Stepping on to the floor of the Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo (EGLX) in Toronto, it was easy to see its allure. Now in its third year, EGLX started out – as its website states – as a small get-together [that] has grown into Canada’s largest video game event.
While it’s not as big as similar conventions geared towards fans (yet), EGLX feels distinctly intimate, and that has nothing to do with its size. The large floor plan allows you to see everything that’s happening on the big screens from almost anywhere, giving you the freedom to browse booths and other games while keeping tabs on whichever tournament or event is happening on the main stages. You always feel like you’re immersed in the larger event, watching hosts rile up the crowds and celebrities play games with fans on stage while the audience reacts in real-time.
The celebs at EGLX 2018 were not movie stars; they were relevant video game icons like Victor Lucas, Greg Miller/Kinda Funny and Marissa Roberto from HUD. They’re people that know video games and/or make a living from being a part of the gaming culture. Their presence added an authentic feeling to an event that really captures the essence of what video games should represent, an inclusive spectacle that you can share with either your friends or total strangers.
You’re hard-pressed to find someone walking the floor that isn’t a fan of gaming. I watched a kid walk up to a booth that was showcasing a new Dungeons & Dragons-style table-top game called Emberwind, and proceed to play a full round for free with a full, interactive tutorial from the exhibitor on the classes, characters, bosses and more. The intimacy of the whole experience really struck me, as they both tuned out everything around them and just gamed together.
EGLX hosted some big name tournaments as well, including the Canada Cup – the country’s largest annual Fighting game event featuring twenty-three tournaments this year alone and doling out over $50,000 CAD in prize pots. Contestants battled in Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Super Smash Bros, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and more, all in front of good-sized crowds. Players also battled in the World Electronics Sports Games (WESG) tourney playing favourites like PES 2019, CS:GO and Dota 2, with the winner securing their chance to represent their home country in the WESG Grand Finals held in China in March of 2019.
EGLX 2018 had something for everyone, there was even a nerf-style arena that kids could battle in right in the middle of the expo. There were huge screens, lots of games, industry personalities and cool merch – including an awesome Ninja Turtles/Enter the Dragon mash-up tee that I got from ShirtPunch. What more could you ask for as a gamer? I talked with a number of vendors and attendees who all shared the same outlook – EGLX wasn’t done growing. The show that started out as a small get-together and now takes up an entire hall at the MTCC is still evolving, still expanding. If EGLX’s growth in this short few years is any indication, you can expect it to be a huge future draw – and one I’ll surely be attending in 2019.
Did you go? Let us know what you thought in the comments! For more information on EGLX, visit eglx.ca.