I get the chance to cover a lot of the gaming conventions that roll into Las Vegas and I love the GameStop Expo. In many ways, it is like a mini-E3! It has many of the same photo op pieces such as the Mario “Capo” tank, Pickachu, Spiderman, Iron Man, and Freddy from 5 Nights At Freddy (it must have been about 10 feet tall). There were lots of celebrities to get pictures with like Gary Payton, Alexa Bliss, Kirk Angle, and even a wandering Pickachu. There was a surprisingly small contingency of cosplayers until I found out what other cons were happening this week and which ones were coming up (it has AX in it).
For a long while, the GameStop Expo was an industry-only event for GameStop employees. Now, however, it is open to the public and they even sell a VIP pass that garners the attendee a sweet swag bag. Of course, a huge draw for the convention was getting the chance to play demo builds of games that are not out yet: The Evil Within 2, Vampyr, the latest Super Mario Bros., Star Wars Battlefront 2, and a lot more. Speaking of Battlefront 2, that demo station had a never ending line that had to be cut off before the end of the day, it’s going to be a VERY popular title. The Nintendo Switch was there for display and Nintendo of America reps were there to answer my questions. Considering how many controllers I have mastered over the years, the Switch Joy Con controllers will take a little while to “get”. The simple fact that moving the controller and splitting it in half was introduced it shouldn’t be that hard but I was instantly struggling, I think I almost caused the Nintendo rep teaching me to use them to have a breakdown – Sorry, Nintendo rep!
Those who are really in the know of this particular event go and check the GameStop mini stores built into the expo floor and the benefits room. They look like GameStop shops but all the inventory is either drastically discounted, rare to find or, in some cases, both. I missed a big one and saw just about everyone walking around with a Disney Treasures boxes clutch tightly to them so I couldn’t even see in the bags. They had $2 shirts, $5 hoodies and their wall of shirts that would be between $15-$20 in the stores were all $10. Those who were seeking out rare Funko Pop! Vinyls figures needed to just keep checking back throughout the day to see what new stock came out, we got a few hard to find horror ones that showed up midday and were gone in minutes.
There were a couple vendor aisles which I don’t remember from two years ago when it was last in Las Vegas, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. Also, it felt like there weren’t as many booths as in previous years but that is possible that I am remembering when it was last here it was for employees so lines were shorter and smaller crowds make a place feel bigger. Either way I highly recommend going to the GameStop Expo and am anxiously awaiting its return!