First off, thanks for all of the kind words and the (mostly) constructive criticism. We do pay attention... Some quick replies here, and then a bigger one at the bottom...
Quoted from ChrisS:
I heard rumor that over 12 machines were turned away because the show was out of space. Kind of shame.
Nope. The guys can confirm that the hotel and us walked around figuring out additional space on Friday night. We probably had space for another 25 that was ready to go.
I will say it is a bit of a pain that so many people don't register or tell us what they are bringing. Last year, pre-reg was 222, we had over 275 total arcade and pins. This year pre-reg was 224. Final game tally? North of 300. That does make it more difficult for sure.
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:
I am positive it is possible to lay things out more efficiently and get more games per same space. I would have swapped arcade and vendor rooms, getting more space to house games and been more selective on vendors in renting smaller space.
It's funny, unless we made smaller aisles, we have had a half-dozen people look at the map and they all come to the conclusion that with the requirements that we have (fire doors, etc), we have as many as possible. Swapping the vendor hall and the pinball space just simply isn't possible. It wouldn't gain us any space, as the vendor hall is also packed as people saw, it would cost us tens of thousands more in electrical work to get the power over there, and at best it would be a band-aid for a space problem that we are well aware of (more of that in a minute...)
Quoted from DanQverymuch:
Wow, MGC was nuts. Great job, guys! I haven't seen mentioned, Dan announced at the after party that Saturday's gate was over 4500 people, more than both days last year!
Actually, I said it was nearly last year's gate. Last year was just above 5,000 people for the two day show. This year appears as if it was around 7,000 total.
...and speaking of space and crowdedness and all that fun stuff. It is a problem we are well aware of, but there are TONS of issues that keep getting thrown in front of us. To not make this a book...
We needed to get a law changed in the city of Milwaukee so we could go there. After we set up meetings and stuff like that to try to talk about it, they randomly changed it before we had input.
At the same time, we had been having meetings with a considerably larger venue near the airport, which including their hallways would have doubled our space. The day we found out the law was changed, we also found out that the venue we were talking with was being closed and slated for demolition. I heard that they auctioned the contents off two weeks ago.
There is not currently a mid-range place in Milwaukee that is easy to go. State Fair and the Delta Airlines Center and us both have great relationships, but the cost is outrageous, mostly because to plug in a single outlet would cost us about $200 per location. As an electronic gaming show, think about how that adds up. Along with that, in both of those locations, even if you're just dropped off a game, you'd have to pay for parking. That SUCKS.
When we thought we were moving to the other venue, we decided that we would raise the prices this year to see what would happen. It was also determined that Doc Ock would get a massive addition, we'd create new rooms out of hotel rooms (another cost), we'd add more activities to the show like the band at night, and we'd build out infrastructure to the tune of well over $20,000 in new investments this year. If attendance was flat, we could stay at the Sheraton and continue to upgrade the infrastructure. If attendance rose, we'd be able to afford the move to the larger venue the next year.
Then, we found out that hotel was being demolished. There are a few things on the table, but we don't know if we'll be able to find a suitable venue in a year, two, or more. It's the number one issue we're facing. We are literally attempting to work with local government to try to see what can be done, and are doing our best. I spent probably half an hour with Fox News on Saturday who is preparing a report about how conventions that are our size in the city of Milwaukee don't have a good next step up. They intend to air it in a week or two. We're hoping that some city with a plan that we don't know about now steps up.
If you've got an idea, you know where to contact me. We're all ears. But in talking with four different city governments, the news, and as many different places as we can find, no one has yet found us anything better that is staying open.
...Again, thanks again for all of the kind comments, Gary and I really do pour a lot of ourselves into the show, and we were both very worried going into this year's show about how badly we ballooned the budget trying to make it as awesome as possible. We're really glad to know that a lot of you really appreciate the effort and contributed in HUGE ways to making it as great as it was.
Oh yeah, and that Mystery Castle was mine at the show Speaking of things sometimes not working out how you expect, it was totally shopped and ready to go a couple weeks ago, played perfectly. We were going to use it in Clock Chaos. Got to the show, and the game wouldn't fire up at all.
Glad it was an easy fix, and thank you Steve for figuring it out for me!