Game convention history

Foundational developments


A Cincinnati, Ohio duo debuts the first known modern cosplay in 1908.[1][2] Near the end of the century, cosplay would become a staple at a number of events, including gaming conventions.

The first Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 1967 employs women as "CES Guides", with this position later being recognized as the origin of the controversial "Booth Babe" of later conventions.[3][4]

The first ACM SIGGRAPH (Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics) convention is held in Boulder, Colorado in 1974 to focus on computer graphics technology.[5] Though computer graphics work would have an indirect effect on the gaming market, SIGGRAPH would later take more direct involvement in the gaming industry with dedicated symposiums on video games.[6]

On December 21st, 1975 the first Comic Market (Comiket) is held at the Fire Defense Building in Tokyo, Japan to celebrate manga and to a lesser extent anime / Japanimation.[7][8] While not a gaming convention per say, a number of important series saw their first releases at future Comikets, such as Comiket 52 in 1997 which saw the first Touhou game releases sold at a booth manned by Zun.[9]

CES 1979 showcased a number of Atari computers.[10] The Emerson Arcadia 2001 is debuted at CES 1982,[11] and the Nintendo Entertainment System sees its North American Debut at CES 1985.[10]

First video game focused conventions


25 developers meet at a house in 1988 for the first Game Developer Conference (GDC).[12]

The first Nintendo Spaceworld convention is held in 1989.[13]



The first Assembly demoparty is held in 1992.[14]

Supergames was a major industry event in Paris - 1993.[15]

The first Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is held in 1995.[16]

The first Tokyo Game Show is held at Big Sight in Tokyo Japan in August of 1996.[17][18]



The first MAGFest (then known as the Mid-Atlantic Gaming Festival) is held in September 2002.[19]

The first Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is held in 2004.[20]






  1. "Was Mr. Skygack the First Alien Character in Comics?". io9. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  2. "Cosplay Is Over 100 Years Old". Cosplay. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  3. Greenfield, Rebecca (7 January 2013). "A Brief History of CES Booth Babes". The Atlantic. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  4. June, Laura (4 January 2013). "Incredible photos from the CES vault: 1967 to 2014". The Verge. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  5. "History of the Organization". ACM SIGGRAPH. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  6. "Proceedings of the 5th ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Video Games - Sandbox '10". ACM Press. 2010. doi:10.1145/1836135. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  7. "Brief History of Comiket". Retrieved 10 December 2020. {{cite web}}: Text "ComiPress" ignored (help)
  8. "Comic Market 1975 Information". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  9. Wang, Nathan (1 February 2019). "Touhou Project: The Power of Niche Media". Medium. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  10. a b "Revisiting the defining moments of CES history". Engadget. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  11. "Arcadia 2001". The Dot Eaters. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  12. "About GDC". Game Developers Conference. 26 July 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  13. "Paper Mario's Roots As A Super Mario RPG Sequel". TheGamer. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  14. Reimer, Jeremy (29 April 2013). "A history of the Amiga, part 8: The demo scene". Ars Technica. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  15. "Le Salon international de la " High Tech " de loisirs La console de jeux vidéo cède le pas à la machine multimédia" (in fr). Le 30 November 1993. 
  16. Campbell, Colin (7 June 2019). "The story of the first E3" (in en). Polygon. 
  17. "Tokyo Game Show 1996". Sega Retro. 2 November 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  18. "TOKYO GAME SHOW2005 Release". Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  19. "What is MAGFest? - Super Magfest". Retrieved May 9, 2023. MAGFest started in 2002, originally under the name "Mid-Atlantic Gaming Festival."
  20. "History". Retrieved 10 December 2020.