You might be coming to C2E2 to get autographs from your favorite stars, or to check out some of the merchandise, panels, or to meet your favorite comic artists, but did you know that C2E2 is also all about games? Video games, arcade games, board games and tabletop roleplaying games. It was our first day out on the show floor, and we’re excited to report that C2E2 has somehow outdone themselves, and increased their insane game presence.
First of all, a huge chunk of the showfloor is full of free play arcade cabinets, so any attendee has access to these games. And there are a ton of arcades, as well as video game consoles and computers set up to play with or against your friends. If you’re up for some serious competition, there are daily tournaments to check out. I Play Games has again contributed a significant portion of the video game square footage. DePaul’s esports team once again had a presence, and new this year Galloping Ghost Arcade brought a few retro arcade cabinets to enjoy.
Also new this year is The Yard–a large space where you can chill on fake turf in a picnic-like environment. They even had a few games of corn hole going when we stopped by earlier. Stop by to play yard games, and participate in trivia, and some Jackbox party games. It’s a great place to relax, and enjoy a few Revolution brews from the nearby beer garden.
Jackbox had a few events happening through the day, and we caught them for some Jackbox Party Pack and friends. Live play with some of the developers, and friend. Audience participation means you’re part of the game too. Jackbox is a Chicago staple, and we always jump at the chance to play in an audience setting.
Another Chicago staple, Cards Against Humanity had a significant presence, as well. If you were lucky enough to be blessed by the roaming CAH angels, you could be gifted a card pack for free. I don’t know their selection process–but they’re doing God’s work… or something. Cards Against Humanity has their own Comedy Theater, as well, with two more days packed with content–most of it adult-oriented, so be warned.
There are plenty of board games to play in the tabletop area–learn new games, and even play games that aren’t in mass production. Play Magic: The Gathering with new friends, or learn how to play board games from the people who designed them. There’s no chance you’ll get bored of the board games, but if you want to try out some tabletop roleplaying games, there are plenty of those, too.
If you are a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, or you’re interested in learning for the first time, C2E2 is the place to be. There is an entire room dedicated to Dungeons & Dragons–make a character, and start playing with the help of C2E2 Game Masters.
We also checked out a few game related panels–specifically the “Tabletop Streaming Secrets” panel and the “Getting Into Tabletop RPG Writing” panel. Both great, the streaming secrets panel gave some great insight into how to set up a successful tabletop stream. There was lots of advice–from complicated shows, to simple broadcasts with friends. Within the advice on logistics and technology, most of the practical advice centered around simple concenpts like consistency, and, well, just doing it. A healthy dose of passion certainly helps.
The Getting into Tabletop RPG Writing panel was phenomenal. Veteran tabletop roleplaying authors gave advice ranging from writing a great homebrew, to formatting potential pitches in an attempt to monetize your tabletop roleplaying hobby. Of course, one of the biggest bits of advice was “don’t quit your day job” and to write to your audience–whether its a group of friends,or something you want to potentially sell. Itch.io, known for its indie games, was heavily repped for its emerging role in game and story design–and its ability to organize community events, like game jams, where ideas could be exchanged. But if you want to make a living out of it, you have to learn how to set your own schedule, and work towards specific milestones and deadlines.
Our last panel of the evening was one of our favorite of the convention so far. Making Multicultural Games, moderated by SUNY’s Dr. Shamika Mitchell, was a great experience. Also featuring Keisha Howard of Sugar Gamers, Kevin Fair of I Play Games, April Welch of IIT’s Esports department, Mary Georgescu of Haiduc Studio and El Whitcombe of Deep Water Games, the panel covered a ton of great topics on the subject of both video and tabletop games.
Panelists discussed things like the benefits of gaming, both socially and mentally, the use of games in the classroom to help aid learning, Every person on the panel, from developer to professor, pointed out the many benefits of gaming, from the need for us as humans to play (and play socially) to its aiding with coordination and confidence, and the group touched on the need for developers to ensure accessibility with games, whether that’s with color blind editions of Uno or with video games which feature alternative controls for differently abled people.
The group also addressed representation in tabletop gaming and some missteps around that, and how to fix it. This could be anything from a tone deaf decision by Urban Outfitters years back to release Ghetto-poly to more recent game devs who had developed games based in areas of the world where tons of people of color live without ever putting a single person of color in their game.
It’s important for a community to be able to self-police, and for devs to understand how important representation is, and it’s clear at least with this group, that they’re always trying to push the medium forward, and are passionate about what they do.
The panel ended with some general, friendly banter between panelists and congoers about what they’re playing and loving now. There was not an ounce of gatekeeping whether you were into WoW, Fortnite, or Candy Crush, and it felt like everyone left a little closer to the community.
Contributing author: Marielle Bokor
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