Midwest Gaming Classic to bring thousands of visitors to Milwaukee

150,000 square feet of arcade, table games coming to Wisconsin Center

MGC typically draws 15,000 attendees from around the world. Photo credit: Midwest Gaming Classic

Last updated on November 2nd, 2021 at 02:10 pm

Nothing says nature is healing like the return of what’s considered the largest all-encompassing gaming trade show in the Midwest.

The annual Midwest Gaming Classic will take place Nov. 5-7 at the Wisconsin Center, bringing at least 10,000 attendees and an estimated economic impact of nearly $2.1 million to downtown Milwaukee, organizers say.

Now in its 20th year, the event (held annually in Milwaukee) features 150,000 square feet of retro and modern home video game consoles, pinball machines, arcade video games, tabletop RPGs, tabletop board games, collectible card games and air hockey, as well as a gaming museum, modern game tournaments, industry celebs, a wrestling show, and performances by video-game-themed bands, according to a news release.

Usually, MGC is an international draw, with regular attendees and volunteers traveling all the way from Japan, South Korea, Australia, the U.K., Germany, Spain, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Brazil. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and global travel restrictions, organizers are expecting more of a national audience.

MGC started as a grassroots, independent gaming event put on in 2001 by co-founders Dan Loosen and Gary Heil. Held in the basement of the Boy Scouts of America offices on South 84th St. in Milwaukee, that first event drew less than 100 people. MGC has since grown to as many as 15,000 attendees, with organizers spending more $300,000. The event moved to the Wisconsin Center in 2018.

General admission for the three-day event is $100, with single day tickets ranging from $25 to $45. Tickets are available through MGC’s website. All attendees 12 and over are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test result within the past 72 hours. For all guests 16 and up, a matching photo ID is also required.

Arcade games at a past Midwest Gaming Classic event. Photo credit: Midwest Gaming Classic

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Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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