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Midwest Gaming Classic returns with thousands of games, one Gladiator

Midwest Gaming Classic

Since its extremely humble beginnings as JagFest 2K1 — a small gathering of Atari Jaguar enthusiasts at the PieperPower Center — the Midwest Gaming Classic (MGC) has more than established its credibility among gamers. Thousands of them will once again descend on Milwaukee this spring as the event returns April 5-7.

Compared with the hundred-ish people who showed up for JagFest in 2001, the MGC pulls in nearly 25,000 attendees every year who explore more than 250,000 square feet of gaming goodness. The Baird Center will provide the floor space once again in 2024, with plenty of activities to keep everyone engaged:

  • Free-play pinball, arcade and console games
  • A playable gaming museum
  • Game tournaments and esports competitions
  • Tabletop gaming
  • Tabletop role-playing games
  • Trading-card games
  • Entertainment wrestling
  • Cosplay and live-action role-play
  • Panels and meet-and-greets with celebrities and industry professionals

Speaking of celebrity interactions, organizers have lined up an attraction that manages to combine nostalgia with modern technology. Wisconsin native Steven Henneberry, who people of a certain age will know better as Tower from American Gladiators, will go head-to-head with attendees in Johann Sebastian Joust — a no-graphics, digitally enabled playground game designed for motion controllers.

Based on the trailer below, it’s not nearly as high impact as the padded pugil sticks Henneberry used on the show. Honestly, I’m not sure I get it. But I’m sure all will become clear at the MGC.

Tickets for the event are $45 for the preview night April 5, $50 for the full show April 6 and $25 for family day April 7. Multi-day passes are also available for between $60 and $175. You can find all ticketing options on sale now via the Midwest Gaming Classic website.