Your guide to Game On Expo in Phoenix: Tickets, guests and more | Phoenix New Times
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Your guide to Game On Expo 2024 in Phoenix: Tickets, guests, discounts

The three-day gaming and anime event has leveled up in size and moved to a bigger location at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Arcade action at a previous Game On Expo in downtown Phoenix.
Arcade action at a previous Game On Expo in downtown Phoenix. Benjamin Leatherman
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Game On Expo has gotten a major upgrade. The three-day multimedia gaming and anime convention has not only relocated to a bigger location in the Phoenix Convention Center and almost doubled in size to almost 180,000 square feet of space for video gaming, esports competitions, vendors, cosplay and programming.

It’s also moved up on the calendar. Game On Expo 2024 takes place this weekend, almost five months earlier than the mid-August slot its first six editions occupied. Game On Expo co-founder John Lester says ditching the dog days of summer in favor of the cooler weather of mid-March was an easy decision.

“The weather is much nicer this time of year, so that was a no-brainer,” he says. “It's during spring break, too. So with school being out, I think we're going to have a bigger turnout.”

What will Game On Expo newbies discover at the three-day event from March 15 to 18? Lester says they’ve expanded everything.

"Programming-wise, we've got more panels, more tournaments and a lot more vendors this year. We're expanding our live music (performance)," Lester says. "So there's a lot more of everything."

This year's Expo also features more esports battles with over $10,000 in cash prizes at stake and its largest lineup of special guests yet, including Princess Zelda voice actress Patricia Summersett and Sonic the Hedgehog voice actor Roger Craig Smith.

What else will happen at Game On Expo in downtown Phoenix this weekend? Check out our extensive players' guide to the event.

When is Game On Expo 2024?

The three-day event runs from Friday, March 15, to Sunday, March 17.

Where is Game On Expo happening?

This year’s Game On Expo will be in the North Building of the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St. All activities and programming will take place on the building's first floor.

What are the hours?

Here are Game On Expo’s official hours of operation:
  • Friday, 1 to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How much is admission?

General admission and VIP passes can be purchased online or at the event. Multiple pricing tiers are available (tax and fees not included).
  • Friday only: $45
  • Saturday only: $55
  • Sunday only: $55
  • Full event pass (all three days): $75
  • 1 Up VIP event pass: $175
  • Ultimate 1 Up VIP event pass: $230
  • Player 2 child pass (10 and under): $15
  • Children (2 and under): free

Discounts

A 10% discount on full-event passes is available using the promo code "ExtraLife" at checkout. Game On Expo will then donate the same amount to Phoenix Children's Hospital in partnership with Extra Life, a fundraising program of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals throughout the U.S.
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A local youth cosplaying Mega Man at a previous Game On Expo.
Benjamin Leatherman

Is there an age limit?

Game On Expo is an all-ages event and families and kids are welcome.

Getting there

Hop aboard Valley Metro Rail. There are multiple stations located near the Phoenix Convention Center. Fares are $2 per ride or $4 for an all-day pass. Valley Metro also operates several “park-and-ride” lots throughout the Valley.

Parking

If you’re driving, street parking is available in downtown Phoenix for $1 to $1.50 per hour between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. You can use the ParkMobile app to reserve and pay for a spot in advance. Several nearby parking garages and surface lots are also available. Prices range from $20 to $50 per vehicle, per day.
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A Sonic the Hedgehog cosplayer at Game On Expo 2018.
Benjamin Leatherman

Security and prop policy

Game On Expo's security will use metal detectors or conduct physical pat-downs in the lobby of the South Building. Bags will also be searched and props will be checked. There will also be certain restrictions on cosplay items you can bring to the event. Prop guns, anything resembling a firearm, or any bladed metal or wooden weapons (such as axes or daggers) aren’t allowed. Ditto for blunt weapons like bats or clubs made from hard plastic, wood or metal, as well as whips, metal chains, paddles and spikes.

Food and drink options

Outside food and drink aren’t allowed (except bottled water). There’s a food court and coffee stands on the first floor of the North Building. Downtown Phoenix offers dozens of bars and restaurants within walking distance of the convention center. Here’s a guide with 25 different eating and drinking options.

Can I bring in water?

Yes. Security will allow personal bottles of water into the event and there are multiple refill stations on the first floor of the North Building.

Vendors

More than 200 vendors will be at Game On Expo 2024, ranging from local game stores to companies like Microsoft. An artist alley featuring a lineup of local creatives is also planned.
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Voice actress Patricia Summersett, best known for playing Princess Zelda in games from the "The Legend of Zelda" series.
Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

Special guests

More than 75 special guests are scheduled to appear at Game On Expo 2024. The lineup includes voice talents, game developers, soundtrack composers, YouTube content creators, geek musicians, pro cosplayers and others. Here are some of the biggest names at this year’s event:
  • Patricia Summersett: Voice of Princess Zelda in multiple games
  • Roger Craig Smith: Voice of Sonic the Hedgehog in multiple games
  • David Hayter: Voice of Solid Snake in the “Metal Gear” series
  • Sarah Wiedenheft: Voice of Power in the anime series “Chainsaw Man”
  • Suzie Yeung: Voice of Makima in the anime series “Chainsaw Man”
  • Aaron Dismuke: Voice of Alphonse Elric in the anime series “Fullmetal Alchemist”
  • Nick Apostolides: Voice of Leon S. Kennedy in the “Resident Evil” series
  • Nicole Tompkins: Voice of Jill Valentine in the “Resident Evil” series
  • Carlos Pesina: Raiden in “Mortal Kombat” and “Mortal Kombat II”
  • Daniel Pesina: Johnny Cage, Scorpion and others from “Mortal Kombat” and “Mortal Kombat II”
  • Elizabeth Malecki: Sonya Blade in "Moral Kombat"
  • Shawn “Solo” Fonteno: Voice of Franklin Clinton in “Grand Theft Auto V”
  • Ned Luke: Voice of Michael DeSanta in “Grand Theft Auto V”
  • Caitlin Glass: Voice of Haruhi in the anime “Ouran High School Host Club”
  • Roger Clark: Voice of Arthur Morgan in “Red Dead Redemption 2”
  • Britt Baron: Voice of Tifa Lockhart in “Final Fantasy VII”
  • Jeff Schine: Voice of Chris Redfield in “Resident Evil 3”
  • Rob Wiethoff: Voice of John Marston in the “Red Dead Redemption” series
  • Ted DiBiase: WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend
  • Mega Ran: Rapper and geek icon
  • Grant Kirkhope: Soundtrack composer for “Goldeneye 007” and “Perfect Dark”
  • David Wise: Soundtrack composer for “Donkey Kong Country” and “Battletoads”
  • Kevin Bayliss: UK video game artist and animator
  • David Doak: Video game designer for “Goldeneye 007” and “Perfect Dark” More!
  • Steven Ogg: Voice of Trevor Philips in “Grand Theft Auto V”
  • Keith Silverstein: Voice of Zhongli in “Genshin Impact”
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Competitive gamers do their thing during Game On Expo 2019.
Benjamin Leatherman

Gaming at Game On Expo

The event will feature 100-plus tables featuring the latest gaming consoles — including the PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series X – and high-end PC gaming rigs will be set up throughout the event. Phoenix-based indie game developers will also have their own area. As for classic arcade games and consoles, three rooms will be devoted to the consoles of yesteryear. Naturally, that means Nintendo Entertainment Systems will be in abundance, as well as more than a few Sega Genesis, Super Nintendos, Atari Jaguars and original PlayStations. Several dozen arcade and pinball machines will be arranged in rows in the main hall, each set to free-play mode.

Esports and tournaments

Game On Expo will host esports competitions and tournaments focusing on "Street Fighter 6," "Tetris," "Dr. Mario,"  "Super Smash Bros." and "Rocket League." Meanwhile, the Retro Championships will take place with competitors playing a combination of classic games. The winner will get a custom wrestling-style championship belt. Local retailer Jesse James Comics and its in-house arcade Ready Player 1 Games will also stage their annual All Valley Pinball Tournament. Details can be found here.
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Phoenix-based geek rapper Mega Ran.
Jeff Moses

Concerts

There will be more than just bleeps and bloops filling the air at Game On Expo as geeky musicians and bands perform tunes inspired by video games throughout the weekend. Here's when they'll take place:
  • 6:45 p.m. on Friday: Heine House (video game music covers)
  • 8 p.m. on Friday, Shotty (synth-pop)
  • 4 p.m., Saturday: Video Games Rock (rock ‘n’ roll video game music covers)
  • 6 p.m. on Saturday: Mega Ran (geek rap)
  • 7:15 p.m., Saturday: Super MadNES (metal video game covers)
  • 3 p.m., Sunday: “Rock Band” karaoke

Cosplay

Costumes inspired by games, pop culture, and geeky subject matter are encouraged at Game On Expo. Throughout the weekend, there will be cosplay meetups, workshops and programming and a repair lounge will be available in panel room 123. One of the most high-profile activities each year is the annual cosplay contest for prizes. The 2024 edition will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday in panel room 122ABC. Judging will occur earlier in the day. Full details and registration are available here.
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