SLC Gaming Con: Is it Worth it?

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Salt Lake Gaming Con

An Explanation:

The normal price for Gaming Con is $30.37, however, by applying the GEEKWAVE discount, it is only $22.39. So, I will only be relating the Gaming Con experience to the Geekwave applied price. In addition, this review is strictly based on my experiences on Friday. This is important because some of the larger activities won’t take place until Saturday.

Content:

Gaming Con was filled with wonderful activities and left me awestruck once I entered the doors. The website lists a number of things to do during Gaming Con, and throughout the entire 8 hour visit, I wasn’t able to accomplish all of it.

Guest Speakers

The featured guests like Charles Martinet (Mario), and Christopher Judge (Kratos) were a huge push for the event, and they did not disappoint. They were friendly, fun, and I was lucky to have met them. Even though I didn’t think it would be a big deal to see a voice actor, it felt as if I was talking to a celebrity. Talking to them is free, but photos and autographs cost anywhere between $5-20. From my experience, just talking to them was definitely worth it, but a picture or autograph is also very exciting.

Cosplay

Cosplay was a big part of Gaming Con, however there didn’t seem to be any real reward for those that participated. It is important to note that based on the website, there isn’t a competition for Friday, but there will be one Saturday. Even though there isn’t a competition on Friday (it is free), there was a lot of it regardless, and it was incredible. So, if cosplay is an interest to you, I definitely recommend coming on Saturday, to both watch and participate.

Tournaments

The tournaments were non-stop at Gaming Con. With various titles and various players, the fun never stopped. There were casual tournaments, and there were also tournaments on the big screen. While there were many video game tournaments happening, there were not many card tournaments taking place. However, on Saturday, there will be a large Pokemon tournament, and the pre-release for the next base set in Magic: the Gathering will also take place. While some of these tournaments cost money (from about $5-$30), they usually pay for themselves. Also, the prizes honestly reward the players that make it worth the money spent, even if you don’t do well. I definitely recommend Gaming Con for its non-stop tournaments.

Panels, Art, and Vendors

The panels, artist alley, and vendors were also very interesting and fun. These all sort of mashed together in the center of Gaming Con. While the panels were interesting, I felt as if a couple more couldn’t hurt. The artists produced some amazing work, although a lot of them focused on Overwatch, Pokemon, and Persona 5 fan art. In addition, a lot of pop culture art was produced. While I was hoping for a larger breadth of artworks, it was still worthwhile to just browse. The vendors were similar to the panels, where they were great, just not many of them. So, if you are going to Gaming Con looking for some awesome merchandise, your selection may not be that big, but the purchases I made were definitely worth what I paid for.

Other Activities

Larger, more active sections of Gaming Con were also very fun. From axe throwing to free to play consoles, there was something for everyone. While the axe throwing cost a little bit of money, nailing one into the wall left everyone with a smile. LARPing was in one of the larger areas of Gaming Con, and it looked intense. Although I wasn’t able to get to do it Friday, I’m looking forward to destroying everyone on Saturday. The free to play consoles took up about ¼ of the total square footage of Gaming Con, and a lot of people participated. While we struggled to find an open console (despite there being a ton), finding controllers was even more difficult. While it isn’t required that you bring your own controller, I highly recommend it. Nerf wars also dominated an area, but it seemed as if it was more kid oriented. Another event to look forward to on Saturday is Pokemon Go’s Community Day. Since the event has both a gym and a couple of poke-stops, catching the Squirtle squad will be easy. Overall, these activities were definitely worth the time and value.

The content overall is wonderfully full, and well packed. While I hoped for more breadth from the artists, that seemed to be the only downside. The activities and other vendors made the content definetly worth the entrance fee.

Feel:

When I first entered Gaming Con, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. There was so much to do, so much to see. The sections were well organized, and everyone on the staff was friendly. I never once couldn’t find something to do next. The smell was a mouthwatering sweetness from a candied nut seller (definitely recommend). All of the equipment looked and felt new, so I didn’t have to worry about anything gross. Everything was clean as well, and the custodians maintained the large area well. The panels and vendors were the most attractive thing, due to their bright colors and interesting content. The feel, was fantastic.

Flow:

Despite the growing amount of people entering (I entered fairly early), there was never a point where I felt like the convention became congested. The line to enter took a while, but was still relatively fast paced. The vendors and panels were well spaced, so many people could walk through them. Even when lines formed for the guest stars, the staff ensured that people could still walk through. The tournament section had large seating, and I didn’t struggle to get in our out. The tabletop section was also very spacious, and allowed for easy playing and viewing. Overall, the flow was top-notch.

Overall Consensus:

This Gaming Con is a blast. Despite there not being the entire event on Friday, it only further adds to my excitement for Saturday. Gaming Con is definitely worth the $22.39.

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