Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 2:10pm by admin
You may be content to hole up in your gaming lair at home most days, but even a game geek gets the urge to hit the road every now and then. There are plenty of drool-worthy vacation destinations for gamers, ranging from cheap electronic districts to conventions and tournaments. Check out this list for some of the best vacations spots a gamer can dream of.
Who says your summer vacation has to include a trip to Mount Rushmore? These conventions will take you places that your mom’s van never could.
- Tokyo Game Show: The Tokyo Game Show, held in Japan, is widely believed to be the largest video game expo in the world. It was at this convention that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced the Wii, and the event is considered one of the most important conventions for gaming professionals and enthusiasts alike. This year, TGS will be held from September 20th to the 23rd, reserving the first two days for businesses and opening to the public for the final two days.
- Games Convention: Every August since 2002, thousands of gamers have converged upon Liepzig Germany‘s sprawling convention center to experience one of the biggest game trade shows in the world. The convention features a developers’ conference, typically held just before the main show opens, that features discussions on the craft and business of video games, all of which are open to professionals and students alike. The main show includes an expo as well as the Symphonic Game Music Concert, an event that features well known game music composers. The Leipzig Games Convention is growing so large that they’ve announced an Asian edition to be held in Singapore starting this September.
- E3: E3, formerly known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and now known as the E3 Media and Business Summit, is an ultra-exclusive industry event for game professionals and other VIPs. Many video game developers exhibit new and upcoming products, while there’s also much attention devoted to press events and meetings. Historically, E3 has provided the forum for big industry announcements like the upcoming releases of PlayStation and Nintendo 64. E3 is known for appearances from celebrities like Tony Hawk and Vin Diesel, who have previously been on hand to promote their new games. With new exclusivity rules for 2007, it’s harder than ever to get into E3, but you might be able to swing an invitation if you join a large press group or network with industry leaders.
- Entertainment for All Expo: With E3 tightening up its exclusivity, Entertainment for All was created to give regular gamers a chance to check out new developments in video games. At E for All, gamers have a chance to test new games and gadgets hands-on, purchase products before their general release, and participate in game tournaments as well as multiplayer game stages. This year’s inaugural event will feature a Video Games Live concert, an experience that combines video game sound tracks with a symphony orchestra. Also featured are a video game art exhibition, mobile games pavilion, and a showcase for new developments.
- BlizzCon: World of Warcraft fans should make it a high priority to visit BlizzCon. This convention, held by Blizzard Entertainment, highlights games like Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo. At BlizzCon, fans will find new and previewed content and developer Q&A sessions as well as songwriting and costume contests. The convention includes an invitational tournament in which players from all over the world compete to win Warcraft games. On the last night of the con, attendees enjoy a concert as well as gifts like virtual costumes and beta testing code.
- Penny Arcade Expo: The Penny Arcade Expo devotes equal attention to video gamers, computer gamers, and tabletop gamers unlike any other convention. The expo features panels, booths, tournaments, parties and areas in which attendees can play games. Exhibitors for this year’s con include Nintendo, Ubisoft and Microsoft. A tournament, the Omegathon, features hot-ticket prizes that have in the past included a brand new Scion and a video game collection worth more than $25,000.
- Consumer Electronics Show: Although CES is not exclusively focused on gaming, it’s an important yearly event for serious gamers interested in the latest developments. Many companies decide to introduce new products at CES. In the past, these have included the Xbox, Commodore 64 and the original Nintendo NES.
- QuakeCon: PC gamers will love QuakeCon, a bring-your-own-computer gaming event in Dallas. Billed as the "Woodstock of gaming," this con is a week of "peace, love, and rockets." It’s the largest LAN party in North America and usually runs for about 4 days. In addition to gaming, attendees enjoy showcases of new games and hardware from id Software and Activision as well as sale booths.
- Comic-Con International: Although Comic-Con originally started out as a comic book convention, it has grown into a multigenre fan convention that includes video games. Highlights include review sessions with video game companies, awards ceremonies, and a costume contest. Comic-Con also features open gaming, tournaments, and battles with game designers.
- Fan Expo Canada: Game-playing Canucks should make a trip to check out Fan Expo Canada. FANX is a multigenre convention that includes lots of gaming attractions. Inside FANX is the Canadian National Gaming Expo, Canada‘s largest gaming event. The biggest draw is cosplay, in which fans dress up as their favorite characters from comic books and games. This year, FANX features a stop from the World Series of Video Games, a tournament that will award more than $75,000 in cash prizes and includes Warcraft and Guitar Hero.
Do you regularly mop up the floor with your friends when it comes to gaming? See if you can run with the big dogs at these awesome tournaments.
- Championship Gaming Series: Boasting a league payroll of more than $5,000,000, CGS offers the most amount of prize money in all of competitive gaming, and uses a franchise based format to broadcast competitive gaming matches on live television. Gamers from all around the world compete in local qualifiers from Los Angeles to Dubai to Kuala Lumpur (and more) for a once in a lifetime shot at becoming a professional gamer in titles including Counter-Strike: Source, FIFA 07, Project Gotham Racing 3, Dead or Alive 4 and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.
- Wiimbledon: Wii Tennis fanatics can match up against other gamers in Brooklyn at Wiimbledon. This free event included beer, cucumber sandwiches, singles and doubles tournaments, and more beer, which might explain the guy in the bear suit. The winner took home a new Nintendo Wii. The inaugural Wiimbledon took place in June, but organizers have plans to organize another event soon.
- Major League Gaming Events: Some people envy baseball players who can make a living playing a game they love. Gamers envy Major League Gaming players, cyber-athletes, some of who have million dollar contracts. Check out the gaming action on the 2007 Pro Circuit. Locations include Charlotte, Chicago, and Orlando, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to build a vacation around an MLG event.
- World Cyber Games: Designed to be the Olympics of gaming, World Cyber Games has a different host city every year and pits delegates from all over the world against each other. This year, players will converge upon Seattle, playing games like Counter-Strike, Need for Speed, Gears of War and Dead or Alive. Largely considered the biggest annual gaming festival, WCG attracts one million visitors. In Seattle, there will be over 700 players from over 70 countries.
- DigitalLife: The Digital Life $100,000 Pro/Am Video Game Tournament will take place in New York City this September during the DigitalLife expo. Pro players can compete online to qualify for a trip to the New York City Finals in front of more than 50,000 attendees. Amateur players can walk up to join on-site competitions.
- Kode5: Kode5 holds regional events in 16 countries to qualify players before they face off in an "undisclosed location." Regionals are open to gamers of all skill levels, so you should think about going to an event. So far, only the Sweden regional has been announced for Labor Day weekend. Keep an eye on their website for more destinations.
- Electronic Sports World Cup: The Electronic Sports World Cup has participants from all around the world and prizes in excess of one million dollars. ESWC players represent their country at the finals in France, which is lauded as an excellent spectator show. The finals feature games like Counter-Strike, Quake, Pro Evolution Soccer and WarCraft.
- Iron Man of Gaming: This coming Labor Day weekend, Iron Man competitors will compete in games from all consoles, genres and eras to crown the best gamer in the world. The event takes place in Dallas and is hosted by ScrewAttack.com. The prize includes $1,000 and an Iron Man championship belt that will accessorize nicely at any black tie event.
- Your Public Library: If you can’t afford to take lots of time off for travel, check out libraries in your area to see if they’re holding any tournaments in the near future. Many libraries are embracing the Wii and holding gaming events to get people in their doors.
Tours, Destinations & Experiences
Whether you want to stockpile cheap imports or get a real-life glimpse at your favorite war game, these vacation spots can’t be beat.
- Akihabara, Tokyo: This neighborhood in Tokyo is packed with game stores full of goodies that you just can’t find stateside. In Akihabara Electric Town, you’ll find gems like Media Land, a store that is considered by some to be the best video game store on Earth. In addition to game stores, you’ll find costume cafes, monster game arcades, and lots of other game geek fun.
- Air Combat Adventures: Take your piloting out of the console and into a real plane on an air combat adventure. Fly European military planes, learn tactics and enjoy gorgeous aerial views. More adventurous fliers can do a gut check with Hollywood-style air combat or thrilling old-fashioned dogfighting adventures.
- Beach rental: If you’ve got a bunch of gamer buddies, pool your resources for a week-long marathon of games and debauchery. Get everyone to bring their favorite consoles, games, and junk food, then face off in your own mini tournaments. You’ll get to check out lots of new games, hang out with your friends, and get some sunshine when, or if, you decide to hit the beach.
- Mountain View, California: High-tech game geeks and PC gamers will fall in love with the technology mecca that is Mountain View. Home to the Googleplex, Mozilla Foundation, and lots of other big names in innovation, Silicon Valley is sure to entertain. Gamers will also enjoy a visit to Mountain View’s Overtime, a gym that incorporates boxing, dancing, and bike racing video games into exercise routines.
- Space Camp: If you love space games, you’ll have a blast at Space Camp. Take your kiddo to a parent/child camp to experience mission control, walk on the moon, or go through survival training together. Space Camp also has corporate programs, so you should get started on an email to your boss about your great idea for a team retreat.
- Your Living Room: You don’t need to hop on a plane or in a car to have a great gamer vacation. In fact, you don’t even have to change out of your PJs. Take a week off of work and knock yourself out playing hours upon hours of your favorite games with no guilt and all of the comforts of home.
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