The SoCal Gaming Expo already had the crown for the the best gaming event in Southern California. The 2024 event took over the Pasadena Convention Center from June 8-9. Attendees were treated to a packed event hall, free-play arcades, tournaments, and plenty more. Compared to the previous effort at the Ontario Convention Center, this was a breath of fresh air. There were tons more vendors and other things to do.

Starting off with those vendors, as soon as you walked into the hall, you were greeted by vendor booths selling various consoles, retro games, modern games, and other collectibles. This time around, they filled up the main hall of the convention center and even had some spilling out into the hallways. As for the biggest question, what about the prices? Well, that’s not really up to the convention to tell booths how to set prices. Retro games have been drastically increasing in price since 2020 and there’s really no sign of stopping. I can report that the prices on the floor were pretty damn good. It was the marketplace at work with booths providing reasonable prices on most things. Obviously, those rare and hard-to-find items were priced accordingly, but there were deals to be found all over.

The other activities outside of shopping were also a highlight of the SoCal Gaming Expo. If you don’t like dimly lit halls, this one might not have been for you, but the tournament and free-play area was packed to the rafters with games and live streams. Between Tetris, Smash Bros., and Mario Kart, you could have gotten your fill of great players and games.

My only real complaints about the convention were the extraordinarily long line to get in on Saturday morning and the spotty cell/WIFI service in the convention hall. If you didn’t bring cash with you, it was hard to get any sort of service for card readers or digital payment services. I normally wouldn’t complain about not bringing cash, but the entire world is going cashless; it’s not something you think about anymore.

The line to get in on Saturday stretched around the building and then some. Now, for the promoters and the Convention Center, this was probably great. It’s free drive-by advertising, and it means that there was a nice crowd coming into the event. However, once the event hall opened at 10:00 AM, it took about 30-40 minutes to enter. It could help get more people outside scanning badges or tickets for future events.

I wasn’t there for the guests, but for those who wanted to meet and talk to some of gaming’s biggest and best personalities, that section was large. They had plenty of guests from voice artists, YouTube personalities, and more. Overall, the SoCal Gaming Expo was a resounding success on almost every count. Here’s to hoping that the 2025 event is even bigger and better.

Check out the SoCal Gaming Expo website for information!

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