THE Game Expo (TGX) inaugural event wrapped up in Melbourne last weekend, signalling the addition of a new gaming event to the city’s cultural calendar.
TGX, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre over the weekend of March 11-12, attracted more than 7000 attendees; representing ‘sold out’ status according to the organisers.
Four of the Game On Aus team were at TGX (Myself, Mikeey, Natty and DoomCutie) and experienced different aspects of the first-time event, ranging from creator networking opportunities to playing retro games to browsing the artist stalls to sampling the refreshments in the VIP lounge.
More than 70 staff and event organisers helped bring TGX together and the showfloor, occupying a room at the convention centre, had a cross-section of gaming elements including a LAN, cosplay stage, a Just Dance stage, local artists selling gaming/pop-culture themed creations, TTRPG play areas, a board game library, chess sets, fighting game tournaments, and charity events.
Melbourne’s Cosplay community were out in force, with large numbers of people dressing up for the event – and the standard of costumes was very high, with some impressive outfits that had a lot of skill and attention put into them.
The Game Expo Cosplay Cup was won by “Vamprea”, playing Klee from the Genshin Impact games, with second place going to “ZZ Madness”, playing Aranea Highwind from Final Fantasy XV, and third place going to “Miss Twisted” as Tanta Sila from Forspoken; “Goldwave Cosplay” received a commendation award for her portrayal of Resident Evil: Village‘s Lady Dimitrescu and “Fluto” received the encouragement award for his costume of Zagreus from the game Hades.
I don’t envy the judges when it came down to picking the winners – there really were an amazing array of costumes at the event from pretty much every major gaming franchise or anime you could think of.
The Apex Creator Showdown was one of the highlight events of TGX with 19 creators from Apex: Legends clashing on the virtual battlefield; but since I’m not involved in the Apex community and couldn’t even begin to tell you who’s who or offer any insightful commentary or analysis on the results, I’m just going to post the leaderboard screenshot:
The fighting game stages (there were two) proved especially popular, with a number of championships for games including Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Strive, and Dragon Ball FighterZ, among others.
Pro Tekken 7 player Rest, from Korea, was also present at the event, with many fans and players taking the opportunity to meet and chat with him.
On the less competitive front, tabletop gaming was quite well represented; there were not only TTRPG games being run, but also a large boardgame library with titles for a wide range of ages and interests.
Somewhat surprisingly, I saw quite a bit of space had been given over to chess. Technically yes, it is gaming (one of the OG games, if we’re being honest) but I also think we can agree it’s not exactly front of mind when talking about “gaming” in the third decade of 21st century.
A charitable tournament for Rocket League also took place in support of The Cancer Council, while the AusSpeedruns team rounded out events by raising $2,200 for Game On Cancer through their speedrunning skills.
I was pleased to see a wide range of ages a the event, including families, and the official figures from the organisers show 38.06% of attendees were aged 18-24, 35.34% were in the 25-34 bracket, 12.36% were aged 35-44, 7.99% were aged over 45, and 6.26% were aged under 17.
We’d be doing our readers a disservice if we didn’t mention the event wasn’t without some teething issues, however – in particular, some expectation management issues whereby a number of attendees (including me) were under the impression the event was going to be larger in scope than turned out to be the case. The full schedule was also not released until the week of the event, which wasn’t ideal either.
Nearly everything the organisers promised would be at the event was there, however and, while it was a smaller scale event designed to appeal to a more community-focused part of gamerdom, there’s certainly plenty of potential there for future years – especially if the organisers take on board some of the feedback to improve things for 2024 and beyond.