I Visit the 2017 Game Manufacturer’s Association Trade Show

While I was speaking at a software developer conference in March 2017 in Las Vegas, I noticed that at the same hotel (Bally’s) there was the Game Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA) Trade Show. I was intrigued so I walked to that event. I was able to get a free pass to view the hall before attendees were allowed in.

I know very little about games and gaming. I was expecting video style games but the GAMA show was all about board games and card games and dice games. The Expo hall was fascinating. I estimate there were about 120 booths. Every booth was an exercise in sensory overload.

The games at GAMA were often a far cry from the chess, checkers, and Risk when I was young. Many of these games were absolute works of art with intricate playing pieces. I had a wonderful time roaming around and looking at the booths.

In some weird way, I think board games are good and video games are evil. Sort of. Board games usually require strategic thinking and are social in the sense you’re playing and interacting with another human being. Video games (disclaimer: I know almost nothing about them) seem to be more about physical reaction. And video gaming seems more susceptible to obsessive behavior (among teenage boys?) than board game playing.

Anyway, I’m just spouting thoughts here with no good data to back them up. But I really enjoyed looking at the 2017 GAMA Trade Show.

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