Friday, March 7th marked the beginning of the SXSW Gaming Expo. This is one of the few free and open to the public events at SXSW – provided you registered for a guest pass. The Gaming Expo is one of the highlights of the entire SXSW festival, an one of the things that we look forward to the most each year. This years expo is at the Palmer Events Center, and runs from Friday March 7th until Sunday, March 9. There are even going to be real life Mario Karts this year!
There is going to be a ton going on at the Gaming Expo. One of my favorite things is the LANFest, which is presented by Intel and Dell this year. The LANFest are includes: the FreePlay Area featuring tons of awesome games; all sorts of prizes, giveaways and raffles; and the best part, massive LAN game tournaments. This years tournament games are Chivalry, Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, and League of Legends.
Not sure how, but I have missed the SXSW Game Jam every time I have been to the conference. Essentially, the Game Jam is a one day hackathon to build a game. The hackathon was last Friday, but the winners are going to be up on the main stage in the Palmer Events Center over this weekend. This years theme was Music, “make a game about music or inspired by a specific track or album. Check out local artists and start your inspiration! The winning teams will be shown on the SXSW Gaming Stage the following weekend.”1
There is also a museum at the SXSW Gaming Expo: Video Game History Museum presented by NES Remix. The Vidoe Game History Museum is described by SXSW;
The Videogame History Museum was established to document, preserve, and archive the history of the Videogame industry. After over ten years of exhibits at the world-famous Classic Gaming Expo, the 501(c)(3) non-profit Videogame History Museum Inc. was formed in 2009. Since then, they’ve done exhibits at E3, GDC, GDC Next, Comikaze, PAX and DICE among others. The archive is comprised of over 50,000 items spanning numerous collections and over 25 years of historical document and data archiving.
One of the cooler sections of the SXSW Gaming Expo is the Indie Corner. The SXSW Indie Corner is where you can check out all of the hottest indie games – mobile, platform, and everything in-between. This year, SXSW has added a new category to the SXSW Gaming Awards: The Gamer’s Voice Award. The SXSW Gaming Awards FAQs,described the new category:
This category is a special award, rewarded for excellence exhibited by independent developers for their games and projects.
If the SXSW Gaming Expo is not on your schedule, it should be. This is one of the cooler events at SXSW, and is always a great event. Here is a video that shows a little more of what goes on: