Why Come to Salt Lake Gaming Con?


Brogan Marchant

Why Come to Salt Lake City Gaming Con?

Gaming Con seems a bit like the black sheep of the convention world for most, at least here in Salt Lake City. It typically takes place smack in the middle of summer, when most people are off partying or on vacation and, being primarily focused on gaming, it may be a bit too niche for fans of other genres. Despite all this, gaming con has plenty to enjoy. It is a sort of hidden gem for fans of geek and popular culture. The big question, though, is whether or not Gaming Con is for you. Let’s look at some of the major differences and find out.

The first thing to note is that Gaming Con is, indeed, very much centered around gaming, but this does not necessarily mean you will be subjected to hours of adolescents playing Fortnite or listen to people brag about their undefeated Magic: The Gathering deck. Quite the opposite, actually. There was a time where this may have been true, but as of Gaming Con 2019 the diversity in things to occupy your time with has increased dramatically.

The first major difference you will notice between Gaming Con and conventions like FanX is that it is much more driven by community and interactivity. Where FanX has rows upon rows of booths selling any number of bizarre and useless merchandise, this same space at Gaming Con is taken up with board game stations, interactive live streams and video game tournaments, all of which encouraged people to get engaged and come together in their passions; something I don’t think I have ever done in the same way elsewhere.

While I will never turn down an opportunity for some good old fashioned video games, I always seem to find myself drawn back to the tabletop section of the convention as this, I believe, is where Gaming Con really sets itself apart from other events. The larger cons have a tendency to showcase the best and brightest of the pop culture world, often bringing in big name celebrities and large companies showcasing their newest products. Gaming Con, on the other hand, has its eyes set on local talent, giving those trying to make a name for themselves a chance to shine.

If you are anything like me, taking a stroll down what I like to call “indie row” will lead to some of the best gaming experiences you will find. As the title might suggest, the section is home to all kinds of independent developers providing playable demonstrations of their most recent projects. It may not all pique your interest, but I can almost guarantee you will end up finding something to love, regardless of how selective your interests may be. I have walked away with a new favorite game on more than one occasion; and what better way to spend your money than on something that you will be able to come back to time and time again for years to come?

So sure, Gaming Con may not be the biggest event of the year, but you could certainly be doing worse things with both your time and the $50 it costs to get in for the weekend. The Gaming Con atmosphere is far more laid back than that of the larger cons as well. It is difficult to spend more than an hour or two on the main floor at a time at the larger cons without feeling like you are losing brain cells due to lack of oxygen. At gaming con, on the other hand, it is easy to spend hours bouncing from station to station, playing games and meeting new people without even stopping to think about it. If you want a few days to kick back and enjoy being a geek, this is certainly the place to do so. Just a word of advice: bring some friends along for the ride.