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Milwaukee's Midwest Gaming Classic celebrates 20 years this weekend

It's not every weekend Milwaukeeans get to share the same room with the actor behind Mario's nemesis Bowser. Scott Burns, who voiced Bowser in dozens of games, will be one of several video game voice actors attending this weekend's Midwest Gaming Classic at Milwaukee's Wisconsin Center, along with Tim Kitzrow, who recorded some of the most quotable lines in video game history as the announcer in "NBA Jam" (" BOOOOOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!" " HE'S ON FIRE!") 

The Midwest Gaming Classic has grown considerably since co-founders Dan Loosen and Gary Heil held the first installment in the basement of the Boy Scouts of America offices on South 84th Street back in 2001, with less than a hundred attendees. In recent years the event, which features hundreds of arcade games, pinball machines, home game consoles, board games, tabletop RPGs and card games, has drawn as many as 15,000 people. The classic has been held at the Wisconsin Center since 2018, where it'll return this weekend after taking last year off due to the pandemic. Organizers say the event has an annual economic impact of more than $2 million.

All games are set to free play, so attendees can play any of them as much as they'd like. Other attractions at this weekend's event include a wrestling show, video-game-themed bands, a cosplay tournament, speed run competitions, esports coaching, and discussions about the history of Pac-Man and the Menomonee Falls-based Garcade!

The Midwest Gaming Classic runs Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All guests 12 and older must provide either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from within the past 72 hours. For all guests 16 and older, a matching photo ID will be required.