This weekend, March 31 – April 2, the 2023 Midwest Gaming Classic will take over all three floors of the downtown Wisconsin Center. Once again, MGC will deliver a jaw-dropping, near-overwhelming amount of gaming and gaming-adjacent goodness. BUCKLE UP, MILWAUKEE.

Where to begin? There’ll be free-play pinball, arcade, and console games. There’ll be a playable “museum” of classic and obscure consoles and systems. There’ll be oodles of tournaments and esports competitions. There’ll be tabletop games, tabletop RPGs, and trading card games. There’ll be panels, meet-and-greets, music, cosplay, and more. A lot more. The event is expected to draw 20,000 attendees from around the world. Milwaukee is ridiculously lucky to call MGC its own.

“Our goal is to create a fun and welcoming environment where people of all skill levels can gather to enjoy their favorite games and discover new ones,” says MGC co-founder Dan Loosen. “In addition to hardcore gamers, a common sight on the weekend is parents sharing their childhood favorites with their kids, such as Oregon Trail, pinball games, Pokémon cards, or NBA Jam.”

Personally, I’m looking forward to, well, everything. Especially the pinball! Oh, and these eight weirdly specific, weirdly geeky things. See you this weekend, Milwaukee! (Get your tickets HERE.)

Mortal Kombat II: 30 Years of Brutality

On Saturday, from 3-3:45 p.m., I plan on GETTING OVER HERE (to MGC) and checking out a panel celebrating three decades of the forever-awesome Mortal Kombat II. All the character actors from the classic game will be in attendance, and you better believe there’ll be some in-depth discussion of the game’s many Fatalities. Bring on Jax’s Head Clap!

The actors behind all of the characters in Mortal Kombat II take to the stage to discuss what went into making a sequel to the smash hit original. Tasked with topping a game that made parents and politicians squirm, together they created a sequel that is often held up as the best entry in the series. Find out the stories behind the moves, the fatalities and even the friendships with this incredible panel as we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Mortal Kombat II! FIGHT!

World of Nintendo Retail Store Exhibit

Remember in the early days of the Nintendo Entertainment System when stores wouldn’t just carry NES games, but would transform their entire electronics departments into “Worlds of Nintendo”? On Friday, this exhibit will recreate those magical retail wonderlands! In your face, recently opened Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios!

Step into the World of Nintendo with this unforgettable living history exhibit! Travel back to a time when stores were transformed into immersive, animated wonderlands, and experience the vibrant history of Nintendo like never before. With this exhibit, you’ll have the rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of what a World of Nintendo store was like in the 1990s. Don’t let this rare chance to delve into the history of Nintendo pass you by! Located in the Video Game Sage room.

EGM Reunion: Reflections on Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazine

If the words “Sushi-X” and “Sheng Long April Fool’s Joke” mean anything to you, you were probably an avid reader of Electronic Gaming Monthly during its early-’90s heyday. On Saturday, from 6-6:45 p.m., a group of EGM writers will reunite and reminisce about their time at the magazine. I’m kicking myself for not saving my old issues, because I totally would have asked them to sign a few.

Electronic Gaming Monthly was one of the most influential gaming publications for years, with writers like Trickman Terry and the mysterious Sushi-X being discussed in revered tones on schoolyard playgrounds everywhere. Hear what it was really like to do what seemed like the best job ever – playing and writing about all the latest and greatest games for EGM with Terry Minnich, Ken Williams, Mike Vallas, and Ray Price. Also, look forward to hearing the back story of the famous Sheng Long April Fools Joke that lives on to this day! Moderated by Frank Cifaldi, this panel is can’t miss!

Retronauts Podcast: The History Of Food Mascot Games

Will Saturday also feature a discussion of the history of food mascot games, like Kool-Aid Man for the Atari 2600 and Yo! Noid for the NES? YES IT WILL. From 4-4:45 p.m.!

Not long ago, corporations employed colorful cartoon characters to lure hungry and impressionable children into their dens of corn-based products. And, since this time period happened to overlap with the rise of video games, several representatives from the world of poor nutrition ended up starring in their very own interactive experiences. On this panel, join your friends on the Retronauts podcast as they chase the chuck wagon, avoid various Noids, and trace the sordid history of food mascot games.

Clint Basinger

There’ll be a TON of YouTubers and other online celebrities hanging around MGC, but, well, Clint Basinger is the only one I know (and love). Clint’s LGR channel is a super-chill and super-soothing celebration of old computer gear, odd computer gear, and more. In a world of insufferable and unwatchable gaming “influencers,” this dude is a breath of fresh, new-old-stock air.

Clint Basinger is the guy behind LGR, a YouTube series that began in 2009 and remains dedicated to revisiting retro technology and the history of computing. If it has a microprocessor, a keyboard, and comes in beige or woodgrain, chances are it’ll be “an LGR Thing” at some point.

Jonathan Brostoff

I’m not really into Magic: The Gathering, but I LOVE that Milwaukee 3rd District Alderperson Jonathan Brostoff is. A Magic-obsessed Alder! Only in Milwaukee! Only at MGC!

Jonathan Brostoff AKA TeamJbro is a Cube Twitch streamer and the most consistent and winningest MTGO Cube trophy leader of all time. He is also the 2019 SCG Cube Champion and the President of CubeCon. For the past 8 years he served the Wisconsin State Legislature as the Representative for Assembly District 19 and is now serving as Alderperson for Milwaukee’s 3rd District. He has a wonderful wife and three lovely boys who, when they come of age, will hopefully also become cube champions!

Preserving Our Past with the Video Game History Foundation

Isn’t it wild that due to changing technologies, general indifference, and/or certain eShops closing (*cough cough*), many video games can and will be forever lost to time? On Sunday, from 3-3:45 p.m., Kelsey Lewin and Frank Cifaldi will talk about the perils and importance of video game preservation. Hold on to your Virtual Boys, people. Those games (there are some good ones) can’t be emulated!

Retro games are more than just our memories, they’re a part of our cultural DNA. So why is it that libraries don’t have them, companies barely sell them, and we know almost nothing about the people who made them? VGHF co-directors Kelsey Lewin and Frank Cifaldi are here together for the first time at any MGC to answer those questions, show off cool stuff from the archives, and tell behind-the-scenes stories about just what it takes to save video game history.

Wingspan Tournament

I love boardgames and I love Wingspan. Not to brag, but I’m pretty good at Wingspan. On Saturday, beginning at noon, I plan on winning the Wingspan Tournament. For real. Look for my name in the papers the following Monday. You’ve been warned.

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth: A competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game played over four rounds. Players: 1-5 |Age: 10+ Estimated playing time: 40-70 minutes BGG Complexity Rating: 2.45/5

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