This was my first year attending Game On Expo and I don’t think it will be my last. I’m constantly gaming, so the familiarity presented at the con was exciting and provided a slice of home for me. There was a good balance of vendors and local artists, so I spent a good amount of time browsing everything there was to offer and finding justification to not spend a ton of money. Vendors had old and new school memorabilia covering all kinds of games and systems. They also sold old, hard to find systems and custom skins for consoles and controllers. Artists had impressive pearler artworks, adorable plushies, and lots of apparel and accessories.
The first panel I attended was a group of five girls with different gaming tastes and cultural backgrounds discussing what it’s like to be a female gamer. The discussion was fluid and informative, and there was good interaction from the audience as well. I do hope there are more panels like that in the future, as there was a young girl in the audience who got very excited when a game she knew was talked about. Treat everyone who plays Overwatch with respect, as that girl, who couldn’t be any older than ten years old, was a Symmetra main.
There were many tournaments going on throughout the console section of the con. The competition was fierce, but fun and fair. There were tons of set-ups for Super Smash Bros, and I personally witnessed the Guilty Gear tournament (hosted by Taiyou-Con), Tetris, Street Fighter V, and various other fighting and competitive puzzle games. The DDR machine was always in constant use, as well, and as a huge lover of rhythm games, I loved walking past the machine and hearing some of my favorite songs.
I walked into another panel by mistake, but it was indeed a happy accident. It was one of the voice actor panels that included the actress of Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, GlaDos from Portal, and Clementine from The Walking Dead video game to name a few. It was a fun and exciting panel, as well as informative since they were able to open the floor for people to come up and ask questions.
I was also able to do video interviews with the voice actresses of Symmetra, Anjali Bhimani, and Sombra, Carolina Ravassa, from Overwatch! I was very nervous since this was my first time on camera, but Anjali was so sweet and really boosted my confidence before the interview. Since Symmetra is a confirmed as autistic character, Anjali mentioning that she’s able to connect with fans on the spectrum was a special moment for me. She also mentioned that the voice actor of Solider 76 is able to connect with wounded veterans, another fan base I didn’t even realize existed. She knows the game is special and the fan base is large, with many different walks of life, so I loved speaking with her. When I interviewed Sombra’s voice actress, Carolina, she was very strong, confident, and proud to be part of the Overwatch community as well. I loved interviewing both of them, so I hope I’m able to interview more of the cast in the future. They both were so attentive to their fans, and it was really wholesome to watch.
The layout of the convention was fairly organized, since this was a transition year for the event to grow. I’m sure next year will be even bigger. The staff was also very polite and friendly. They were also fair amount of props that could and could not be allowed in. Congratulations to Game On Expo for a fun, successful year!