In its sixth year, Renton City Retro Expo decided to take their event to the next level, by creating a “mini-PAX experience.” PAX is a gaming convention hosted in Seattle and other cities.
The retro started in 2014, as a video game show at the Lake City Community Center. The 200 attendees made Emilio Morales realize there was a demand for a video game swap in Seattle area. The expo continued to outgrow venues.
Meanwhile, Morales started up Dpad Retro Gaming and Collectibles, a video game store in downtown Renton. He said working and living in the city inspired him to put something together with 8-bit Arcade and Bar and the Comic Hut.
Morales said Renton has inspired him to do more in the area. He is also one of the founders of Renton Comic Convention (Rencon).
This year Renton City Retro limited the number of vendors, and focused more on the gaming, celebrity guests and education. It also became a nonprofit.
Guests of the event were able to experience free arcade machines, classic games, video game vendors and pinball tournaments, and several video game tournaments, including a Fortnite contest for kids ages 8-12.
Morales said they focus on the retro while also bringing appeal to the younger gamer by having YouTube and Twitch streamers and modern games. The combination of old and new creates a bonding experience for families, he said. The expo provides classic gaming so parents can show their kids which games they grew up with.
“Right now it’s really hard for parents to pick up Fortnite or Apex cause it’s so face-paced,” Morales said. “But when you sit down and play Pong or Super Mario Brothers your kid feels like he understands dad too, because he was a gamer at one point.”
Another “twist” this year was an educational side to the expo. Code Ninjas, Chronos Global Academy and Seattle Indies were there to provide information and education on video-game creation and programming.
Morales said a lot of making the expo bigger this year took self-funding and “going all in.” He said while it’s easy to be nervous with big bills over his head, he said the outcome was a shocker from pre-sale tickets alone and he’s looking forward to next year.
More information is at RentonCityRetro.com.