After a year’s forced hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting alongside related health restrictions, the Northern Game Expo is returning to Sudbury with an event at the Caruso Club
“Two years has been a very stressful time trying to get something planned,” co-founder and organizer Bradley Davidson told Sudbury.com this week, adding that it’s been frustrating as both an event organizer and a member of local “nerd culture.”
“It’s the best thing that I could have ever hoped for, is to get everyone in one room when normally they might not converse with one another,” he said, adding that bonds are forged during these kinds of events that can last forever.
This year’s event will find many of the components initially planned for last year’s cancelled show carried over. It will take place at the Caruso Club on Oct. 17 from 12-5 p.m.
Everyone attending must wear a mask at all times and provide proof of vaccination. Although they’re only allowed half-capacity at the venue, Davidson said that at an allowance of 400 people at any given time they can still have a decent crowd. With people coming and going throughout the day, he said even more people will be allow to attend.
“I’m just hoping everyone comes out and has a good time,” he said, adding that they’ve lined up approximately 60 vendors running the gamut of nerd culture, including the likes of video games, comic books and anime.
Northern Game Expo started in 2015 and was inspired by a video game swap meet the event’s founders attended in Barrie called the Barrie Game Exchange.
“We were just in awe with how receptive people were to come out, buy video games, trade video games -- whatever,” Davidson said, adding that on their way back home from the show they decided to throw a similar event in Sudbury, which they did only a few months later.
Approximately 1,100 people attended this inaugural show, with subsequent years finding organizers diversify beyond its initial video game focus to encompass other areas of nerd culture.
“Nerd,” Davidson clarified, is no longer seen as a derogatory term like it was when he was in high school.
“Being a nerd is considered cool, now,” he said. “The nerd culture has really taken off, and the proof is in all these shows.”
One major highlight came during the fourth show in 2018, when renowned vintage video game collector Syd Bolton was a special guest and attended with part of his collection.
The Brantford-based Personal Computer Museum founder died later that year, and Davidson said it was a privilege to have him bring his expertise to the local event.
The following year saw Scott Yaphe, the host of the YTV game show “Uh Oh!” head a panel and conduct a local version of the game.
With last year’s event cancelled, Davidson said this year’s event is something of a reboot and will include a handful of featured vendors, including artist Rob Saccheto of Zombie Portraits, pop culture artist Josh Coulter and graphic designer and video game streamer Abbie Trottier of AwCmonPuddin.
These are “incredible artists,” Davidson said, adding, “There’s going to be something for everybody.”
Those interested in dressing up as their favourite characters will also be encouraged to do so, as it will include a cosplay competition.
Advance tickets are $15 and will allow people to get into the venue an hour early at 11 a.m. Regular admission is $10 at the door and kids age 10 and younger will get in for free.For more information on this year’s event, visit its official website at northerngameexpo.com.