Now I’ve been to quite a lot of conventions in my lifetime, but I had never been to a pure video game/arcade convention/expo before until now. The Louisville Arcade Expo held each year at the Triple Crown Pavillion in Louisville, Kentucky is quite the site and something that should provide fun for all members of the family. The expo provides tons of arcade games, pinball machines, classic consoles and even a lot of classic computers. I was astonished when I was given the grand tour of the expo by Ethan, who happens to work on all the consoles and computers at the show, guided me around the expo and took me into the console room and computer rooms respectively where attendees were able to play an authentic classic experience such as playing The Oregon Trail on an Apple II or playing BS Zelda (stands for Broadcast Satellite) on an actual Nintendo Satellaview for the Super Famicom.
On the main show floor is where you will find a majority of the action. I never thought I’d ever again find myself surrounded by tons of old arcades games such as Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Galaga, Bad Dudes, Operation Wolf or Lethal Enforcers. However, I ended up spending most of my time at the expo playing the pinball machines because let’s face it, you really don’t find too many pinball machines these days especially this many at once. It was great seeing all the different Stern and Jersey Jack pinball machines represented at the expo and the best part is that every single one of the arcade and pinball machines are set to free play.
Prices for the show were definitely not bad considering exactly how many games you get to play and that are unlimited play. If you purchased a weekend pass pre-registration the price was only $60 but at the door, it was an extra $10 so really not too bad either way. Friday and Saturday only pass pre-registration were only $25 and $30 at the door so that way if you only planned on coming for one day you still would get your money’s worth. Sunday only prices were $20 pre-registration and $25 at the door, however, Sunday show hours were only from 10AM-4PM which is still a great value and Sunday is the slowest day meaning much more access to games, however, there was some controversy about people pulling machines early, but I never got the official word on what that was all about.
I spoke with a few people at the expo that have been there before and one gentleman named Gerard told me how much he loved being able to bring his children to such a place where they can play all of the old games that he grew up playing and him and I both agreed that it really warms your heart seeing children going up to these old machines and playing them. I asked Gerard what the first game he was ever introduced to and, just like a lot of others, it was Super Mario Bros. on the NES and he said that it was a pretty challenging game to him and one that he still loves and enjoys to this day.
Among the highlights of the entire expo were tournaments such as the Duck Hunt tournament and the Fire Mario Challenge which requires players to get through level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros as fast as they can while finishing the level with Fire Mario. Another event the expo showcased was music and it had some pretty awesome music. Mega Ran, a nerdcore “chip-hop” singer, was the main event of the music at the expo and he provided some very fun entertainment in the form of songs based off of Mega Man music as well as a song about Barrett from Final Fantasy VII.
All-in-all I had an absolute blast at the Louisville Arcade Expo 2018 and I know that if you’re a fan of retro arcade games, pinball machines and many other unique consoles and games that you won’t have a hard time finding something you will truly enjoy. For gamers of all ages.