SoCal Retro Gaming Expo Returns After 2 Years

After several years of cancellations and hiatus, the much-anticipated SoCal Gaming Expo (formerly known as the SoCal Retro Gaming Expo) has made a return in 2023. This year, the event took place at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, CA, a better setting compared to the 2019 edition at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Despite the smaller venue, organizers made the most of the space, filling it with vendors, art, a mobile museum, and areas for tournaments and free play. Upon entering the convention center, attendees were greeted by the renowned Gaming Museum exhibit, a traveling showcase of some of gaming’s rarest and most coveted treasures. Notable items on display included the elusive Nintendo 64DD and the Game Boy Color Sewing Machine.


In addition to the Gaming Museum, the SoCal Gaming Expo featured The Art of Nintendo Power, a stunning exhibit presented by the Interactive Art Collection. The Art of Nintendo Power, their flagship exhibit, boasts a curated selection of over 350 original artworks, production materials, and historical artifacts from the iconic Nintendo Power Magazine.

This year, the exhibit showcased pristine cover art, pages, and other rarities, including original models used for the artwork on the covers of the beloved gaming publication.

The SoCal Gaming Expo has once again proven itself as a must-attend event for retro game collectors and gaming enthusiasts alike, offering an immersive experience that celebrates the rich history and vibrant culture of the gaming world.

SoCal Expo Guests

Highlights of the event included the YouTube sensation-turned-filmmakers, the Game Chasers, who premiered their new movie, Adventures in Game Chasing, on Saturday.

Other esteemed guests in attendance were Colleen O’Shaughnessey (the voice of Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog), Laura Faye Smith (Princess Rosalina from Super Mario Brothers), Kellen Goff (Five Nights At Freddy’s, My Hero Academia), Jirard “The Completionist” Khalil, Kevin Kenson, Pat The NES Punk, Ian Ferguson, Alex Faciane, John Riggs, Retro Rick, 8-Bit Eric, and a host of others who had their booths set up.

A Treasure Trove of Games

The SoCal Gaming Expo offered a diverse range of games and consoles, spanning from the Atari 2600 and Vectrex to the latest PS5 and Xbox Series X releases. Attendees were treated to bargain bins, rare Sega Saturn games valued in the thousands, sought-after PlayStation 2 survival horror games, and much more. The event was a goldmine of games, consoles, boxes, figures, toys, posters, art, and other gaming-related items.

However, the expo did have one minor drawback: a noticeable scarcity of Nintendo DS games. As a passionate Nintendo handheld collector, it was disappointing to find mainly popular games like Pokemon and Nintendo first-party titles, while more obscure gems were missing from the lineup. Despite this, the event catered to collectors of all gaming specialties.

In conclusion, the SoCal Gaming Expo was a retro gaming collector’s dream come true. If you find yourself in Southern California around this time next year, be sure to mark your calendar – you won’t want to miss it. We’re eager to see the event grow even bigger and better in the coming years.

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