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Everything You Need to Know About Game On Mega Drive In This Weekend

A screenshot of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which will be played at this weekend's Game On Mega Drive In.EXPAND
A screenshot of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which will be played at this weekend's Game On Mega Drive In.
Nintendo of America

John Lester says organizers of this weekend’s Game On Mega Drive In aren’t playing around when it comes to safety.

“We're taking things very seriously. It's our top priority,” Lester says. “We obviously want to have fun, but we understand the seriousness of COVID, so we want everything to be safe.”

That’s why masks will be mandatory and both people and vehicles will be socially distanced at the drive-in event taking place on Friday, August 7, and Saturday, August 8, at WestWorld of Scottsdale. More importantly, the game controllers will be sterilized between each use, which Lester, one of the event’s organizers, says is an absolute must.

“It’s one of the only touchpoints we’ll have, so we’re not taking any chances,” Lester says.

This weekend’s event is aimed at filling the void left after this year’s Game On Expo, a popular video gaming con that draws thousands every summer, was canceled in May because of safety concerns. Lester says the Game On Mega Drive In is like a distilled version of the expo.

“There aren’t any vendors and everyone's going to be in or near their vehicles, so it's ultimately going to be different,” he says. “We’ve still got gaming, music, and a virtual cosplay panel, so it still has elements of what we do every year at the expo.”

It will also feature the screening of two game-inspired movies, including the locally produced Max Reload and the Nether Blasters, and separate Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments for prizes.

What else can you expect at the Game On Mega Drive In? The following guide features a complete rundown of the event, including all of the safety guidelines you’ll have to follow.

When and Where Is the Event?

Game On Mega Drive In takes place on Friday, August 7, and Saturday, August 8, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. Gates open at 6 p.m. each evening and the event goes until midnight.

How Much Are Tickets?

Admission is $30 per car, truck, van, or SUV, and can only be purchased online in advance. (A $10 discount is available if you use the promo code "Smash.") No tickets will be sold at the event. The number of people allowed in each vehicle can’t exceed the number of seat belts, according to Lester. “We don't want people cramming into cars unsafely, so there are limitations,” he says.

Are There Age Limits?

No. Game On Mega Drive In is open to people of every age, and children and families are encouraged.

What’s the Best Way to Get to the Event?

Your best bet is to take the Loop 101 Pima Freeway to Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. Once you exit, head north on Pima Road to the entrance of WestWorld of Scottsdale, which will be on your right. Lester says there will be signs posted directing people to the event.

What Will Getting Into the Event Be Like?

There will be a contact-free process where event staff will scan tickets – which can be emailed, texted, or downloaded to your smartphone – through your car window.

What Will the Parking Situation Be Like?

Spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and assigned by the event staff (so you’ll want to get there as early as possible to get a good spot). Vehicles will be spaced at least 10 feet apart. You’ll be required to remain inside or near your car at all times unless going to the restrooms or participating in the gaming competitions.

What Other Safety Measures Will Be Used?

Masks will be mandatory at all times when you are outside your vehicle. No exceptions. You’ll also be required to keep at least 6 feet away from others when you are away from your parking space. Staff will also enforce safety rules during the event.

What Will the Restroom Situation Be Like?

WestWorld’s on-site restrooms will be available, and Lester says they will be continuously cleaned throughout the event. You’ll have to maintain at least a 6-foot distance while waiting in line or using the facilities. On the plus side, the restrooms will be air-conditioned.

Will Food and Drink Be Available?

Lester says there will be no concessions or food vendors at Game On Mega Drive In. You are allowed to bring food and drink into the event (including alcohol). Coolers and grills will also be permitted, but you’ll have to keep them as close to your vehicle as possible.

What Else Will and Won’t Be Permitted at the Event?

Lester says that items like lawn chairs and blankets are also allowed under the same rules as other items. Fireworks, noisemakers, air horns, weapons, or anything else that’s dangerous or disrupted won’t be permitted at Game On Mega Drive In.

A scene from Max Reload and the Nether Blasters.EXPAND
A scene from Max Reload and the Nether Blasters.
CineForge Media

What Movies Will Be Screened at the Event?

Friday night will feature a showing of The Wizard, the beloved 1989 film starring Fred Savage that’s essentially a time capsule of the Nintendo Entertainment System's glory days. On Saturday, the Game On Mega Drive In will host the world premiere of the video game action-adventure flick Max Reload and the Nether Blasters, which filmed in the Valley and features Kevin Smith and actor Greg Grunberg.

What Other Activities Will Take Place?

According to the website, there will be nightly trivia contests, screenings of game trailers and commercials, and (as we mentioned) the two-night Super Smash Bros. Ultimate competition. Local indie band Snailmate will perform on Friday, while DJ Mercurius FM will spin a mix of video game and synth music on Saturday. The winners of the cosplay contest, which will feature videos and photos of participants, will also be announced on Saturday evening.

How Will the Gaming Competitions Work?

Separate double-elimination singles tournaments will take place each night. SAK Gaming will oversee the competition and prizes include gift cards from Bookmans and Collectors Marketplace, Nintendo Switch accessories, and more. Participants can register through the event website until 7:30 p.m. each night and there’s an entry fee of $10 per person. The tournament section will be located away from vehicles in its own designated section, and only participants will be permitted in the area.

Eight head-to-head Nintendo Switch stations with HD screens will be available. Things will be set up with players sitting across from each other, but with 6 feet of distance between each person and station. Participants are encouraged to bring their own controllers. If that’s not possible, Lester says controllers will be available to rent for $5 each and will be sanitized between uses.

More information about the tournaments can be found here.

A screenshot of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.EXPAND
A screenshot of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Nintendo of America

What's the Schedule for the Event?

Here's a rundown of what will happen each evening at Game On Mega Drive In:

Friday, August 7

6 to 6:30 p.m. – Gaming trailers and commercials
6:30 to 7 p.m. – The “Video Game Game Show” trivia contest
7 to 8:40 p.m. – Screening of The Wizard; SSBU tournament begins
7:30 p.m. — Registration for the SSBU tournament closes
8:40 to 9:15 p.m. – The “Video Game Game Show” trivia contest
9:15 to 10 p.m. – Performance by Snailmate
10 to 11 p.m. – Finals of the SSBU tournament (with commentary)

Saturday, August 8

6 to 6:30 p.m. — Gaming trailers and commercials
6:15 to 7 p.m. — Cosplay contest panel
7 to 8:40 p.m. — Screening of Max Reload and the Nether Blasters; SSBU tournament begins
7:30 p.m. — Registration for the SSBU tournament closes
8:40 to 9:15 p.m. – The “Video Game Game Show” trivia contest
9:15 to 10 p.m. – Performance by DJ Mercurius FM
10 to 11 p.m. – Finals of the SSBU tournament (with commentary)

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