SoCal Gaming Expo 2024 Makes Massive Improvements

 SoCal Gaming Expo 2024 

Makes Massive Improvements

(SoCal Gaming Expo 2024 Review)

If you have read my article about last year's SoCal Gaming Expo (which you can find here: you would know that although I felt the show was fun overall, there were multiple things I felt needed to improve. I had outlined 5 key opportunities the show had and discussed how they could be addressed. Shortly after last year's event, it was announced that Pixel Game Squad had worked out a deal and purchased the event from the previous owners. I could not wait to see what they could do with this event, especially since the new owners are also based in Southern California which would likely help with organizing an event of this size.

The five improvements I had wanted to see the show make were as follows: Planning, more planning, increased attention to the arcade area, displays or items from the history of video games and simply a larger space that would betters suit the convention. Let's look at each of these now starting with the event space it self.

This year the event found itself back at the Pasadena Convention Center which I feel honestly houses the event extremely well. This convention center has another building which was unable to be used because it was previously booked, but could be used to expand the show in the future. In fact I had heard that about 70 vendors had to be turned away due to space limitations. This proves the show could expand into the additional building in the future with even more attractions and vendors for guests to browse through. It's all up to how well the organizers can plan out next year's event and if they can book the additional space in advance. 

Getting in and out of the venue seemed to flow very well for the most part, though the speed going in could always be faster. Once you enter the event there are two hallways. The hallway to the left held space for various vendors and the hallway to the right had a few vendors, but was mostly dedicated to arcade machines and a video game history area. This checked off two boxes of improvements the event made. The arcade area was expanded and felt like time was taken to secure the machines and the layout for where they went. The history area I referred to featured "The Art of Nintendo Power Exhibit" and "World of Gaming Apparel Exhibit" both highlights of the show for me. Seeing the classic merch and original creations used for Nintendo Power Magazine was incredible. I would highly recommend checking it out if you have the opportunity. As you have read, the things I was asking to be addressed were addressed this year and they did not stop there. The show also housed a large hall used mostly for playing tournaments, but also had retro games hooked up to CRT for people to play. This area was well organized and attracted many attendees throughout the show. A skate ramp was put in and featured people skateboard as the show was going on. This brought the vibe of the 80's and 90's to the event which helped it lean into its retro roots. 

Where can the show improve from here?
If I were one of the owners of the show, I would be deliberately planning to hold the 2025 event at the Pasadena Convention Center again, but expand it into the other building which was not used. This will likely make picking a date more complicated, however, the investment would be worth potential for growth.  Furthermore, I would try and plan this event away from other big conventions as much as possible. The event this year could have attracted more big names from the internet and YouTube if it was held further away from similar events like Too Many Games. If booked effectively, those bigger names could bolster the panels brining even more attention onto the event and justifying the expanded space at the same time.

My Experience
Overall, I had a blast at this show and was extremely satisfied with all the improvements that were made from the previous year. Although there is still room to further improve, I am impressed with level of thought and care that was clearly placed in the show from seemingly every angle. I would imagine many of the attendees feel the same. Typically, the last day of these events attendance is substantially lower, however, that was not the case this year. Although the last day was slower, it was not nearly as slow as the year prior. This was likely due to the better layout and simply more stuff for attendees to engage with.  Tournaments, arcade machines, tons of vendors, panels, retro games hooked up and ready to play, live music, stand up comedy all these things were present at the event. I look forward to seeing what the event organizers are able to accomplish next year!

Check out the full Vlog Here:


- Matthew Marozzi

Follow me on X (Formerly Twitter) @FROMNJ2CA