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5 Game Cons to Attend in 2015

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Way back in the day, the United States only had a handful of geeky conventions to host. Most of them were focused on science fiction, and then the idea grew into other subcultures. Anime, comics, tabletop gaming… you name it. With so much hype, it’d seem reasonable to have a lot of videogame conventions as well, right?

Unfortunately, videogames often get tossed into the mix of others, being only a part of the extravaganza for these yearly gatherings. There are more conventions dedicated solely to classic tabletop gaming than there are for videogames. On a brighter note, the few conventions that do cater to gamers do a fantastic job.

These conventions can be found across the country. While some of them might be a long drive away, it’s worth the mileage to see these at least once in your lifetime. It might be time to update your bucket list after reading this list. In order of coinsurance, take a look at 5 game cons to attend in 2015.

magfest

1. MAGFest

Date: January 23 – 26, 2015
Location: National Harbor, MD
Ticket Price: $65
Attendance (2014): 12,000

There’s no reason to sleep at MAGFest when you have a 24 hour console room and arcade hall. They are exactly how they sound. The console room is filled with videogame consoles with games that get rotated periodically. The arcade hall is where you can find tons of classic arcade cabinets, both Western and Eastern. Tabletop gaming and LAN (bring your own computer) gaming are featured as well.

Not only can you play games 24/7, you can also rock out to videogame music. MAGFest is widely known for their concerts which range from chiptune artists, DJs, and other musical types. Names like Yuu Miyake, Powerglove, and Roboctopus make appearances during MAGFest.

Along with playing games and listening to awesome music, there’s a marketplace you can spend all your hard-earned money at. If you’re not up for a shopping spree, there are also panels you can go to. A collective of guest and community speakers will be hosting the panels to answer questions about what they do, enlighten you about aspects of the gaming world, and a variety of other topics.

[Editor’s Note: Stephen Crane (the editor) will be attending this con, so make sure to keep an eye out for him and future articles from the con!]

 

PAX East

2. PAX East

Date: March 6 – 8, 2015
Location: Boston, MA
Ticket Price: 1 Day $45, All 4 Days $95
Attendance (2014): 69,000+

PAX East is an extension of the original PAX Prime, though PAX East is hosted on the east side of the United States for those who can’t make the trip to Washington state. The PAX conventions are very well known in the gaming community, and tickets for these events sell out within hours.

One of the biggest offering at the PAX conventions is the Exhibit Hall. Most of us cannot attend E3, but we are fortunate enough to have this option at PAX. The Exhibit Hall is a wonderful place where you’ll find a whole show floor of games and hardware that are unreleased. It’s something truly unique to the convention, and it’s not something you want to miss when you go.

Like MAGFest, you can also catch a concert, play videogames in a designated console room, attend a LAN gathering, and also participate in tabletop gaming. There’s a ton of stuff that you can do at PAX East, and we can’t list them all here. Make sure to explore the website for all the juicy details.

[Editor’s Note: Stephen Crane (the editor) will be attending this con, so make sure to keep an eye out for him and future articles from the con!]

 

too many games

3. TooManyGames
Date:
June 26 – 28, 2015
Location: Oaks, PA
Ticket Price: All 3 Days $35, Saturday $30, Sunday $18, plus other types
Attendance (2014): 4,000+

TooManyGames is one of our smaller conventions on this list, but do not be fooled! The experience offered by this little convention can really pack a punch. The basic skeleton of TooManyGames is that the space used is mostly a marketplace for selling, trading, and buying all kind of videogames and consoles. Not only can you find official merchandise, you can also find a ton of handmade crafts and gaming memorabilia from a wide range of talented artists.

Ever heard of the Angry Video Game Nerd? He’s a regular guest celebrity at TooManyGames, making him one of the highlights of the convention. Each year he hosts a panel where he’ll answer your questions, participates in a signing for autographs and photographs, and even attended the After Party in 2014 with the people who got the Final Boss Package.

TooManyGames also hosts some panels and offers concerts in their concert hall. Throughout the day, you can listen to DJ Cutman play tunes at his booth, and you can even swing by gaming area to play on both console and arcade cabinets. There’s a lot that TooManyGames has to offer, and for the price it’s worth a look.

 

pax prime

4. PAX Prime
Date: August 28 – 30, 2015
Location: Seattle, WA
Ticket Price (2014): 1 Day $35, All 4 Days $110
Attendance (2014): 70,000+

PAX Prime basically offers the same things that PAX Prime does, except it’s hosted on the west coast instead of the east. Although PAX Prime was the first of the PAX conventions, it’s now becoming more of an equal to the others than the top dog. Even after expanding into PAX East in 2010, both conventions have seen their numbers double in size. Both of these events are known to be the largest gaming events in the United States of America!

 


gaymerx

5. GaymerX
Date:
December 11 – 13, 2015
Location: San Jose, CA
Ticket Price: Regular $67.66, VIP $141.19, plus other donor type
Attendance (2014): 2,150

GaymerX is our newest addition to the gaming convention list, but it offers something that others have not in the past years. While it caters to the videogame culture like the others, it also places emphasis on being LGBT-friendly. This was the foundation of its creation back when it was funded through Kickstarter in 2012 for a planned 2013 event date. The mission for the gaming convention was to unite LGBT gamers and be a safe place for them to hang out.

Like other conventions, GaymerX offers panels, workshops, and a variety of other gaming related activities. The panels are more focused on the LGBT community and their influence in gaming. The previous year offered a cosplay pageant and a dance party, which is hoped to be brought back for the upcoming one held this December.

So there you have it: That’s our list! Make sure to check out the cons, and give us suggestions if we missed anything. Hope to see you all there! Also, support independent games journalism and contribute to our Patreon campaign!

About Adam Watson

Adam Watson was addicted to video games way back when he was a wee kid, pretending to be sick just to stay at home from school and play on the SNES. Now at the age of 24, he's found a way to study for his Physics degree and play video games in the same day. He's acquired enough Lifetime Happiness Points to get the Meditative Trance Sleep reward so that he has more time in the day to do all of this.

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