Every year during mid-April, my father and I attend a gaming convention called Midwest Gaming Classics. A period of time that usually results in great memories and empty wallets. We’ve been doing this ever since our friend Pat O’Malley over at Star Worlds Arcades told us about it. This recent MGC was our fifth consecutive year going, and it’s crazy to believe that I was a freshman in high school when we first went. The prior four years that we went had the convention being held in the Sheraton hotel located in Brookfield, WI, though this year there was bit of a change. The convention was held in a completely different location within Downtown Milwaukee that had not one, but two hotels held within the premises!
The hotel we stayed in was the Hyatt Regency hotel, with the only differences between the two being that Hyatt Regency was slightly older and didn’t have a pool. I know that this location would be bigger than the previous years, though I didn’t realize how big it was until I walked into the hotel itself! There’s eighteen different levels, though there’s technically only seventeen since the thirteenth floor is skipped. Still, it was pretty insane the first time as if we stepped into the album art of Please Please Me! There was even someone who helped bring our stuff up to our room which was cool. Though things didn’t stop there, the area that all of the events were held were split up into two levels.
A lot of the attractions from the previous years made an appearance. I especially liked swinging by the flea market area or the area they call “Vendors Hall”, since I don’t go to flea markets too often and I tend to blow my load of cash quite quickly! Aside from that, there were some other areas that let you play a various of different game consoles, arcade games, and even pinball machines, which is pretty sweet! Even our friends over at Star Worlds Arcade made an appearance! I talked to Pat about what he thought about the expansion. He told me that the greatly expanded space allowed for more over all traffic for Star Worlds. On top of that, I got to see the actual DeLorean in person, hold the incredibly coveted Nintendo PlayStation prototype, and even got to shake hand of famous Donkey Kong player, Billy Mitchell!
While all of these additions were super cool, there were some caveats that came with the expansion of MGC. Firstly, there was a lot of walking from our hotel room to the convention center and back. It may not seem that bad, but after a while it gets pretty tiring, especially when dropping one’s things off. Also, I felt that the atmosphere of the previous years’ conventions had much more of a sense of community, as everyone was closer together. Sure, there was less room, though I feel that was what gave MGC its charm in the first place. The bigger space, while allowing things to be spread out more, just lacked the spirit that the smaller location gave, with everything being well-lit all the time. Another thing I missed was going to the mall during previous years, as it was close to the location we were at. It’s the little things like that I feel really add to the experience of a convention like MGC.
Despite all of the gloomy aspects, I still had a blast at this year’s MGC! The expansion was a welcome change even with the small quirks there were. I got to meet a lot of cool people and got some cool games even with blowing through all the cash I had in a relatively short time. I plan on going to MGC next year as it’s always a treat attending events like this with my father. Hopefully by then, they can iron out some of the rough patches that I experienced with this year’s convention.