Las Vegas is a convention haven, catering to nearly every interest imaginable. Amidst car shows, construction expos, and even a Star Trek convention, the LVLUP Expo stands out for its diverse fandom appeal.

The bustling atmosphere of LVLUP was evident from the free GFuel samples at the entrance – a much-appreciated energy boost considering the packed schedule of panels and parties. The spacious, well-organized West Hall provided ample room for each section, but comfortable shoes were a must due to the sheer size of the venue. The Las Vegas Convention Authority thoughtfully provided the Vegas Loop for free transportation to and from parking lots and the monorail station.

Once inside, the fun began. Wild Bill’s Craft Beverages offered delicious craft sodas, including a diet option that didn’t taste like one. Mixing their vanilla creme and orange flavors created a delightful creamsicle drink. A personal favorite, I’ve enjoyed their beverages at conventions for the past nine years.

The expo offered a wide array of activities. A row of renowned anime and video game voice actors drew long lines of eager fans. Instagram-worthy selfie walls, a car show with customized anime cars, a busy tattoo booth, card game tables, and comic and character artists filled the hall. Card, retro video game, and fighter game tournaments entertained attendees, while Versus Pro Wrestling’s daily performances thrilled the crowds.

Vendors sold everything from cosplay props to the opportunity to participate in a scavenger hunt called Side Quest. New this year was axe throwing, a fun activity I’d love to try again at their smash house. I even had the chance to play the beginning of the new Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 game, leaving me eager to play more.

The heart of LVLUP lies in its extensive free-play gaming area. From Ms. PacMan to the full-sized Star Wars Battle Pod, Dance Dance Revolution, and even Asian video games I’d never encountered before, the variety was impressive. Card, fighting game, and retro console tournaments, projected on giant screens with guest commentators, rounded out the gaming experience. Outside the main hall, panel rooms hosted discussions with anime voice actors, cosplay education, and more.

The amazing cosplay added another layer of excitement to the event. LVLUP Expo consistently ranks among my favorites, the only challenge being fitting everything into the three-day schedule. If you’re in Las Vegas, this convention is definitely not to be missed.

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Dustin "Ripper71" Thomas has been a staff writer with for over 10 years and has taken on the role of Editor with a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief. He is also a co-founder of @IsItOctoberYet where he covers haunt nightmares, amusement park fun and Golden Knights hockey.