G.A.M.E. Expo 2018: A Great Convention To End a Great Year

Small conventions can either be a massive success or leave you with a feeling of what could be. My first time at G.A.M.E Expo was far from a disappointing experience to say in the least. While it was not the biggest, nor the most diverse convention that I have attended, it still had character and charm. Running now for 10 solid years, this local convention has managed to grow from a hard first few years into something of a special point for many locals here in Springfield, Missouri. The convention itself is a board game and visual entertainment expo and not strictly an anime or comic book focused convention. Still that hasn’t stopped the growing cosplay community from providing a bit of an influential nudge in the right direction; at least in my opinion.

What one can expect from their attendance to G.A.M.E is the chance to spend the day playing tabletop games (D&D, Pathfinder & traditional tabletop games like Catan) with friends and strangers alike. If tabletop games aren’t your jam then you are in luck, because there are also video games to be played. Consoles range from classics like the NES all the way up to a PS4 with PSVR. Still not entertained? Then why not try out the LARP combat arena and take on some challenging LARPers. If you cannot find any fun from that, then this may not be an ideal convention for you; that or you lack any interest in anything remotely fun. Still, this isn’t a convention that is trying to compete with other local cons, such as Visioncon. Instead it is carving out a path born from the pure enjoyment of have fun with friends and strangers alike.


G.A.M.E is a small convention that focuses instead on its people and making sure that all attendees are having fun and an accessible time at the convention. I cannot say the same about other conventions that I have been fortunate to attend this year that have around the same attendance. Where others failed to utilize the space allotted to them, G.A.M.E proves capable of understanding the exact space needed to pull their event off, with room for overflow if needed. This clever use of space lets you know that the organization level of the convention staff is quite capable and very understanding. It also means that you as an attendee feel all the more focused on and supported.

My time at the convention was shorter than I liked, but I got a majority exposure that Saturday afternoon and evening. The panels were of the convention variety, nothing special here, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t fun! However with only one room, it made presenting interesting. Still with the timeslots they had booked, it made the most logical sense to only use one room for the convention. What was fun was the costume contest and performance by local group Kira Kira Springfield. They made the night into something purely special for this conventions 10th running year. It just felt homey, welcoming and that is the point to all conventions, not just this one. If my bodies illness hadn’t prevented me from attending Friday, I would have gladly attended all three days of the expo. It was fun to see young and old attending, laughing and enjoying everything nerdy.


For me it offered one last convention photography session and a chance to meet new and talented cosplayers. To me that is what rounds out a convention for myself and this year was no different, being surrounded by amazing friends who know how to make the best of a photoshoot. While there were no specific areas allocated for cosplay shoots, the unused main area of the convention center was perfect for taking candid shots and staged ones too. Which there was a lot of unused space and while some can easily ding a convention for not making the most out of the allocated space, I can say that G.A.M.E again, made the best use of that space.


It doesn’t matter how big the convention (outside of successful attendance numbers) is, what matters is the content, the people that attend. For a convention to succeed, it needs to have a face, a human face that is open to everyone and caring all the same. A massive thank you to Chris Stuart for getting me a press pass to attend his event and thank you for letting me experience a human side to a convention. It is often hard to remember that at the end of every convention, it is all about the people that put on the show. The passionate members of the board that make the convention what it is: Something memorable.

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