(Topic ID: 225509)

Midwest Gaming Classic (MGC) 2019 - April 12,13,14 at the Wisconsin Center

By Crashnburn

2 years ago

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    #6 2 years ago
    Quoted from cavalier88z24:

    I thought I heard from Dan this years MGC during the after party, that they were going to expand to another hall next door, next year. and the electrical grid was going to need more work. we maxed it out this year.

    Electric grid ran at about 35% on one of the two and the other ran at about 25%. We just need more cords!

    And, hey! Yeah! We haven't actually said tickets are on sale yet, but tickets are on sale!

    And yes, those with a good memory, we'll have another hall this year. Not the entire thing - There was about 93,000 square feet not used on the third floor by itself. Overall, there is something like 170,000 square feet we didn't use.

    We booked another 31,000 square foot hall for the game room, and we will be explaining how we are going to fix game moving in and out issues (except no guaranty on the snow, which really screwed us, but we have better plans for already!!) from last year, and we definitely want to fill it! We also have some tentative reservations on even more space!

    Lots more to come. If you want tickets for Tom Taylor's Open House, do grab those sooner than later. Only 100 available as usual, and that in particular always fly out the door. I was just at his place on Saturday, and it's incredible as always... 300+ games, all set up and all available for play. All proceeds to charity.


    Hotels can be booked here:


    Feel free to ask questions on here, I'll try to follow it as always!

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from Gornkleschnitzer:

    I remembered hearing a rumor last year that MGC was considering moving back towards summertime. That would definitely address the snow problem - any thoughts about doing that in future years or are there preferences/technicalities keeping you from a warmer season schedule?

    There is a much longer answer than this that I'd be happy to share if anyone really wants more details, but the short version is... I don't know where that rumor would have come from because it was never discussed by us.

    The show actually used to run in the summer a long time ago, but there is a plethora of reasons it doesn't make sense. While the risk of a freak snowstorm is definitely more there in April, the benefits of having it during that time vastly outweigh the negatives, still.

    That isn't to say that we would never do something during the summertime, just that the MGC proper wouldn't be there.

    #20 2 years ago
    Quoted from Mikala:

    Dan, what kind of tournaments are you planning for Friday night? It was listed on the web site.

    For pinball, pingolf and clock chaos, although chaos is now going to take on a team play aspect.

    #26 2 years ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    We're actually thinking of passing this year, for the first time in years. That was a LOT of walking back and forth from the hotel to the show, skyway or not. "Oh, we're gonna go grab a bite to eat? Let me go get my jacket - be back in half an hour".... To me, part of the fun of the other venue was it's "underground" feel, walking through the halls in the hotel with a beer, not knowing what you were gonna find around the corner. It was like a treasure hunt. Last year it just felt like a buncha games in a big room like any other show. Loading/offloading definitely needs to be addressed too. Let me close by saying this show quickly became my favorite, and the only year I missed was the first one, but not a fan of the new venue. Unfortunately probably a deal breaker for my (older) crew and myself.
    And I know nobody can tame Mother Nature, but last year WAS a mother........

    If you decide that, I totally get it. Having said that, a few quick things that we *are* addressing and in many cases already have addressed this year...

    On food, we have a much better sense of how to have on site food next year. One of the big problems that we had is that in a new venue, it was extremely difficult to figure out what was the right amount of food to have. Jersey Mike's, who we've partnered with for like 5 years at this point, brought food for Saturday based on their sales from last year plus 10%. It was *entirely* sold out by 1pm, and they called in people to remake and redeliver as much food as possible, but there was a delay because of that. The on-site food locations experienced much of the same sort of issues, but in some ways worse because they had absolutely nothing to go off of. There was more options, but the amount of people eating there shot up this year.

    If you're looking for off-site locations, honestly I think that we were just about equal to the past. In the past, there was the food court in the mall that you could walk across the parking lot too, and then some other locations in the same area. At the WI Center, there is a mall with a food court kitty-corner from the event, and a bunch of locations within a block of it. To me, it's a horse apiece on that front. And I actually like the fancier food near the WI Center, but that's personal taste.

    So, I agree it could be improved, and the history of having a year with actual sale data will do a *lot* of that for us.

    For the treasure hunt aspect, I totally appreciate what you're saying. I can only say that we fought to retain what of that we could. We managed to find smaller rooms for every one of the smaller rooms that we had at the previous location. Those rooms were all bigger. Some people had issues finding these rooms, which we have worked out a fix for next year (moving the ticketing location). The big room did combine two halls into one at the show, but it sort of is what it is.

    If you were walking with a beer, however, it means my guards weren't doing their job...

    Loading definitely needs to be addressed, and it already has been. Long story short, we had "powers that be" that held us back from operating the load out how we wanted. That, combined with a ton of snow that meant that the only place people were willing to load was on the ramps (which, for the record, made perfect sense) meant it was crazier than we had wanted it to be, for sure. Having said that, while it could have been done smoother for sure, the line of cars to pick stuff up was totally gone by 8:30pm.

    While the line was not great, a small number of tweaks to this should allow us to greatly fix this issue for next year, and we confirmed before we even sniffed our contract that we would be able to do this in the way that we thought made sense - and the location both agreed to let us and agreed that our plan should greatly increase speed.

    The first year at a new location definitely wasn't everything we had hoped it would be, but I also think for the most part it was decently smooth. Gary and I created a laundry list of things to address, and I hope that most people's issues are on it and being addressed already. The good news is that a lot of the biggest problems are pretty easily addressable. Maybe keep an eye out, and if we can prove that we've done enough, give us another shot

    #32 2 years ago
    Quoted from Goonie:

    My advice, get rid of that tall dude who was at the dock. That guy was odd. You'd be better off without him.

    I seriously sat here thinking about who in the world would have been the tall guy on the dock. I could only picture one person in my head, and tall isn't what I would have used to describe him as.

    Then I got it.

    #40 2 years ago
    Quoted from bkfiv:

    Geez - I didn't even know there were other floors or smaller rooms & still really enjoyed the experience.

    Yeah, and we're acutely aware that this happened. The ticketing process, especially because of how it played out on Saturday morning, more or less "hid" the 15 rooms of stuff that we had. We have a slightly different layout for next year - sharing the space with another group that had signed up first - that will actually significantly improve the flow of the show. There was a severe learning curve, made more difficult by certain things that were out of our hands, this year. We should be able to fix all of that for next.

    Quoted from Gornkleschnitzer:

    Is there a good list of nearby restaurants?

    It looks totally plain, but my family LOVES Build a Breakfast - Build a Burger which is one block away.

    1 month later
    #54 2 years ago
    Quoted from cavalier88z24:

    re-bumping this thread. MGC V.I.G tickets on sale now, go up $15 each on Monday (11/19) per Facebook post. sorry to let the word out goatdan. get them now. I did

    I'm glad you did! It's hard for me to keep up with everything right now, it feels like things are changing minute by minute!

    The month of October felt like we were just spinning our wheels. Between the election sucking up all the advertising prices so it was hard to get anything noticed, and then nearly all of the stuff we felt like we needed to fall into place before we could nail down the majority of details hitting roadblocks I couldn't do anything about, and terribly slow ticket sales in large part because of both factors, it was not a great month.

    Last week, Gary and I decided screw it, we're moving forward and if we can't figure out a way to get replies, we'll just have to change that plan but first give it one more try.

    That try resulted in extremely positive results, and it appears that everything we hoped to do in our blue sky period will actually occur this year, something we've never been able to pull off.

    Then, a number of people came to me with brand new ideas that they want to do, which makes things even better. In the last week, everything has fallen into place, and now we're flying!

    It's going to be great stuff!

    #57 2 years ago
    Quoted from Gornkleschnitzer:

    I believe I sent in an application to bring a game - is that in a queue or did it get lost in cyberspace? The autoreply said someone would contact me for details but I haven't heard anything back.

    Keith runs that and checks quite sporadically untik we nail down all the details to send out, usually around January!

    1 week later
    #68 2 years ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    You were a lucky one. I inquired about parking on the ramp, was told there was space, and by the time I got there fri afternoon I was told it was full. Additional expense I hadn’t planned on. Is what it is, show got busy, and I’m glad for that. I understand nothing was guaranteed. They should sell spots on the ramp though, make some extra money and have set number stalls that could be presold. That way those that need it, get it. For people who live in town and go back home, they shouldn’t take up space when out of town people need it.
    Great show, support it 100%

    Before I question this, please understand that I'm asking for it as a breakdown of what happened, not as an accusation.

    Who told you that it was full? We did fill the upstairs place, but worked out free parking for trailers within a mile of the center. We actually picked up the tab on that. Only one person took us up on that, and we were surprised to find that out because we actually did have space upstairs for that one trailer, and no one remembers telling them where that is.

    There is some extreme logistic issues with that space that I won't go into here, but we're on it.

    Please note, this is *only* for trailers, unfortunately we don't have any easy way to do anything easy for cars, but we hope everyone is cool with that. They seemed to be last year. Additionally, we ask people who are in the area if you have a trailer to please drop it off at home and come back. We'd love to house them all, but we just can't.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    The load in/out is the one and only thing i would like to see improved from last year and my impression is that they are on it...

    It was legitimately one of the points that I had as a sticking point before we re-signed this year. Having said that, even with the snow and for it being run absolutely not how we expected it to be, we only had a line for load out for three hours. If it was not snowing, that would have probably been halved. If we could run it the way we wanted to, that probably could have been halved. If both of those happened, even though our plan wasn't perfect, I think it could have been basically no line.

    I can't promise no line, but I have been assured I can operate the dock the way we want to this year. I'm hopefully working on a large update to game bringer information next week, and a lot of that will be in there.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    For load out, I am hoping they will have additional routes out of the building and I plan to use them. This will alleviate the crunch time of all leaving out one ramp/main door.

    I have already been informed of one building loading dock that we did not know of and did not utilize last year. We intend to use it this year of course, although it will mainly be for the second floor people...

    However, the second floor people based on how they were told to move things last year (not by us) ended up on the docks for really long times because they had to leave it downstairs and then haul it up once they were on the dock. This was obviously a delay.

    If they aren't being forced to do this, that alone should take away a ton of the issue.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    All said, take away the snow and I think it would have been much smoother anyway.

    Honestly, it would have been. We had expected people would be able to load their trailers in place, for instance, and many of them were told that they had to hitch the trailer, pull up on a dock, and then load. I get it, because the snow made no one want to load at the bottom of the ramp, but if that change alone could have worked (which was part of our plan, but not the other stuff that got screwed up by the Center's changes... it was just weather), that would have cut about 5 minutes off 30-45 vehicles load up time. Considering we were only "allowed" to have five cars go up at a time, this alone would have eliminated minimally 30 minutes of the wait.


    On a completely unrelated note, if anyone wants to buy tickets for Tom's this year, you should do so sooner than later! You can get them here:


    Additionally, we announced that there is a special NES cart for a nametag for VIG. Understanding that many people who bring games would rather be at the Sunday after party, and don't need Saturday and Sunday admission, we will have a solution for you for the rest of it. We're working out exactly what that will be still, but if I don't post it in the next week or so, please poke me and I'll make sure to get it up! The last few weeks of planning were really difficult for personal reasons (that are fine, just took up a bunch of time). The next month, I expect to get a LOT done.

    Oh, and if you're not bringing a game, if you can pre-purchase your ticket I'd appreciate it. We're putting together a ton, and we use all the money we get to invest in the show this year. This year, it seems like a ton of amazing opportunities have presented them self, but everyone's got a price and sadly I don't have enough money to schedule them all right away

    Just announced the return of Svengoolie and the DeLorean too, and about to start a bunch of other announcements!

    #71 2 years ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    Hello goatdan, let me first thank you for your efforts in making mgc the greatest show in the midwest! Cant wait for april again! In regards to last year, when we arrived at the docks to unload on friday evening we were told there was no more room for trailers on the ramp. I did mention i had inquired about space before the trip, but was denied flatly. There were many uhauls and trailers parked around so whether there was room or not i dont know. I located parking off site and my parking tag says 8pm so i wouldve been on the ramp around 715 or so imagine. Who helped us, i have no idea. Looking forward to another great year!

    Actually, you answered it...

    "was denied flatly."

    That means it was the center, not us. Yarg. Sorry about that. Better communication this year, I promise.

    #73 2 years ago
    Quoted from lordloss:

    Best part for vendors was the bathroom and food vendors in the same area. No need to run back into the hotel trying to find either.

    We're going to bring that back this year!

    And add a bathroom to the game room too!

    3 months later
    #80 1 year ago
    Quoted from chad:

    22 days out!!


    Maybe we can move it one more week back? Please? Maybe?

    Heh, map / guide Monday I expect!

    #81 1 year ago

    No, wait! Map NOW!

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    #85 1 year ago
    Quoted from aobrien5:

    What's MGC Lifesty(l)e?

    Yup, caught the error after I put it out there. Should have waited until Monday! HA!

    In short, there is a wedding show in D this year (where our vendor hall was last year). We are placing certain things that have potential cross over in this area to benefit them and to find us a fun spot for them. So, for instance the Carcade portable gaming systems will be there, as they get hired for weddings relatively often. SunRun will be in the area. Tesla will be in the area so long as everything works out right there (if you follow Tesla, they have, uh, had a lot of things changing around since we announced them and there is a chance they will have to pull, and then I expect to replace them but may not be able to in the same location...). And so on.

    The "Lifestyle" thing was someone's idea as a way to place "things that might entice wedding show people too to give them a bigger benefit, and hopefully give people time to decide to stop at MGC on their way out of the wedding show "

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    #87 1 year ago
    Quoted from cavalier88z24:

    damn why didn't you tell me that. plenty of opportunities to meet hot bridesmaids.


    I just DID tell you that, show hasn't happened yet

    And, do bridesmaids usually go to wedding shows? I got married so long ago I have no idea what that scene is like, but I know when I went to a few, we didn't take any bridesmaids along.

    #89 1 year ago
    Quoted from abracadabra:

    I'm buying a machine thru the Marco/Stern deal. Will I be able to remove my machine on Saturday April 13th or do I have to wait until Sunday night? I received an email stating "Game removal times are expected to be Saturday, April 13th from 7pm-8pm or Sunday from 3:30pm-11pm."

    The show games are different. All of the manufacturers are set up to not allow game removal until the show closes at 5pm on Sunday or else the discount for the game does not apply.

    #91 1 year ago

    From having talked with the other manufacturers too, the same deal applies to them.

    #96 1 year ago
    Quoted from dirtbag66:

    Just looked at the vendor list. No Color DMD or Pinsound booths? Seriously?

    I think that because Pinball Expo is known as being a "pinball only" show that traditionally as a vendor you have to go to to get covered, a lot of companies opt for one show in a region and not multiple. Since the MGC is not a pinball only show and cuts across all sectors, and since the "pinball media" so to speak generally covers Expo more than they cover us, I think a number of companies decide that is better for what they do.

    I would absolutely make space for anyone that would like to come. I'm actually emailing a bunch of vendors about our Silent Auction as I type this, and I mention if anyone would like to vend we'd love to have them. Maybe in the future, we'll get things the pinball media wants to cover more, and then I'd love a flood of vendors coming in! Having said that, I'm always happy to just spend my pinball money with Rob Anthony every year anyway

    #98 1 year ago
    Quoted from Borygard:

    You're awesome Dan, but we all knew that.

    Aw, thanks. This reminds me, I've been meaning to tell you that the never ending saga of that STTNG might show back up in your room this year

    Speaking of awesome, here's a list of presentations so far for the show:


    Some good stuff, I think

    #104 1 year ago
    Quoted from f3honda4me:

    Well now I guess I want free show tickets instead of the $20 show cash lol. This way I can come friday night. :p

    Friday night is actually a different ticket than what game bringers get. There is a huge explanation behind this that I'll spare everyone right now, but a game brought gets Saturday, Saturday Night and Sunday, but unfortunately not Friday.

    #106 1 year ago
    Quoted from iloveplywood:

    Eh, the money goes to a good cause at least. I honestly can't believe people actually put all the effort required to run this type of a show. The organizers of this show kind of boggle my mind. I could hardly throw my son a birthday party.

    Trust me, after four nights of being up until 2am or later and waking up at 7am, I don't understand what I do either.

    #108 1 year ago

    Hey, better to catch it now than wait until later.

    Here's a bit more of the reasoning behind it:

    Unfortunately a number of people were selling machines at the MGC on Friday. Now, I'd usually say that's a great thing, but here was how some people were doing it...

    - Bring pinball machine
    - Register pinball machine, get weekend and Saturday night tickets
    - Game bringer meets pre-arranged purchaser, who they show the machine to (purchaser did not need a ticket)
    - Purchaser packs up machine, loads it up and takes it home

    We had now given out that person's tickets for absolutely nothing on the show floor, and the purchaser didn't pay to come either, and we had to reshuffle the show floor. Thanks to people like this - and it happened more than once and the final straw was someone bragging on a Facebook group I'm part of about how if they came Friday they could get in and buy their game without it even being used for free, and it was stupid to pay - we realized we had to hire additional security and come up with a whole system beyond the "trust them if they say they are setting up a game" thing to handle this.

    Ultimately, the genesis of Preview Night came from us realizing that we were going to have more expenses to properly organize this, and then thinking about what else we could do with it. In it's current form, it addresses two other issues:

    The MGC focuses strongly on content - more than 100,000 square feet of the show floor is content - and the vast majority of that content is individuals, collectors, or independent groups setting is up, so the expenses to run this show are absolutely absurd, and while we do have vendors, the money that is charged for their space doesn't even make up the costs for their own space compared to what we pay to the Center.

    Preview Night has allowed us to increase revenues a bit to be able to expand things more than we otherwise would have. The Game Room in particular this year will be ~63,500 feet. Two years ago, the combined space for the Arcade, Museum and Tabletop areas was about ~15,000 square feet.

    It also allowed us to address the request by long time show-goers that the show had gotten too big and the lines were too long. Based on the number of tickets we sell, if people were playing four player games of pinball, 100% of the people coming to VIG would be able to play on JUST the NIB machine count that are opened and brought to the show at the same time. But, since all the video games are open, table top, D&D, arcade video, and there are special tournaments, the likelihood on Friday Preview Night that someone will be able to walk up to a new game and play is extremely high.

    We can't make the same promise about Saturday or Sunday, but we wanted to create an experience for people to do that.

    Preview Night ultimately allowed us to do all of this stuff, while people who bring arcade machines still get the similar (but with food, an auction, drinks, and less people!) After Party on Saturday night.

    Hope that all makes sense. A lot of thought went into it, and while it isn't perfect, I think it's the best compromise we could have made!

    #112 1 year ago
    Quoted from Crashnburn:

    Hey Dan, will there be food available on Friday night or is it just the vending machines?

    My suggestion is to come a bit early and visit a restaurant nearby. The Center won't open food unless we guarantee them an insane minimum, which would never be made, so vending machines is where it's at otherwise.

    The GOOD news on vending machines is the first floor has a new thing where the always-closed Coffee shop was (the minimums for the coffee shop were iNsAnE!), and it's much nicer than anything like that they had, with fresh salads, subs, and stuff like that.

    #116 1 year ago
    Quoted from BlueIrocGuy:

    So is Marco going to have any BK Sword of Rage pins for sale and delivery at the show this year?

    I'm still learning most of what is going on, thus nothing on Facebook from us about this yet... but from what I am told, if you called Marco right now, you should be able to reserve one. I'm still learning trim levels and whatnot.

    #121 1 year ago
    Quoted from vidgameseller:

    hopefully you block that person from coming again. I know that I sold games in the past, but always either sold them in the parking lot, so they were never entered, or told the person they had to stay till sunday.
    This year, all that bought have been told they can not take them till Sunday at 5pm.

    Yeah, zero issues with that Troy. That's how it should have gone.

    I didn't ban them, but I told them (sadly, more than one, and nicely, through Facebook) that if they did that again it would be considered trespassing.

    We had to change a ton of stuff with the show for stupid edge cases like this... . Most people are cool.

    #124 1 year ago
    Quoted from RustyLizard:

    I remember the guy who bought two games about 6 years ago and shut them down for the weekend because he wouldn't know how to fix them if they broke. Both games I wanted to try for the first time. I think you have a good system in place now. It is best for the show if games stay for the weekend.

    Yup! One year, we had a vendor who brought four games to the show to have in his booth, and someone walked in and bought them all at about 10:30 and demanded that they be turned off throughout the weekend. Wanted them removed too, and the vendor told him no way, if they did he would have no display. Some people are weird when it comes to stuff like that. We've had a LOT less of that as the years have gone by.

    In our earlier shows, I had so many people ask me why we put the video games with the pinball machines, and suggest we run it as two separate shows. Now people see to get it.

    And that strategy is finally starting to really pay off! Spent most of the afternoon speaking with a Jersey company about potential show sponsorship packages.

    #127 1 year ago
    Quoted from Marvin:

    I get why you want games to stay, but the buyer should be under no obligation to leave his/her games at a show. If the vendor refused to let them take the games then the vendor should have refused to take the money. The vendor essentially stole those games for 3 days.

    If I'm a vendor, I want stuff in my booth. If someone showed up and offered me money for them all, and I told them you couldn't get them until Sunday because otherwise I have no display, that isn't "stealing", it's them doing business.

    Is Marco "stealing" from Stern customers because they put their games up on display?

    In both of the above cases, the buyers approved of it. Otherwise, Vendor A would NOT have sold the games because having a booth was more important to him than selling the machines, and Marco wouldn't have a booth if people just grabbed their stuff.

    If it's not a condition of sale, sure, take them.

    I would hate to be a person who sells machines and wants to show the work I do with an empty booth and no games to show my work on. Really hard to show them what you're doing.

    #128 1 year ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Pretty much every show is going to have rules around game removal and that is clearly a good thing.

    Most do, and it is a good thing. I also try to keep the MGC as loose as possible with it, because I do get that sometimes, someone shows up on Friday night and cannot get back on Sunday, so I want to give people options, otherwise we DO actually stand in the way of sales, and that isn't fair.

    But, for us, what we have really tried to do here is to make it so we give early sales additional benefits.

    You sell your game and have it removed Saturday at 11am? Cool! You don't get to keep your After Party Pass or your Sunday admission, because the game has left and having it there was the condition of that. Additionally, instead of me eating multiple hundreds of dollars of dock fees, we pass that to you, the buyer, when you pick up the machine based on the time you get it (aka, during show hours when we wouldn't otherwise have the dock open!)

    This incentivizes everyone to keep things as long as possible, but gives everyone a fair way to remove things if the need really arises. If I have systems in place that doesn't negatively impact the show itself - in the way of revenue and whatnot for us - and that simply passes that cost on, I do feel like that is fair. But especially now, subsidizing people to take games off the floor doesn't make sense. Quite frankly, I think the system is ultra fair as the "cost" of removing the game is enough to make someone think twice, but not enough to stop them from doing it if they have to.

    Before, there were multiple incentives to remove early. That really isn't fair. I'm comfortable with the decision.

    If it makes someone not come to the show, I'll have to live with that decision. If enough people opt not to come or bring games, we'll have to deal with the fall out. But, quite frankly, it's easier in many ways to deal with having less machines and them not leaving then it is to deal with more machines but having 25% check out early.

    Having said all this, please note that I don't mean with extenuating circumstances like last year. That was a whole show decision however.

    #131 1 year ago
    Quoted from goatdan:

    And that strategy is finally starting to really pay off! Spent most of the afternoon speaking with a Jersey company about potential show sponsorship packages.

    I'm surprised no one called me on this. It's true. Jersey Mike's is going to be a show sponsor.

    #134 1 year ago
    Quoted from f3honda4me:

    What is Jersey Mike’s?

    Amazing subs. They've done the show as an outside vendor with us for like seven years, and they are totally stepping up their involvement this year! Might even be revealing a new product for MGC showgoers (like...a club sub which they haven't taken before!)

    The Midwest Gaming Classic, presented by Jersey... . Has a nice ring to it!

    #136 1 year ago
    Quoted from f3honda4me:

    Now I’m hungry for a sub.

    No joke, they're the best. My sign guy who found out about this almost right away said the smell of Jersey Mike's to him is the smell of mgc.

    #140 1 year ago

    Someone mentioned our power grid that we build every year.

    Here is a quarter mile of cord we made new this year for your viewing pleasure.

    IMG_20190330_171705_348 (resized).jpg

    #158 1 year ago
    Quoted from f3honda4me:

    A man’s frunk is his own business.

    I got junk in my frunk.

    #159 1 year ago

    Okay, serious question. Is anyone from the Lexington area coming up? And if so, would you have space to bring something?

    #172 1 year ago
    Quoted from kcZ:

    Pitchfork put away.
    Thanks for the clarification.


    #191 1 year ago
    Quoted from Fortytwo:

    On a different note. Dan you guys have done a stellar job promoting this year. Last year not many podcasts etc were talking about the show. And the non spooky ones didn’t get details right. This year I have heard alotnof chatter and rumors. See all you guys in a few days.

    Thanks! One never knows! I think last year was actually the reason people are talking more. Everyone kept claiming we weren't really a pinball show (since we aren't JUST a pinball show), and I think last year some companies realized that might be a positive. Here's hoping to a great year! We've been busting our asses to make it happen!

    #192 1 year ago
    Quoted from janus:

    Dan, I'm looking at a 6 hour drive home. What's a fair time to load up my machine Sunday?

    There is a dock free until 3.30pm of $50 to remove before then, as we have to pay a lot to open the dock for people so we are passing that on this year (last year, we would have been in the clear had we not opened the docks to anyone on Sunday early, although if we are under the same circumstances we probably would again). If you can leave it until then, we'd super appreciate it. It also makes Sunday a lot less crazy to run.

    We think we have solved or nearly solved particularly the arcade hall load out issues and expect to get people out quickly. I promise, we'll do out best!

    #195 1 year ago
    Quoted from janus:

    Does this mean for $50 I could skate at 2?


    #199 1 year ago
    Quoted from cavalier88z24:

    Wow. 2 brand new games to play during preview night that I never played? I'm glad I bought my preview ticket. there can't be many left. goatdan your going to have to turn the power off on me. (again)

    Sales on this is a funny thing, as it seems to ebb and flow with no meaning, and completely different than our regular tickets which are following their usual trajectory but slightly increased over last year lately.

    Last I checked which was last night, I think it was 9 tickets remain. That'll either last until we close ticket sales (three days ago, we sold two of them all day), or it will be gone any moment (two days ago, we sold 12 in a day).

    #201 1 year ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    it is $50 per game, correct?
    If not, then it should be.

    Don't get me wrong, I get the sentiment, but it's not.

    We've worked out agreements with all the large groups to stay, so it's really just a collector thing. Most collectors that bring a bunch are from closer. All of the new games are required to stay until 5pm.

    If people pay $50, pull 8 games at 11am and then hang out at the show the rest of the day using the comped wristbands, I'll definitely relook at it. I don't think anyone will be doing that though.

    #203 1 year ago
    Quoted from aobrien5:

    Are tickets the same price at the show as they are pre-order? Going to be a last minute decision for me this year, unfortunately.

    Friday and VIG will sell out, any time now for both (two VIG left, 6 Friday it looks like). The rest will be available at the door, but they don't start selling until 10am, so it's usually lines to get in for a while. Pre-sale starts getting wristbands at 9am and we can usually keep those lines low.

    Oh yeah, and to go much faster in line, cash is preferred. Credit still works, but does take longer.

    #206 1 year ago

    Just added Butch Patrick to the list of guests! Thanks to Marco Specialties for the huge assist, and the TPF for being so awesome that he wanted to go to more pinball-centric shows

    IMG_9101 (resized).JPG
    #216 1 year ago
    Quoted from KingPinGames:

    any lost games will go home with me since I am generally last or second to last to leave.

    I seem to remember your truck not fitting everything, and a certain tractor that makes train sounds making the ride home with me last year

    Quoted from huo:

    Is there a good place for breakfast? I’m staying at the Hilton. I think I missed this last year and appreciated it at the Sheraton.

    About a block away from the Hilton is a place called Built a Breakfast Build a Burger. It sounds generic and weird, but is one of my absolute favorite places in town to eat. They've got some great breakfast stuff, and their moz sticks are one of my favorite things too. Honestly, nearly everything they have, I love.

    #221 1 year ago
    Quoted from cpr9999:

    Just curious, will he be signing items?


    Quoted from tilted81:

    He did at tpf for a fee. I don’t think it was much tho

    We don't do fees at MGC. However, as I always say, the amount of time may be limited.

    #233 1 year ago
    Quoted from epthegeek:

    It's a bit confusing to draw, given how dense that area is - but if you go straight like you're going to 794, pass the 43 North you would take, pass the 43/94 south, then there's an exit on the right for St Paul/James lovell that you can take and hook under the freeway to come out on 'james lovell' which is basically 7th street, or take it st paul and go down to 6th street and turn left.

    Yup, if you map to the Hilton instead of the Wisconsin Center, it will show you this.

    #237 1 year ago
    Quoted from Jediturtle:

    Well...since you are bringing (buying) a game, you will have weekend wristbands, so technically you can "get in" any time. You just can't break down and remove the game until 5pm.

    Yes, and please remember the way that goes is that the game has to be broken down and ready to go before you come back up for it.

    I really, truly do believe that pick up times should go quickly this year - I've spent more time meeting and discussiing the plan than just about anything else - but please understand if there is a slight delay at the beginning. We'll do (and are already doing) everything we can to make it as short as possible.

    #260 1 year ago

    Mgc 4 Life.

    You get funny looks checking out when you buy a metric ton of sharpies and pool noodles. Just in case anyone else ever has to do that, be warned.

    IMG_20190408_124055 (resized).jpg
    #270 1 year ago

    Marco should be sending out details. They thought they had.

    And yes, if you aren't there to open before the show, they will. The point of a show game is to have it for the show to show it to more perspective buyers. It more or less doesn't become "yours" until 5pm on Sunday.

    #281 1 year ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    call around to each of the partner hotels.
    They all have rooms left, just no the show block it appears.
    I have a buddy that just got a room yesterday by calling.

    It has to do with who has had cancelations and who hasn't, unless it's upgraded rooms. I know the Hilton is back to 100% sold out as of this morning. They had a couple yesterday.

    #298 1 year ago
    Quoted from f3honda4me:

    None with vendor locations though?

    We generally don't specifically label where certain vendors will be, as we have so many of them and it is really tough to map out. In general, the pinball ones are in the arcade room (The spot on the map is sort of off, they are in the center more).

    #337 1 year ago
    Quoted from epthegeek:

    they talked to Matt (somebody) about the show.

    Matt Isbill, lovingly referred to as BAM by some of us, has been helping me handle media requests for the past few years. You can also see him on Friday morning on TV.

    My wife didn't want me to do a morning interview with the kids screaming around the house, which was probably the right call. Glad to know it went well, I missed it!

    #515 1 year ago
    Quoted from Frogman:

    Computer systems down for a 1/2 hour and no backup plan. Loong line for those who already have tickets. I get that the event is staffed with volunteers, but someone with real operations chops needs to get involved at an event of this size.

    It was ten minutes, and you actually have multiple professionals involves already. It was a full network outage. I'm sorry for your delay, and hope that the rest of the weekend can make up for it. Having said that, the place where these people work that entertains multiple thousands of people sometimes have the same issues.

    #516 1 year ago

    I was really just here to say that I miss some of the wacky photos from the Sheraton days...

    #529 1 year ago
    Quoted from Frogman:

    Admittedly, I don't know the details of your setup, but it really can't hurt to have a backup plan when you are expecting 10,000 attendees for an event.

    There is a backup, but it required us to reboot the system to switch it over. An ID system would have taken forever.

    Preview night is limited to less than 700 people. Today is a much bigger day. There is currently no line so I can sit on Pinside checking comments.

    It's all good, but trust me, at a location where I used to work where we had an average of more than 10k a day (and I was actually in charge of logistics), this sort of stuff did happen too.

    Like I said, hope the rest is enjoyable. Two of us were not able to be there at the exact moment for reasons, so that's part of what was going on too. Convergence of issues.

    #648 1 year ago

    Hey all,

    First, thanks for everything! I needed a thread like this after not finishing last night until past 4am and about to depart on a full day today.

    Overall I'm pretty happy with everything right now. There are definitely some things to fix - in particular, load out had a big snafu immediately that was out of our control, followed by MPD freaking out making the building suddenly pull up people to park them all over randomly, and us losing control of the order for a period. This was followed by a few vendors who went crazy and totally took forever loading. Two are already planned not to come back.

    My storage area, which was super organized, is now a bigger mess than ever. *sigh*

    If this happened to you, sorry. We'll do better next year.

    On the flip side, a lot of stuff went really well. I'll think about those more when I finish load out.

    #742 1 year ago
    Quoted from leonml:

    No one's suggesting the country you jackass. Just not downtown Milwaukee. Yeah, the place everyone is clamoring about. Vacation capital. Use that rock that resides on your shoulders for something other then a hat rack.

    I'm not here to argue, because clearly this show isn't for you, so I'm cool with you not going but I'll simply say this.

    We were in the Sheraton until last year. Waaaaaaay more people complained about how cramped it was, and the pricing was similar.

    Anyone that knows me, I'm pretty honest about the show not making a boatload of cash. Yes that was my Tesla on the floor. I saved 19 years for a DeLorean and opted for it instead. Last year I earned $4800 for my entire salary in the year working on the show.

    If $45 is too much for you and you hate it, don't come. I wouldn't. You don't owe me anything, and if the show fails, then clearly I wasn't listening to enough people.

    But you're arguing that we should be cheaper and have less people. You clearly aren't listening to how the show operates (and to be fair, you don't need to!), but there is no way I see to make it cheaper while also making it less attended.

    I think I may have come up with a potential idea for load out next year this morning. Talking to the center about it soon. Would open us up to about 25 cars at once instead of 6. If we can do that - or is the weather is like it is today - it'll be different.

    We'll get there for those that like what we're doing and if we don't, I'll accept the show has run its course and move on. As much as I do enjoy doing it most of the time, the stress is extreme and takes a physical toll on me.

    It was great seeing everyone. I wish I could have spent a lot more time with all of you at the show!

    #744 1 year ago
    Quoted from badbilly27:

    Just a point of comparison. I also attend comic book conventions and other hobby conventions. ~$45 is the average cost across all of them. So MGC is not over priced IMHO.

    Just another question, at those, what do meet and greets cost? Interactive content?

    I'm not complaining at you or anyone else, but when you break it down I think we're a great value. A photo and autograph for certain ones of our industry professionals was usually a $50+ thing. All of them were included in the price.

    #757 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    As I recall MGC started with the gaming. Pinball came into MGC later.
    And the pinball part keeps getting bigger and better every year.
    LTG : )

    Only one year as a pure video game show and while we claim that as the beginning of the show, the first year we actually created the concept it was pinball. For a while, it was electronic gaming and we did evolve there (and continue to!)

    #769 1 year ago

    I wanted to post this yesterday but crashed out...

    Thank you to everyone who did so much to make this year's show a success. I always say that the first year we do something is a little rough and then after that it gets better and while we didn't nail everything the way I had hoped, we got a lot closer than I expected to, and I credit that success to a wonderful set of people involved with the show.

    The arcade team did an amazing job getting the hall together. I was concerned about how everything was going to come together and then it just did, which I super appreciate. The new Stern and Jersey Jack games were hits for everyone I spoke with. I played both (once!) when I was super tired and although I couldn't form a full opinion, I liked both.

    Some other random fun highlights for me...

    - Undertale Pinball. It's actually better than I imagined it would be. Loved it.
    - Test Your Might at the main stage went off exactly how I had envisioned it in my head. That NEVER happens. It was incredible.
    - I sat down with Eric Bischoff for a couple minutes at the signing table on Sunday, and he was positively glowing about the show. He said he was nervous about how different from other things he was used to, but the difference made it better.
    - I picked up Tad Stones to take him to the airport yesterday. He had tons of ideas for next year, and told me he's in no matter what.
    - The dock situation wasn't a highlight, but at the most miserable point for me, I had one vendor who said it is what it is and can't kill the vibe of the weekend, happily waiting in his car and playing ukelele. He handed me a beer to "keep you warm". (to be clear, he was not drinking)
    - Casey.
    - The "crowd" photos that were taken at some of the presentations were really awesome.
    - Giving out the first MGC Pillar Awards at the Game Conference on Friday night.
    - Screaming at, getting screamed at, and laughing uproarously with Arda Ocal and Jason Gares late Friday night as we prepped for presentations on Saturday and Sunday.
    - The ridiculous MGC Championship Belt.
    - Both After Parties on site, which I bounced between.

    And seriously, meeting and seeing everyone both involved or just attending the show. This show wouldn't exist without the support of so many people, and that's always at the top of my mind. Like I said at the after party, the whole process has made me an optimist over the years. If we can bring together such a diverse group of people and to create something so unique and wacky, what can't we solve.

    Both Gary and I are proud to be the ringmaster of one hell of a circus.

    IMG_20190412_181442 (resized).jpg
    #770 1 year ago

    Oh hey, a couple random facts I just thought of...

    Kevin Manne from Buffalo Pinball I met in 1999 at the first Jagfest I went to. It was this traveling show thsy we hosted in 2001 that started what we have now.

    Someone mentioned how much cheaper it must have been at the Sheraton. On a square footage cost basis, the Wisconsin Center is cheaper. We also have more. Than twice as much space as we did two years ago.

    #792 1 year ago
    Quoted from CKrueger:

    I have two of those awesome 3D box art things.

    For the second year, I have wanted to look at these and get one, and for the second year I passed by them a bunch.

    Which ones did you get?

    #822 1 year ago
    Quoted from Trogdor:

    I will concede that ticket prices are high

    So, first, I will concede that the ticket price are very high too. (And I'm not replying to you in this, just in general after seeing your note above...) It's part of the issue with doing a show like this though - we invest SO much into content, and content costs a crapload of money. While the preliminary numbers look better than they have in years past, I'll simply say we had to make the show make me full time last year because the workload is so intense, but how it stands right now there is no way to pay Gary a full time salary to join me - even with pretty good preliminary numbers.

    We tend to think of the show as a premium product because of the amount of content we put forth, and it seems a lot of people agree with that.

    Having said all that, the price increase from the Sheraton to the Wisconsin Center was $5 / day, and $0 / day on a two day pass. We did not increase ticket prices this year while adding more space. It isn't like these prices suddenly appeared or anything.

    If you compare us to other shows, I think we work out pretty fair. Correct me if I'm wrong - TPF was $70 for a weekend pass, $30 for Friday, $40 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday. We place a premium on our Friday passes and drastically limit them. If you take that day and the theory out, the difference in single day admission for us is just $5 on Saturday. Pinball Expo is $30 each day except Saturday when it is $35. I don't currently see a three day cheaper options, so our three day pricing ($100) is $5 more than that, and I don't think any of their dates are capacity limited.

    And, while I totally get that the not-pinball stuff isn't for everyone, I don't feel like the amount we run over those two shows is crazy when you consider all that extra stuff. Finally, I don't know what Expo's rules on kids are, but I know we go to higher ages on the free kids thing than other shows generally do.

    I mean, look - ultimately, a show like ours isn't for everyone. And that's totally cool. It's been built over the years to become what it is, and we like it for that. But, I can say with certainty that a reduction in price of even $5 a day would have moved the show from "comfortable" to "well, that was the last show everyone!" real fast. I don't perceive *that* happening.

    #823 1 year ago
    Quoted from Trogdor:

    A few pins were out for most of the show.

    Lexy was brought unworking. I know pretty much the whole story, but in short I don't think the system has been stress tested to work "in the wild". GeeksMania was willing to take a bath on it to get out from a bad investment, unfortunately, and one which is really disappointing on a number of levels. Enough said about that.

    Also, the Full Throttle was out for most of the show, which I bought right before the show to share at the show and couldn't look at, and I'm frustrated to say that I got the game home, set it up, and it... works fine?!?

    So... sorry about that every one. Interesting game. Not sure how long I'm going to keep it around, but it seemed like something unique to bring to the show.

    On a related note, the other games that I brought I am SHOCKED by how dirty they are. Played them seemingly hundreds of times in my basement and nothing. Take them to the show, and I totally need to give a few of them some pretty heavy duty baths. ColorDMDs in them all sure look great though!

    #824 1 year ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    I know.
    I will say I do miss the elevator pinball and bathroom videogames at the Sheraton.

    I do too.

    Without trying to sound cheesy, I miss some of the simple stuff.

    I haven't played a single game with my younger son at the show - now age 4 - because ever since it's moved I haven't been able to stop to hang out with him for more than a few seconds. Both of my kids are really good with this and don't mind, but for a family show I am frustrated now not to get them time to play with my own family.

    I also like I mentioned earlier never got to walk the vendor hall.

    That insane time crunch was never an issue for me at the Sheraton. While things always got crazy, it never got that crazy.

    This year from a managerial side was significantly improved over last. Knowing the venue better definitely helped. I think the biggest issue for me now is that while there are tons of great people and teams who help do things, we do a lot of "crossover" things where I need to ensure that I am there to make them run smoothly. These things - from two or three of the stage presentations, to the after parties, and so on - all make it harder to keep up with. I wrote down a bunch, and for me personally, that's what I'm working on for next year - finding a way to claw some time back

    #828 1 year ago
    Quoted from ralphwiggum:

    Awww man, that stinks, had I known, I would have popped over Friday night. I am 99% sure it is cables. I have found that all the USB connectors/cables need to be seated just right, or it does weird stuff.
    I had weird stuff going on with it when I first got it (it was shipped to me), but after reseating literally everything, it has worked flawless in the year that I have had it.

    Hah, I found out Saturday night, and it apparently had been working at some point on Friday I was told. I was too tired to really look or care much, and then by the time I thought about it Sunday it was pack up time.

    Set it up downstairs, works great.

    Getting your games out of storage will be more of an adventure than I like to admit. IT's like a CRT jungle down there at the moment! Hopefully, we can make some time soon

    #833 1 year ago
    Quoted from frolic:

    Once upon a time I used to let my customers tell me what I should price things at and I was never so broke in my life. I struggled for years from a very precarious place, in some sort of misguided service to the customer.
    Later I came around to figuring out what was the actual value of what I was providing and letting the customers decide by paying for it if they agreed. They did. If there were some that would prefer I suffer for them, then maybe I didn't need them as a customer any more.

    Exactly. And I'll be honest, there is no debate amongst Gary and I about lowering the price. I can't say we won't think about raising the price. If that makes people not come I get it. But if we raise the price, it's also because we feel the value is there... And also because we want to make sure that attendance levels are proper. Price is the best way to play with that.

    #848 1 year ago


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