The 2023 Game On Expo is set to return at the Phoenix Convention Center (South building) this weekend, Aug. 11-13.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a longtime regular to the event, there’s plenty to do and see over the three-day convention. From vendors, tournaments, concerts, and more, Game On Expo will be having a jam packed schedule. Here’s a few highlights you may not want to miss:
Retro World Championships
Ever watch the cult-classic movie The Wizard and wish you could participate in an ultimate video game championship gauntlet? Well, the Retro World Championships is your chance to do just that! Attendees will have the chance to compete in several classic Nintendo games and be crowned the winner (alongside a pretty cool looking championship belt).
And if you’re in the mood for something competitive but with more recent titles, a slew of tournaments will be held over the weekend for games such as Rocket League, Mario Kart 8, Guilty Gear Strive, Street Fighter 6, and more.
Shihori, Mega Ran, and Holograms
Video games have come a long way and with it has been tons of waves in the music genre. Longtime nerdcore rapper Mega Ran will be performing at the convention on Friday night, followed by J-pop singer/songwriter Shihori on Saturday night, and tied together with Sergio and the Holograms.
Mega Ran is a local icon to Arizona, having several rap albums influenced by video games such as Final Fantasy 7 and Mega Man. Shihori has made waves in the video game music scene in numerous games, most notably with the song “Battle Queens” as featured in League of Legends. Sergio and the Holograms is the brainchild of Sergio Elisondo. Elisondo has crafted a full production of holograms of himself to perform alongside of. With a high-tech setup and 8-bit influenced music, this concert may be the one not to miss.
Among the programming for attendees are a ridiculous amount of panels to attend throughout the weekend. On Friday there will be a number of game shows including 1-2 Switch, The Nerdlywed Game, and Family Feud, as well as several panels revolving around gaming for charity and learning 3D printing. On Saturday there will be the cast of the first Mortal Kombat game reuniting, God of War: Ragnorak voice actors (Christopher Judge, Sunny Suljic, Ryan Hurst) discussing the latest entry into the series, a Halo panel featuring the original composer Marty O’Donnel and voice talent Bruce Thomas and Jeff Steitzer, and a feature of the Loud, Annoying, and Very Annoying! crew (Robbie Daymond, Max Mittelman, and Ray Chase) for plenty of laughs.
Sunday may be the last day of the convention, but it’s no slouch. Daisuke Tsuji (Ghost of Tsushima) and Nadji Jeter (Spiderman: Miles Morales) will be sharing a panel, while Shihori will be following up her performance with a dive into musical career. This is only a few of the notable panels that will be hosted over the weekend, so attendees should be sure to get their schedules set ahead of time!
The Art of Nintendo Power exhibit
Magazines may be relegated to populate the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices these days, but in the past there were few more coveted among gamers than the monthly issue of Nintendo Power. The magazine was one of the longest running video game publications of its time, and often featured tips, tricks, and reviews for Nintendo games. The art exhibit will be featured at the convention for all three days, and offers an insightful look at the past mediums for video game news.
‘Max Reload and the Nether Blasters’ film screening
It’s not every day that there’s video game-themed movie shot locally in Phoenix, but that’s what Max Reload is. This independent movie was filmed at various local gaming spots and revolves around a store clerk that accidentally unleashes evil long-buried within a cursed Colecovision game. The film will be screened Saturday afternoon followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers.
Tickets are still available for purchase at the Game On Expo website. Attendees can choose from single-day or full-event passes ranging from $45-$70 depending on the day. Prices will increase when purchased day-of or at the door. More information on the schedule, offerings, guests, and more can be found on the Game On site.