CLEVELAND — Ohio’s largest gaming convention is setting up shop at the I-X Center this weekend.
The Cleveland Gaming Classic features retro video games, arcade games, pinball machines, cosplay, collectibles, and special guests.
Tom Jenkins is the man behind the whole event and said it all started more than a decade ago with a group of friends playing “Tecmo Super Bowl.” Jenkins has graduated from his basement in North Ridgeville to the largest basement in Cleveland, the lower level of the I-X Center.
“To be part of this event is super humbling. Seeing this thing grow from a handful of guys, to now we’re expecting six to 7,000 people here is awesome,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins serves as director, or “Final Boss” for all of the gaming gurus, for the event that is in its eighth year. The Cleveland Gaming Classic oozes nostalgia and brings back the memories of all the favorites and incorporates new-age technology and gaming systems.
“We get a lot of kids that come here. It’s guys that are my age that get up with this stuff. They bring their kids and they’re like ‘what is this game? What are we playing?’” he said. “To see them play Mario and Tetris and pinball machines. It’s cool to live through your children and share that experience again.”
The Gaming Classic will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mortal Combat and have actors as well as a designer from the original game on hand to meet and greet fans.
“What makes us different from a lot of other gaming conventions is we focus a lot on playing games. We bring an entire arcade on site. We also bring in independent software developers, guys, and gals who are building and designing their own games and they bring them to Cleveland to show them off to the public."
The show will also sell raffle tickets to raise money for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland.
Additionally, gaming fans can expect:
- Live music
- 100+ vendors
- FREE play arcade
- Retro gaming row
- Cosplay contest
- Kid zone
- Indie game developers
- Special guests
The event is designed for guests of all ages. Tickets start at just $20. Doors open on Saturday at 12 p.m. and the Gaming Classic runs through the evening, wrapping up at 10 p.m.