The GameStop Expo is like many conventions, but unlike their counterparts this one was held in our hometown of Las Vegas. Enter the Sands Convention Center! Even with the long line, which had around 400+ attendees lined up for those convention doors to open, getting into the convention was a breeze. The nicely sprawled out booths and roomy aisles were a relief compared to the overpacked halls of San Diego Comic Con.
An expected 2,000 people were to be in attendance on the only day that gamers like me were allowed to attend. The first 2 days were for industry professionals as GameStop managers were introduced to the next generation X-Box One and the Playstation 4 consoles and highly anticipated games like Battlefield 4 and Titan Fall.
The build up for the GameStop Expo was high. It allowed the gamers to participate in activities that they would only hear and see at gaming industry expos like the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Other gamer expos like Penny Arcade Expo are world renowned for every aspect of gaming like console and even table top and card gaming, but are harder to attend due to the inability to get in, locations and ticket prices.
For the GameStop Expo it was a little piece of what to expect for the holiday season. From the moment I even got in front of the convention doors, banners lined up the halls with upcoming video games like EA’s FIFA 14 franchise, Skylanders and WWE 2K14. Even further down the way an oversized menacing mech warrior from X-Box One’s upcoming game Titan Fall was on display for convention attendees to take picture with as it gripped them to their doom.
Once I got through those doors I was greeted by the Sony Playstation booth as they had the new Playstation 4 console on hand to play. As soon as I got there lines were already created as eager fans waited to get their hands on the soon to be released console. Games to try out included Beyond Two Souls, Sack Boy, Sly Cooper, Kratos and other icons of their gaming franchises.
I was on my way to take a gander at Microsoft X-Box One booth when the fattie in me saw something that I had to get, South Park ice cream brought to you by Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo! The marketing people over at Comedy Central’s longest syndicated TV show had an ingenious way of getting attendees hyped up for Matt Parker and Trey Stone’s newest and possibly greatest South Park game the Stick of Truth.
After my splurge on 3 cups of ice cream, (Hey, I didn’t have my cup of coffee this morning and needed the sugar for the day, don’t judge me!) I went over to the X-Box booth where players got the chance to try out various games like Project Spark. Surprisingly, though both Playstation and X-Box were on hand showing off their games, they weren’t showing the capacity of games you would think of. Luckily the game companies like Capcom, EA Sports, Ubisoft, 2K Games had their own booths that fans were checking out.
What the GameStop Expo had that many of the other gaming conventions don’t are demos of the anticipated bigger titles that many fans are anxious to play like Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Titan Fall, which had lines that never ended. But the wait was worth it to just get a taste of the yet to be released games that are guaranteed hits!
Other games like Adventure Time had functions that had fans entertained like, cos-play contests as well as their respective video game demos. Another anticipated X-Box One exclusive Dead Rising 3 had photo ops with zombies. Other demos that were on the floor included Dark Souls 2, WWE 2K14, NBA 2K14, LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes, the latest installment of the Castlevania franchise, Diablo III, Disney’s Infinity, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Adventure and of course the game I drooled on, Batman: Arkham Origins!
One thing that surprised me was that the music genre games were still alive and man were they kicking! Unlike Rockband where you had to tap buttons on game controller instruments to coincide with the time sensitive colored markers, games like Band Fuse: Rock Legend and Rocksmith you control an actual guitar as you learn how to play. Not to mention you jam out to your favorite bands and perform their songs.
A game I was curious to try is a well known franchise; Wolfenstein: The New Order. The original the first person shooter we have all grown to love, Wolfenstein has been re-imagined with Nazi Germany having won World War 2, and attain all the achievements the United States did. The first person shooter lives on as I was not disappointed to play this new version!
Over at the Nintendo booth there were stand-ins where attendees would climb into and have photo ops with their favorite characters like Donkey Kong, Mario and even a live Luigi who was walking around. He was also playing with the gamers as they tried out new Wii U games like Donkey Kong Country Tropical, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World.
Gaming wasn’t the only thing going on at the expo. Acclaimed comic book artist Todd MacFarlane, video game concept artists Jesse van Dijk, voice actor Nolan North, known for his voice work as Nathan Drake from the Uncharted franchise, Desmond Miles from Assassin’s Creed and the Penguin in Batman: Arkham City was also in attendance signing for fans. In addition to just signing, 2K Games had a meet and greet with Indiana Pacers Paul George as the NBA star promoted the newest installment of NBA 2K14. Wrestling legend The Ultimate Warrior was in attendance to promote WWE 2K14 as the game franchise was the newest acquisition for 2K Games when the WWE Game left THQ due to bankruptcy. If you know me at all, I of course waited almost 2 hours in line to meet one of the most influential professional wrestlers of all time.
After having a lengthy discussion with the Ultimate Warrior, I walked around the whole convention floor, checked out some more games, played a little Titan Fall, ate some more South Park ice cream and checked out the GameStop store. At this point, I hear a commotion, a loud ovation and screaming. I ran around the floor to find out what the noise was for. I quickly found the source. To my surprise it was 5:00 p.m. already. That meant there was only an hour until the convention floor closed. The Sony Playstation booth had its employees hand out items from their games, Skull Candy headphones, controllers and other high end products that gamers would climb over each other for. They employees got on top of the Skull Candy booth and had the very large crowd screaming at the top of their lungs for attention. The crowd had their hands up begging for a freebie.
With minutes to spare, I did a final go around to check out and take a few more photos of anything else I wasn’t able to see earlier. With a majority of the crowd at the Playstation booth I moved more freely than earlier in the day.
For this being my first gaming convention, I had a fun time. A lot of memories were made, and my excitement grew even bigger than ever for the games I tried out. This being only the second time the GameStop Expo was open to the public I could understand why this convention was getting bigger. It was a place where gamers can have a good time and try to get a taste of the games they were eagerly awaiting.
For more information on other conventions like the GameStop Expo, checkout Nerdlocker’s convention section of the site for more con goodness! http://www.nerdlocker.com/category/cons
Check out the photo gallery of the expo below: