This year marks Gamer’s Rhapsody’s third annual convention, a genuine feat, given what it takes to organize and put on staple events like Midwest Game Jam (which gives teams 24 hours to create a game), a Super Smash Bros. tournament, GRID (short for Gamer’s Rhapsody Indie Developers, which grants space for people to showcase projects), and a variety of musical events, special guests, and panels. Held at the Minneapolis DoubleTree Hotel from November 18-20, kids under 12 get in free, so bring the minivan and be prepared to chaperon.
As a community celebrating video games, the focus remains on creative aspects of the medium, “From their art, music, development, and storytelling, video games are highly advanced works of art,” (per the Gamer’s Rhapsody website). Sure, there are speed run contests, and yes, a fair amount of energy drinks will be consumed, but the growing assembly of industry professionals and enthusiasts demonstrates the fact that game culture has matured a great deal since Pong blew people’s minds.
Check out Geek LANd; peruse merch tables.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a convention the size of PAX or Midwest Media Expo (it doesn’t have dozens of tabletop panels, for example), but it does the key thing mid-sized events need to do: It caters to what’s happening in your neck of the woods. In this case, Minnesota.
A number of the special guests share founder Thomas Spargo’s connection to music; Eric Buchholz has a resume that includes work with numerous Zelda-related projects and ReCore music. Emily Reese formerly hosed Top ScoreTM on MPR and now runs Joon Media, Inc. Add performances of videogame music and the audio components becomes a strong draw.
Also, Ben Mullen holds a bunch of Tetris records.
Finally, throw in a partnering with Carbonfund.org (by way of donated speed run proceeds to help offset the environmental impacts of everyone traveling to the event), because a love of electronics doesn’t have to work against Mother Earth.
Congrats, gamers. The next step is for the public to acknowledge the industry alongside novels and poems. We’re getting there.