EGLX – Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo, is specifically targeted towards gamers and giving them a chance to come together and eschew the dated stereotype that gamers are shut-ins. A festival for thousands of people who know the difference between Modern Warfare and Call of Duty. All the people who hear the word “Classics” and automatically think of NES games instead of literature. This year’s EGLX was the show’s second year, and it was held May 30th and 31st at the The international Centre. in the Malton area of Mississauga.
It has nothing to do with the Elegant Gothic Lolita fashion style.
Almost stacked on top of each other were people gaming; computer games and video games galore. People playing Magic: The Gathering, people playing Super Smash Bros, and the uncompromising people who have wheeled in their desktop computers. And for everybody gaming, there was an audience appreciating the player’s acumen. A major draw was the Hearthstone tournament, a turn-based online dueling game from Blizzard which has caught on tremendously. There were rows of arcade cabinets for anybody willing to invest a quarter for a genuine game of Street Fighter 2, or discover a forgotten classic like Elevator Action.
One of the longest lines was for a demonstration of modern Virtual Reality technologies. In the early 90s, it was a concept the technology of the world wasn’t ready for, a clunky experience. Now thanks to things like Occulous Rift, the world has caught up with the dreams of the pre-Virtual Boy-era.
Aside from just playing games and watching games and eating pizza, there were enough vendors and exhibitors that it would take several laps before seeing everything presented, highlights include:
- The free-to-play game “Warframe” is a gorgeous looking online experience, already hugely successful on the Steam service with millions of players globally. Developed on London, Ontario.
- On the other hand, Bravery.network is an upcoming independent video game that’s concept first with lots of charm instead of high-resolution graphics.
- JC Games manufacture reproduction video game cartridges loaded with “hacked ROMS” to provide new software for systems which have been abandoned by the industry but are still favorites of the community.
- The Battle Sports facility in Toronto provides an environment for people to use their arsenal of NERF weaponry to do battle, like a paintball range but without the clean-up, like a gunfight but without the loss of life.
Some cosplay icons were getting their pictures taken and looking great. But for some reason there weren’t too many attendees wearing their outfits, even though every year at Anime North there’s tons of League Of Legends cosplayers. Hopefully by next year they’ll know that EGLX has the stage that’s perfect for them. But there was at least enough eye candy to satisfy anyone who needed it, such a sexy Kratos.
Still, while EGLX was a lot more lively than a Gaming convention could be, it still wasn’t a party like PAX is. So for some extra partying the best thing to do was to get yourself on the list of Party Monster‘s late night, mid-convention party. All the Somebodies head to a designated hotel room, turn the cameras off, and things got almost hedonistic (but not wild enough that people can’t enjoy Sunday’s EGLX events). Now at any major GTA convention there’s no doubt that after dark, the Party Monsters should be the first place to look for antics.
When I was young, there was a movie, “The Wizard”, where a young Fred Savage goes on a cross-country adventure so his autistic brother can enter a videogame tournement. Now decades later, in the real world, EGLX provides “The Wizard’s” live video gaming experience that’s better than the movies. Only a few miles outside of Toronto, no Power Glove needed. Videogames have grown from a children’s toy to a very cool part of life, there’s tons of video game movies, and one day we might get an actually good video game movie.
At Fanexpo, one of the major tent-poles of the event is always gaming. But in execution the gaming there is mostly just a number of corporate owned exhibitors and stores. Fanexpo’s emphasis on television and film have left the gaming portion just a consumerist experience. EGLX is a fully three dimensional, interacting experience as anything gaming should be. Personally, gaming is something I don’t keep up with anymore- I mostly know the characters because I see the costumes. Despite this I had a good time at EGLX and completely intend to return next year, because I love to see a unashamed fans come together and share in their appreciation for a culture made just for them.
-Michael Ryan, May 5th, 2015