Fact: Wisconsin is an amazing place to be a video game developer, academic, and/or enthusiast.
In addition to being home to a thriving game development scene supported by a robust statewide network of game design and development college programs, our beautiful state also hosts a slew of gaming-related events happening year-round! To help you navigate Wisconsin’s many video game-related trade shows, meetups, and events happening all throughout 2019, we’ve assembled the list of highlights below. Without further introduction, let’s jump right in:
Midwest Gaming Classic – Milwaukee, WI – April 12-14, 2019
The Midwest Gaming Classic is – for lack of a better term – a Wisconsin gaming classic! With roots tracing back all the way to 2001, this annual celebration is the region’s largest gaming trade show, featuring over 100,000 square feet of retro and contemporary consoles, arcade games, pinball machines, computers, tabletop games, card games, and more.
UW-Whitewater’s MAGD Expo – Whitewater, WI – May 2019
In an earlier article highlighting Wisconsin’s many game design and development degree programs, we found that UW-Whitewater offers a B.A in Media Arts and Game Development with three different concentration options: Media Arts, Communication/Gaming, and Gaming Technology. Want to see what students from each of these disciplines are working on? Check out their annual MAGD Expo – a free public showcase featuring playable games, a keynote presentation, and several cash prizes for exhibitors.
Play Make Learn Conference – Madison, WI – August 2019
A two day event held at UW-Madison’s Union South, Play Make Learn is an annual gathering of game developers, academics, and enthusiasts interested in promoting the research, industry, and practice of play. Fans of game-based learning and serious games – Play Make Learn is not to be missed!
M+DEV – Madison, WI – October 2019
Hosted by local gamedev organization the Wisconsin Games Alliance, the annual Midwest Game Developers Conference (M+DEV) attracts hundreds of aspiring and professional game developers from Wisconsin, the midwest, and beyond for a jam-packed day of speaking sessions, game demos, and networking opportunities.
UW-Stout Game Expo (SGX) – Menomonie, WI – Various dates
In our previous roundup of game design and development colleges in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin – Stout’s undergraduate and graduate programs were identified as among the top in the nation. And the best part? Following each fall and spring semester, the school opens their doors to the general public and invites them try dozens of free student games at the semi-annual Stout Game Expo (SGX).
Madison FemDev – Madison, WI – Various dates
Founded by Human Head Studios Community Manager Katherine Stull, Madison FemDev strengthens Madison’s game development community by helping to support the work of women, non-binary, transmasculine, or otherwise marginalized individuals in the local games industry through monthly meetups and game jam opportunities.
Excited to attend any of the above events? Perhaps we missed a really cool conference or show that you feel is worthy of a spot on our list? We want to hear your thoughts – sound off over on our Facebook or Twitter!