This is definitely a convention geared more toward retro game resellers. Indie devs looking to playtest their games will also find a good audience here. As an artist however, you won't find a lot of interest here. I attended the 2023 SoCal Gaming Expo and while the attendance was decent, the sales were very slow for me. I spoke with other artists who had the same experience. Although the vendor hall was quite large, the artists were all mixed in with the vendors and spread throughout. There were some artists who believed this only hurt our sales, since at other conventions the artists are separated from the vendors so that people know where to buy art and where to buy official merchandise. The venue itself was large and clean with a good amount of staff around, but there weren't too many food or activity options nearby.
If you're a local artist with no hotel expenses, then there's a good chance you profited. If you had hotel expenses, there's a decent chance of breaking even or making a little profit. An out-of-state artist would have a very high chance of losing money at this convention with travel and hotel expenses.
If you're local, I'd highly recommend setting up on Friday since this is a two-day convention that starts on Saturday. When I arrived at the setup time on Saturday morning, the staff was LATE. We were supposed to be given two hours to set up on Saturday morning, and it was more like 1.5 hrs due to the tardiness of the staff. Thankfully other than their lateness, the staff was helpful and frequently walked through the hall to check on each table to make sure everyone was doing all right. Also since this is a small convention with a good amount of booth space, you're allowed to bring extra tables to help enhance your display.
All in all, if you're local and you think it'd be a fun weekend to chat with game enthusiasts and make a little profit, then it's a convention with a nice crowd. If you're from out-of-state or predict having sizeable travel expenses, stay away unless you're prepared to lose money.
May 12, 2023, 7:22 pm
California's Retro Gaming Expo
A newer Retro Video Game Expo, California's SoCal Retro is a good medium sized gaming convention with decent attendance with most of the draw being serious game collectors and fans of their numerous YouTube personalities. The first year, the placement of the artists was great because they put us right up near the entrance to the conference room where the panels were at. We did okay, but wasn't sure if it was worth flying all the way out there again. I decided to do it a second year. The convention was alright, a little bigger this year, but the placement of the artists was terrible! They put us WAY in the back behind these stupid curtain things. A lot of people didn't even know we were back there! We didn't do bad, but we didn't do good either. About the same as last year. I feel if we had better visibility, we might have gotten more sales. Still a fun little show to do. Maybe they'll get it right next year. I'll probably give it one more go. Staff had good communication skills and the show is well promoted. I can see this show going places. It's got room to grow.