1. Let’s start at number one
This is the first ever Games Con to hit the capital. The hotly-anticipated extravaganza will take over Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) for three action-packed days of brilliant button-bashing entertainment from Thursday, November 23 until Saturday, November 25. If you thought the F1 was the only show on the road this weekend then think again – as the superb line-up at this glorious gaming gathering will be virtually impossible to beat.
2. So it’s game on, but what can you expect from the event
The fantastic festival of fun is being brought to the emirate by the top team behind the ever-popular Middle East Film & Comic Con, so video gaming gurus are in for a technicolour treat. The crammed schedule of activities includes e-sports, tournaments, masterclasses, prize giveaways and YouTube stars taking part in meet and greets and trying their hand at the latest releases in hand-to-hand combat (using the joypads that is).
3. We hear some famous voices will be there, too
An impressive cast of computer game voice actors will be showing their faces for once at Games Con. Favourites such as Chloe Hollings (whose tones can be heard in Overwatch and Widowmaker), D.C. Douglas (Resident Evil, One Piece and Star Trek Enterprise) and Brina Palencia (Mad Moxxi) will be holding meet and greets with fans as well as creating personalised voice recordings for you to show off to your friends. Who wouldn’t want a happy birthday message from their favourite console character?
4. And there’ll be some top names from the YouTube gaming community as well
Online favourites Ali A, Claire Siobhan, Vikkstar and Zerkaa will be battling it out live on stage on multiplayer titles such as Mario Kart Deluxe 8, Pokken Tournament and Forza Motorsport 7, plus local YouTube icon King Madness will be flexing his finger muscles to take on fans in gaming challenges. Ali A will also be hosting a masterclass on the recently released Call of Duty: WW2, an event will is sure to in the cross-hairs of plenty of shoot ’em up aficionados.
5. It’s not just a case of ‘let the games begin’, there is a lot at stake
It’s not just all fun and games, you know. Console clashes can be a serious business, with some seriously tasty digital disputes unfolding before your eyes. For all those ultra-competitive gamers out there, Yalla eSports heroes Klasu, Otterpanda, Saeed, Dizzyy and Moeleley will be playing their game of choice for the crowds and will be join another seasoned players from Nasr eSports for talks and meet and greets.
6. You can play the latest games first
Now this is where Games Con really steps things up. If you don’t come along you will miss out on the chance to play some of the most highly-anticipated games before they even hit the shelves. Be among the first people in the Middle East to experience Dragon Ball Fighter Z, Dissidia NT – Final Fantasy, Dynasty Warriors 9, Attack on Titan 2 and much more. You just can’t put a price on the bragging rights you’ll get over your pals.
7. And cash in on your gaming skills
Do you fancy yourself as the king of the consoles? Get the competitive juices flowing with Power League Gaming with Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 tournaments taking place on both Friday and Saturday. The best players will win a share of a not-too-shabby Dhs73,000 combined prize pool. If you need to get your thumbs warmed up before you enter the heat of battle, there will be open play sessions to sharpen up your skills from 2pm onwards on the Thursday.
8. Get set for a university challenge
Leading technology firm MSI will crown the first ever collegiate eSports champion on the virtual battlefields on multiplayer hit Dota 2. Players representing universities in the UAE will pit their wits against eachother in a fight to the finish in a bid to see their seat of learning take home the prestigious title as well as the lions’ share of the Dhs15,000 prize pool.
9. There’s no reason to be ‘board’
You might have thought this event was all about the digital world, but you’d be wrong. If you need a break from starting at a screen, there are more traditional games at play during the three-day convention, too. A series of table top tournaments will be held throughout the event, with participants able to vie for glory on games such as Settlers of Catan, Splendor, Star Wars Destiny, Code Name and Ticket to Ride.
10. Why not turn your hobby into a labour of love?
If you dream of carving out a career in the games reality you can take the first bold step by making it a reality. Event organisers have joined forces with the National Media Council to set up Games Con Workshops. Dedicated to emerging brands and developers and designed for all age groups and experience levels, the sessions aim to inspire young people to get into the games industry. The workshops are free to attend for Games Con ticket holders.
11. Get dressed to impress
Computer game characters will be brought to life at Games Con’s very own dedicated Cosplay Contest. So if you are just wandering about minding your own business and you spot a giant Pac Man then don’t worry, you won’t get swallowed up. Prepare to be dazzled by the colourful array of costumes on show. Cosplay is always a huge part of any convention so prepare to embrace the flair for fun on show.
12. Bag yourself a new bit of kit
If you are in the market for a brand new console – let’s be honest when do our eyes not light up at the latest state-of-the-art games machine – than you will be right in luck. Top brands such as Playstation, MSI, Dell, HP Omen and HTC Vive will be selling their (hard)wares during the byte-sized bonanza. Whether you are on the lookout for a laptop, desktop or a wide variety of souped-up software, you will be well covered.
13. Now the business end of things, how can you get tickets?
Now that's a really good question. Tickets are available from tickets.virginmegastore.com and start from Dhs75, or you could get a Super VIP pass that gets you in all three days and inlucdes a meet and greet with all the YouTube gamers, a personal recording from all of the voice actors.
Dhs75 (one-day ticket bought in advance), Dhs100 (one-day ticket bought on the door); Dhs200 (three-day ticket in advance), Dhs250 (three-day ticket on the door); Dhs500 (VIP pass), Dhs2,500 (Super VIP pass). Thu, Nov 23 2pm-10pm, Fri Nov 24 noon-10pm, Sat Nov 25 noon-9pm. Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Khaleej Al Arabi Street, www.me-gamescon.com.