Game On Expo is returning for its 4th annual event next weekend, August 10-12! In just a few short years, they’ve made a name for themselves as Arizona’s largest gaming convention, and probably the fastest growing nerd event in the state. The event hosts free-play video game, pinball, and arcade lounges, tournaments, cosplay contests, voice actor and industry guests, panels on game design and history, and so much more. And they’re expanding again this year with even more new content, including 10x the tabletop game programming and new anime and Japanese gaming features!
Before we get into the overview of what to expect this year, we want to mention a very special discount code that you should use right now to buy your tickets! Game On Expo has teamed up with Extra Life, a charity that brings joy to sick kids through gaming. Use promo code “extralife” now through August 8th to get $10 off a full event pass, and $5 dollars of your purchase will go straight to Extra Life! It’s pretty much the best deal ever.
Now let’s get into the main features of Game On Expo. All your favorite mainstays are returning, including free video game lounges stocked with both retro and modern games, plus pinball and arcade areas. New this year will be a pachinko parlor stocked with the popular Japanese gaming machines. For those who don’t know, pachinko games are something vaguely like a cross between a slot machine and pinball. Try your luck!
Tabletop expansion pack
Tabletop programming is getting a major facelift, sponsored by Gateway Games, Crit Hit, and Arizona Game Fair. You can find Pathfinder and D&D games all weekend, along with a free-play board game library of over 300 games. Amazing Discoveries will be running TCG learn-to-play and tournaments all weekend for Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Super, and Yu-Gi-Oh.
For the competitive among you, gaming tournaments are getting even bigger and better this year. The Retro World Championships are returning, and there will be plenty of eSports with cash prizes, including a $1,000 prize pool for Fortnite! Head over to sign up for a tournament online. If you’re a costumer, the annual cosplay contest also has cash prizes and is open to cosplayers of all skill levels.
Love Japan? In addition to the pachinko parlor, Game On Expo is also unveiling a Visual Novel Library where you can play these immersive story video games. If the games aren’t enough, be sure to experience the new Sumuji Maid Cafe and the after-hours Dobutsu Lounge!
NPCs and guest appearances
Just like previous years, the Game On Expo guest list is full to the brim with celebrities and industry personalities. This year they boast big-name guests like voice actor Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard, Mass Effect; Aayla Secura, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Troy Baker (Joel, The Last of Us; Booker, Bioshock Infinite), YouTubers from hit shows like The Completionist, Black Nerd Comedy and Beatemups, video game designers Brian F. Colin (Rampage) and Eric Wile (EverQuest: Mac Edition), and cosplayers Ashlynne Dae and Courtney Leigh Creations. Eight nerdy bands will also perform throughout the weekend to satisfy your video game music fix. Browse the entire guest list, and then head over to the panel schedule to see what interesting things they have to share.
Pre-sale tickets are available now on the Game On Expo website. Full event passes are $55 and single-day passes range from $25-$35. Kids 10-and-under are $10, and toddlers are free. For 1 hour earlier entry every day, a free kids pass, and an exclusive poster and pin, VIP passes are $75. Passes will be sold at a slightly higher price at the door. The fun starts Friday, August 10th at 12 pm for VIPs and 1 pm for general passes, and will run through Sunday, August 12th at 5 pm at the Phoenix Convention Center. Press ‘Start’ to join!