Last week, my girlfriend and I ventured from Connecticut to Oaks, Pennsylvania, USA (right outside of Philadelphia) for Too Many Games, a mid-sized classic video game convention. I’ve been to GDC, E3, and CES, but I’ve never been to a fan-oriented convention like this one. With that in mind, I had no idea what to expect.
Many of you might be interested in spending a weekend hanging out with your fellow classic game collectors at a convention like Too Many Games, and you might be wondering what it will be like. Fear not, because now that I’ve been there, I can give you a good idea of what kinds of events and things you can look forward to.
Of course, every convention is going to be a little different, but the overall idea should be similar. The vendors will be different, as will the panelists, but while the individuals might vary, you can rest assured that there will be people there selling goods, and there will be experts there speaking on their particular subject.
Most people who attend a classic game convention are probably collectors. There will be some exceptions, but for the most part, people who are fans of classic games also like to stockpile them. With this in mind, tons of vendors tend to come to these kinds of events hoping to sell their games to a wide, captive audience.
There are some things you will want to keep in mind with the vendors at game conventions. First of all, they know what they have, so don’t expect great deals. Will you find rare stuff that you won’t see out at flea markets and yard sales? Of course, but you are going to be paying market value for them. For example, a booth at Too Many Games had a TurboDuo, which is my most sought console. Currently, the value of a loose Duo around $300, and the price at the event was $300 on the button.
Still, in spite of the prices, if you attend one of these game conventions with some cash in hand, and are prepared for the fact that you are not going to get anything for an insane deal, you will be able to leave with some stuff you might never get your hands on otherwise.
There is going to be some wide variances in panels depending on where you go. Too Many Games had what is in my opinion the best panelist you could ask for: The Angry Video Game Nerd. It also featured a nice panel designed to teach collectors more about the art of collection hosted by a cool guy named Fat Chris. There were also concerts, comedy panels and more.
If the convention you are attending is anything like Too Many Games, they will list the panels on their website before the event starts. I highly recommend using this as a big factor in deciding whether you want to attend. You are only going to spend so much time looking through the vendor floor, and you are going to want some interesting panels to give you something else to do with your day.
If you get lucky and have a big name person, they may even do a signing, which is exactly what The Angry Video Game Nerd did after his panel.
Another useful tip in regards to panels is to use the time during the big ones to do your shopping if it does not interest you. If you are at a busy convention where getting to the vendor tables is difficult, the time during a big panel will make for the perfect oportunity to browse while a large portion of the attendees are busy elsewhere.
Of course, where you live will alter the people going to a game convention, but there are a few things you are likely to find anywhere you go. First, there will be people in costume. I don’t care where in the world you live, conventions like this draw cosplay. Second, people are generally pretty nice. After all, they share a common interest, and that is a love for classic gaming. Because of that, people generally tend to treat each other with respect at these events. Will there be exceptions? Of course, but most of the people I encountered were really cool.
Another thing I found was that there were a lot of really smelly people. I am not talking about a hint of body odor. No, I am talking to the point where I had to walk away because they smelled so bad. This is really no different from any gathering filled with large groups of people, but it’s still something to be aware of before you go. And if you think you might be one of those smelly people, do everyone a favor and throw some deodorant in your bag.
Other Cool Things To Look For
Outside of vendors and talks, there are plenty of other cool things to do at these conventions. The one I went to had tournaments for popular games like Mario Kart, Smash Brothers, and even a new fighting game in the form of Injustice. It also had board game sessions and Magic: The Gathering tournaments. There was even a free-play arcade area set up filled with about 20 different games.
Do Your Research
To summarize, you are just going to want to do your research before you buy a video game convention ticket. Has the convention been around for a while, or is this their first year? What kind of events are they holding? Do they have a vender list? Finding out the answer to these questions will allow you to make sure you have as much fun as you possibly can, and that is what these things are all about!