LVL UP EXPO Brings Joy to Local Video Game Community

By Ashley Glenn

Las Vegas is known for its conventions and with a long list of entertaining gatherings to go to, LVL UP EXPO is no exception. LVL UP EXPO is one of the largest video game and anime conventions in Las Vegas, from May 12-14, with everything from tournaments to panels for guest’s enjoyment.

The main events for this year were extensive and included a variety of creative ways to get guests to be interactive with the convention itself. Fan favorite events, such as the Masquerade and the ever-popular Lip Sync for Your Cosplay, hosted by popular costume designer Jez Roth, were hits for con goers as always, but LVL UP EXPO brought on other events not typical for video game conventions.

Events like this included the Pokemon Gym Leader Challenge, where event-goers could be their very own pokemon trainer and challenge other attendees. The Side Quest was also a based on basic video game elements where LVL UP’s own staff, the “NPCs”, gave attendees cards with quests that required the assistance of other event goers. And of course, most of these interactive events ended with prizes such as the Pokemon Gym Leader’s Challenge which included trophies and cash prizes.

For those of a more competitive nature, LVL UP EXPO also hosted gaming tournaments for a variety of beloved games such as Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros and Blizzard’s HearthStone Heroes of Warcraft. Competitors could register online or at the convention and were invited to play rounds of countless games to see who had the skills to become a champion. Winners received a variety of prizes for the respective games played, some even giving away as much as 1,500 dollars in cash prizes.

As with many beloved geek-themed conventions, LVL UP EXPO provided nothing short of entertaining panels for guests to attend. A colorful set of panels was set for all three days with anything from Overwatch cosplayers hosting questions about the characters from the beloved Blizzard series to panels dedicated to the community’s favorite various anime. Guests were invited to play along with excellent panels that were both interactive and enjoyable. The inclusiveness of video games and anime made for a diverse group of guests and even more diverse hosts for their panel.

Hosts were not only cosplayers and other business owners; LVL UP EXPO brought exclusive special guests that every con goer would want to meet. Voice actors from popular shows and video games were in attendance such as Christopher R. Sabat, who was the voice director and voiced countless characters on the show Dragon Balls Z, Jennifer Hale, who voiced popular characters such as Commander Shepard from the game Mass Effect 1 and 2, and Ali Hills who has been in a number of films such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang but has also voiced in video games and anime such as her role in Square Enix’s game Lightning in Final Fantasy XIII.

The number of artists and other vendors to buy from was also extensive for anyone looking to shop during their downtime in between panels and tournaments. Artists such as Aortic Inkwell, Epicycle Studios and a variety of other artists from all over came to sell gorgeous fan art and other incredible original art and home-made goods. Other vendors such as Creators Guild and Tasty Peach Studios were also selling their popular items, from clothes to plushes, sure to delight anyone. Stands also included popular local cosplayers such as Steff Von Shweets for guests to take photos and to promote cosplayers from the valley.

LVL UP EXPO yet again helps to set an expectation for Las Vegas’ gaming conventions. Giving video game and anime enthusiasts the perfect mixture of entertainment and interaction, this convention showed con-goers just what the Las Vegas geek community is all about with a stellar set up sure to delight. To get geared up for next year, check out http://lvlupexpo.com/ for ticket prices and other information about this convention.

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