Gamers new and old flocked to the Ontario Convention Center for the third annual SoCal Retro Gaming Expo on Feb. 4-5.
Fans were exposed to variations of gaming from simple board games to retro gaming counsels and classic pinball machines.
With its growing exposure, the Expo rose in numbers – attracting approximately 3,300 attendees. This was all thanks to the growing retro-gaming community in Southern California.
“This is my second time coming to this convention after my friend referred me,” George Villa explained, who traveled from Las Vegas to participate in the Expo. “I’m looking forward to hanging out with friends and having a good time playing hard to find games.”
The expo was not only filled with retro games, but cosplayers as fans expressed their love and fellowship.
“This is our first dress up here with each other,” Tina Ngyunem said, who was wearing a matching “The Legend of Zelda” Link cosplay costume with Julie Tran. “It took about a day to make our costumes, but it’s cool to do this with a friend.”
A bright future awaited the Expo. With the growth in popularity, there was a larger interest in all things retro. This lead more people to attend for their chance to get their hands on exclusive items that can’t be found anywhere else.
“I am looking forward to dealer halls,” Kazumi Boone stated. “I like to collect items that are unique.”
The convention also included a variety of vendors selling everything game related merchandise such as handmade paintings, visual graphics, ceramics and t-shirts.
The coolness factor didn’t end there. The Expo held panels that featured various guest speakers like Phil Moore from the hit Nickelodeon show “Nick Arcade” as well as YouTubers Jirard Khalil “The Completionist“, Pat “The NES Punk” Contri and Andre Meadows from “Black Nerd Comedy” and many more.
“Movies and music is usually predetermined, but with gaming you get to choose your own destiny of what will happen to you,” Bill and Jay of the YouTube channel “Game Chasers” explained during their panel. “You get lost in the land of the virtual reality and use it to escape everything you don’t want to face.”
During the duration of the convention, happy faces were present as groups of families visited the familiar grounds of gaming as parents relish their childhood memories while playing with their kids.
“Gaming was one of the first forms of entertainment when I was a child,” Contri explained, who’s also the author of “The Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library”. “It just opens up your eyes to a different world and characters. It’s fun and it’ll always be. It’s timeless.”
Between attending panels and checking out the games, live bands played covers of hit video game soundtracks.
The Koopas, Viking Guitar, Vic Viper and Super MadNESS all preformed at the evening’s after party.
Whether visitors were avid gamers or not, the SoCal Retro Gaming Expo was sure to leave an impression with its aesthetic vibes and nerdy charm.
For future SoCal Retro Gaming Expo information, head to their website.