the US or if you have enough money for an international trip, you may check out the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) 2017 in Japan or EGX in the UK. TGS 2017 will last for four days with Day 1 and Day 2 reserved for industry and press viewing while Day 3 and Day 4 will be open to the public. The event is scheduled from September 21 -24, 2017. On the other hand, EGX occupies the same event days as TGS and will be held at the National Exhibition Center (NEC) in Birmingham. EGX will feature live eSports, pre-released games, indie games, and even seminars by game developers.
If you want to find out the best convention first hand, you may want to check more options at eventsforgamers.com. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy so, summon your inner gamer and find the best gaming convention near you!