Game On Expo is one of the most fun expos in Arizona, hands down. This is my second year attending and I just have to say that the joy this convention brings me is like no other! This year they pulled out all of the stops and brought incredible guests like Ryan Hurst (voice of Thor in God Of War: Ragnarok), Christopher Judge (Kratos in God of War), Nolan North (Nathan Drake in Uncharted), Steve Blum (Spike in Cowboy Bebop), and so many more! We already have a date announced for next year’s event, March 15-17, 2024, and they’re moving it to the bigger building in the Phoenix Convention Center!
Here’s everything we saw this year!
Game On 2023
The biggest draw of Game On is in its name… games! Everywhere you look in the main exhibit hall you’ll see arcade games, tournaments, and retro video gaming. There are hundreds of vendors with retro games to purchase and some have incredibly rare games for sale. It’s a dream come true for collectors and fans of retro games. We made two passes through the exhibit hall to make sure we didn’t miss anything! The tournaments are held all throughout the weekend. Anyone can join and play, but just know there will be an audience watching you! Over by the tournament section, there is an area full of games that anyone can play, from new consoles to classics, pinball, and arcade cabinets. There’s so much!
They also have a small section for board games and tabletop RPGs. Much like the video game section, there are tables with board games set up for people to play throughout the weekend too!
In one of the panel rooms, they featured the Art of Nintendo Power, which is a traveling exhibit that has incredible classic art from Nintendo Power issues over the years. Here’s a quick video about it:
They also had a section for Mario Kart Home Circut where kids and adults could steer the Kart around a real track using the Nintendo Switch. There was also Maid Cafe, which was very well attended!
The panels at Game On Expo this year were out of this world! Christopher Judge and Ryan Hurst had their panel on Saturday and it was a solid hour of laughter and heartfelt moments. Christopher Judge had a great time poking fun at the moderator, who did an excellent job holding her own up there! They talked about both of their experiences with working on God of War and how different it was from anything else either of them had worked on at the time.
Both of them shared the resounding sentiment that Santa Monica Studios was an incredible place to work. They shared stories of the company coming together to build up their employees and make everyone feel safe and welcome. You could really tell how proud both of them are to have worked on the game and both plan on working with Santa Monica Studios as long as possible.
Check out more highlights from all three panels I saw:
Some amazing panels that happened during this year’s Game On Expo! 2024 is already announced and is happening in Phoenix, AZ on March 15-17! #VoiceActors #Gaming #Phoenix #Arizona #GameOnExpo #Kratos #Thor #GodOfWar #ChainsawMan #DragonBallZ #MyHeroAcademia #Uncharted #CallOfDutyZombies #CowboyBebop #SonsOfAnarchy #stargatesg1
After Christopher Judge and Ryan Hurst’s panel, Nolan North and Steve Blum had their panel. For a second hour, I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt. North and Blum have such a great comedic partnership. This panel was unmoderated and they went back and forth calling on attendees for questions. Every time North would tell Blum it was his turn to pick Blum would go “I just picked” and sigh like it was the worst thing! Honestly, I’ve been to probably hundreds of panels in my 15 years of convention going, this panel was hands down my favorite. Learning about their friendship after all these years was really really cool to see.
The Exhibit Hall
Game On Expo does the exhibit hall like no other! However, I might be a bit biased because I find retro game hunting a fascinating experience. There is so much to see and so much to explore. Spending an entire day in the exhibit hall is recommended. As I mentioned above, we did two passes through the vendor section and I’m pretty sure we still missed something! We bumped into the guys of Pixel Game Squad, a YouTube channel my husband and I love. They found so much amazing stuff that I totally missed! So many talented artists selling prints, pins, buttons, bags, etc., filled the Artist’s Alley. Near the Artist’s Alley was where the celebrities were signing. If you walked by, you could catch a glimpse of everyone signing and meeting fans.
I highly recommend Game On Expo if you’re near the Phoenix, Arizona area and if video games are your thing. It’s just such a comfortable and fun convention! I can’t wait to see what they do with the expansion next year!