Did anyone make it to Vegas last weekend for the LVL UP EXPO? While I don’t have an actual final head count, attendees who had been there in past years reported that there were exponentially more people there than ever before, an unsurprising increase in lvl up expo attendance considering all the positive feedback from previous years. This is definitely a good sign for such a young expo. It helps to have powerhouse sponsors like Microsoft (we all know how important the Xbox is to them). Jasco Games (table top/board games) and Rixty (alternative payment platform) were also major sponsors along with local businesses, Game Nest and PSG, both local Vegas arcades/gaming stores.
Sponsors aside, the guests were big draws for a lot of LVL UP visitors. I mentioned last week that YouTube celeb “Angry” Joe Vargas was going to be there. He was there on the second day in the convention hall and apparently held an impromptu discussion with attendees. Featured panels also included Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. McGlynn, American Anime Award Best Actress winner, is also a singer, writer, and director known for Alpha Protocol and Final Fantasy XIII, among other things. Blum is a voice actor, writer, etc. who has been part of too many things to list here. Just to give you an idea, he was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Prolific Voice Actor in Video Games with over 300 hundred credits to his name. The two spoke on both days on a joint panel. And of course, Finn himself, Jeremy Shada, voice actor and performer held panels both days and performed with his band Make Out Monday on Saturday night before heading to London, U.K. next week for two shows.
The cosplay was also a big hit with a wide variety of characters and various panels to improve or enhance your cosplay. The competition boasted a $1000 grand prize and smaller cash prizes for the three runners up. You can check out videos from this year and past years on YouTube.
And what would the LVL UP be without gaming tournaments? There were table top games as well as a list of video game tournaments including: Super Smash Bros. Wii U, Hearthstone, Rock Band 4 Battle of the Bands, CrossFire Casual and Competitive, Street Fighter 5, Guilty Gear XRD Revelator, Halo 5, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, Mario Kart 8, and League of Legends. If you want to see the Super Smash Bros. Wii U 1v1 and 2v2 game play, you can watch the tournament play as well as interviews with four of the top finishers at VG Boot Camp. Those players are ScAtt, Larry Lurr, VoiD, and Nairo.
Along with all of the sponsors and guests and games, the expo is building up quite the fan base. Both Facebook (LVL UP EXPO) and Twitter (@LVLUPEXPO) show a strong following. The expo’s Facebook rating is 4.9 out of 5. People were tweeting for months waiting for this event to come up again and can’t wait to get their tickets for next year. This is definitely an up-and-coming event to keep in mind when thinking about attending an event in the future.
I found some items from other conventions that would be great finds for any gamer:
- E3 2015 Nintendo WiiU Super Smash Bros. Cold Drink Cosey Rare – Because the expo had a Super Smash Bros. tournament.
- Adventure Time Nightime Finn Plush 11″Comic Con SDCC Exclusive Plush Figure Rare – I thought this was fitting since the guy who does Finn’s voice was at the LVL UP EXPO.
- RARE EXCLUSIVE NINTENDO E3 employee purple drawstring backpack only 120 exist! – This was an exclusive item only given to people working the convention.
- LIMITED COLLECTORS EDITION SEMA 2015 Gran Turismo Huge Black Throw Pillow 18×18 – They have two, buy both for a matching set!
- E3 Bethesda Sealed Lanyard + Complete Pin Set Elder Scrolls Online Rare
Check out additional swag from past gaming conventions and expos!