Have you ever been to Wizard World? It’s an amazing convention that plants itself in cities all over the United States at various times throughout the year. Wizard World Chicago 2015 just happened this past weekend (August 20-23) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont just northwest of Chicago, and now it is sadly over.
However, let us reflect on our incredible weekend, and be sure to stay tuned for more on our impressions on gaming and Wizard World Chicago this week on That VideoGame Blog.
Pac-Man is even in the logo!
If you didn’t catch our Facebook feed, we started the convention off in retro video game style at Level 257, a Pac-Man themed restaurant located in Schaumburg, Illinois. It appears that this bar is actually owned by Namco, the creators of Pac-Man. We were treated to food, arcade games, a Pac-Man Battle Royale game tournament, and celebrities, including the one and only Mr. Pac-Man himself.
I was joined by fellow Editor Andrew Burrage (@tvgb_andrew) and Senior Author Noe Ponce for the event sponsored by Verizon. Celebrities in attendance included Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show). While both of these actors are known for their onscreen talents, Rooker also dabbled in voice acting for video games. According to IMDb, Michael Rooker not only voiced Merle Dixon of The Walking Dead fame in The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, but also lent his voice to Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Lollipop Chainsaw, and Scarface: The World is Yours.
Pac-Man and Michael Rooker (from left to right, if you couldn’t figure it out)
Level 257 is jam packed with incredible arcade games, from retro classics like Space Invaders to new favorites Mario Kart 8. I personally enjoyed the Battle Pod Games, which includes an awesome Star Wars and game that we all took for a spin. The Battle Pods feature 180 degrees of display in all directions to immerse you in the game. I highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t experienced these units to go seek one out at a local arcade, because these things are fun as hell.
Andrew is about to destroy the Death Star!
Noe, Andrew, and I even tried out a horror game by Namco Bandai called Dark Escape 4D. Not only is the game in 3D (you have to put on 3D glasses), but also has sensory elements that shakes the booth and blows air at you. It even includes a heart-rate monitor that determines you ‘panic’ level. While it’s ultimately a linear shooter, it is still fun to get scared by undead prisoners and giant mutant spiders as you attempt to escape the dark… in four dimensions.
We look totally scared.
While we didn’t partake in the Pac-Man Battle Royale tournament, we did dabble in some racing action with Dead Heat. Noe and Andrew squared off in a race around the streets of Chicago, and both seemed pretty hooked on the action. While the game wasn’t completely accurate with the city landscape (Grant Park is not connected to the Chicago River!), it still seemed like an awesome arcade racer.
Andrew and Noe racing in Dead Heat.
All in all, the event was a blast! If you are in the northwest Chicago area, I highly recommend dropping by Level 257 for some drinks and gaming. They also offer a full food menu, a gift shop, and bowling. The party was a great way to kick off the fun-filled weekend.
Keep checking back throughout the week for our coverage of Wizard World Chicago 2015!