TooManyGames, the retro video game convention, returned in 2019 and is bigger and better than ever. Taking place from June 21-23, 2019, several thousand die-hard gamers, collectors, cosplayers, and developers descended on the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania to play, celebrate, and embrace the video gaming community. Having gone every year since the summer of 2016, I can confidently say that this year’s TooManyGames was the best yet.
TooanyGames combines the old and the new; the retro and the familiar. TooManyGames combines games that needed cartridges with games that can be downloaded on your phone. It’a striking mix of several generations of games. For three days, attendees can collect, play, and participate in the world of video games. Free concerts, visiting gaming and YouTube personalities, competitions, and demos of brand new, upcoming games are just part of the total fun at TooManyGames.
Various vendors from around the region travel to TooManyGames. For gaming enthusiasts, TooManyGames is a small paradise where attendees can find special games at great deals. From the Nintendo Entertainment System to the PlayStation 4, what attendees will find is anything and everything. For myself, I came away with rare items and great finds. From Dungeon Siege III on the PlayStation 3 to Star Fox: Command on the Nintendo DS. Overall, I found a treasure trove of games. This even included titles for the increasingly rare PlayStation Vita handheld system and titles such as The Amazing Spiderman.
Popular youtube personalities also came to visit, from Boogie2988, to AVGN, and the Cinemassacre crew, TooManyGames provided a chance for players to meet their favorite YouTube stars from panels to autograph sessions. Other personalities this year included Nintendo enthusiasts ARLO and Scott The Woz, as well as Spawnwave and SomeCallMeJohnny. Compared to other conventions I have attended, TooManyGames provides a way for attendees to meet their favorite icons in the gaming community, without being swarmed by large crowds and hours-long lines.
The music concerts were excellent, catering to a variety of tastes and interests. From Psychostick, to Super Thrash Brothers, to Crush 40, the legends behind the Sonic The Hedgehog, the free concerts brought video game music to life with the headliner of them all, the infamous Epic Rap Battles of History. NicePEter and EPICLLOYD stormed the stage with a playlist of fan-favorite battles, from Dr. Suess vs William Shakespeare to Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock. The ERB duo even had an improv rap battle between Tony Stark and Thanos, much to the hilarious delight of the concert-goers.
The indie scene was extremely strong this year as well. Kentucky-based publisher Hitcents made the trip to TooManyGames to promote their lineup of upcoming titles. The team has already released Forgotten Anne on iOS devices and Dukes of Defense plus A Robot Named Fight on the Nintendo Switch. Other titles included Ministry of Broadcast, Rashlander, and Shores Unknown. Retromania brought retro-inspired wrestling to players while Project Fantasy introduced old-school fighting to convention attendees. The Great Gais had old-fashioned, early 90’s inspired RPG combat and Neon Kriger Yamato by LIONPLEX had four-player retro-futuristic arcade brawling combat.
There was something for everyone to play at TooManyGames, and if attendees looked hard enough, they were bound to find something special. Even competitive sports organizations, such as SMASHADELPHIA invited players to compete on the stage against the very best Super Smash Brothers fighters in the area.
What keeps me coming back to TooManyGames is its ability to strike a balance in the strong sense of community that not many conventions make. Attendees can actually walk up and say hi to their favorite YouTubers, as opposed to waiting many hours in line for an autograph. The panels all offer different insights into the gaming culture, rather than panels that make announcements.
Having attended the gargantuan tentpoles of gaming conventions, such as PAX WEST and E3, TooManyGames dials its own frequency to be about community, togetherness, and ultimately, fun. Through that fun, attendees and personalities relate and share their own personal feedback as to what brings them to this location every year. Memories of playing with parents, opening new games Christmas, or playing games during the rough times become the common conversation at TooManyGames. It’s an open and connecting experience, talking to vendors and personalities about not just how great a particular video game is, but how enjoyable it is to be a part of that community.
TooManyGames is a tremendous event for anyone that enjoys video games, regardless of your level of familiarity. Those small moments of enjoying a game by ourselves, with some else, or with complete strangers all stand true to the values of the gaming community. TooManyGames celebrates those heartwarming values, even after there is a hole in your wallet from all the games purchased.
TooManyGames will return June 26-28, 2020 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA