SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake Gaming Con announced its third convention Thursday, the first year that organizers say guests will see the impact of a partnership with the prominent Salt Lake Comic Con.
The two-day interactive event is designed to let attendees play in all kinds of ways, with the range of activities planned for Salt Lake Gaming Con including video games, table top and board games, interactive escape room challenges for groups, a dart gun zone and, of course, costumes.
"The thing about gaming con is that we always keep trying to hit back home. What kind of experience can we give you that you can't get at home?" said Jake Williams, the event's founder.
As an example, Williams hearkened back to the arcade era, when gaming was a social activity that got people out of their homes and meeting new people. Now, as video games are primarily played on home consoles, Williams hopes to re-create some of the arcade feeling he enjoyed as a kid, extending to a number of different activities.
"We want to provide an environment where people can basically just get together and have a lot of fun," he said.
Williams also called Utah "the largest board game market in the nation," and gaming con will offer a "board game library" of 700 games that guests can try out.
Salt Lake Gaming Con happens July 7-8 at the South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State, Sandy. The event is designed for all ages and will bring in Salt Lake Comic Con's popular "Kid Con" section.
Gaming con attracted 15,000 gamers to its inaugural event in 2015, and just a week before its second installment last June, Salt Lake Comic Con announced it was buying a 50 percent stake in the event.
Gaming con bills itself as one of the top 10 events of its kind in the country. But while other events like TwitchCon, E3 and Blizzcon are geared toward developers, retailers or press, the Utah event is for players, organizers say.
This will be the first time the partners have planned the event together, Williams explained, saying that putting comic con's experience and reach behind Salt Lake Gaming Con takes the event "to a whole different level."
"Obviously in a trial by fire, they've done very well for themselves," he said.
Now in it's fourth year, Salt Lake Comic Con just wrapped up its smaller FanX event in March, drawing a new record of 55,000 attendees over two days. Attendance at its headline event, which happens each September, consistently attracts more than 120,000 fans.
Salt lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said the homegrown comic and pop culture convention has firmly established its infrastructure between organizational, creative and marketing teams, and many of the 150,000-plus fan base are also interested in gaming.
Tournaments for cash and prizes will be held at the event for video games and tabletop games, as well as a cosplay contest.
"The esports genre is taking off in a very big way, and so this is going to be a very nice, complimentary attraction with esports," Brandenburg said.
Gaming con tickets range from $11 to $63, with additional discounts offered for children ages 2-8, students, teachers, military, first responders and senior citizens.
Deals are also available for guests looking to buy tickets to both events.