TooManyGames is back at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center this weekend with free-to-play arcade games, internet celebrities, tournaments, concerts, industry panel discussions, cosplay, wrestling, and vendors. What first started as a small retro gaming marketplace has expanded into an impressive convention full of activities and guest speakers.
Some of the more well-known guests this year include Philly resident and video-game reviewer James Rolfe (aka the Angry Video Game Nerd), Twitch streamer "Vinny" Vinesauce, and voice actors Charles Martinet and Kenny James, who are behind the famous Nintendo characters Mario and Bowser. You can also see live performances from the Minibosses, GRIMECRAFT, Super Thrash Bros., and more.
The newest big draw? An esports tournament with a $5,000 prize pot.
In the inaugural Fusion Showcase Overwatch esports tournament, up to 16 teams of six players each will meet up and clash on computer screens. The competition is the first amateur game tournament in the Philadelphia area officially licensed by Overwatch creator Blizzard Entertainment. As of press time, there were still spots available for teams.
"I honestly just really like bringing all different types of gamers together into one place," said Paul Truitt, who runs the convention with Ryan Schott. "I myself am very into retro gaming and puzzle games, and Ryan's into esports. We bring all the music and the cosplaying, just bringing all the different types of nerds, basically, into one place is really the main focus and reason that we do it."
The two work with local charities and organizations to run the show, including Philadelphia's own J1-Con Anime & Gaming Expo to run the cosplay contest; Nerdvana Games and Comics from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., to run the tabletop gaming events; hunger relief organization Philabundance; ExtraLife, which works with the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to provide games to kids in hospitals; and Operation Supply Drop, which sends supplies to American troops overseas. "All of our volunteers are, for the most part, local people," Truitt said.
Schott is the president of Screenwave Media, a Philadelphia-based company that represents more than 800 video game talents on YouTube and Twitch. "TooManyGames was becoming a bigger and bigger event in Philadelphia, and I decided that I would invest in it," Schott said, who organized the Overwatch tournament with N3rd Street Gamers.
TooManyGames' annual Smash Bros. game tournament, Smashadelphia, had more than 400 competitors last year. "It was about being involved with the city, having people with an interest in Philadelphia and Philadelphia gaming, participate in the tournament," Schott said. This year, Smashadelphia offers a total of $2,500 in tournament winnings. "We're continuing what we do with Smashadelphia into Overwatch … There are a lot of skilled players that are trying to show that they have what it takes to go to that next level, and I think this is the tournament for them," Schott said. Other tournaments include Settlers of Catan, Hearthstone and Dragonball FighterZ.
"I have to say, I'm very excited for esports to become a key part of the TooManyGames convention as it continues to evolve as an event that started as a marketplace for retro video games," Schott said. "It has become a place where gamers of all ages and skill levels could get together to play. I think that the Overwatch event is going to be gigantic. It's going to be a spectacle, [even] just from the production standpoint. I think most gamers haven't played on a 60-foot stage."