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Top 10 Greatest Fan Conventions

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Ian Astraquillo. They are the rendezvous points where fan-boys and cosplayers unite to epitomize geekdom! Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 greatest fan conventions. For this list, we’re looking at the best cons around the world; places where fans can be fans and can meet like-minded friends. Special thanks to our users Mangesh Khapre, zombie101tactics, Lionel Gilmore, Sarah Cousar, Marlon Jacques, Max Infante, Juilce and connor mckenna for submitting the idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Greatest Fan Conventions


They are the rendezvous points where fan-boys and cosplayers unite to epitomize geekdom! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest fan conventions.

For this list, we’re looking at the best cons around the world; places where fans can be fans and can meet like-minded friends. We’ve based our selections on each convention’s showcases, reception, and overall popularity. But we’re excluding any formal or political gatherings, narrowing the criteria to conventions aimed at fans of particular pop-culture topics with mass consumer interest.

#10: Official Star Trek Convention
Inaugurated: 2001

Boldly go where no one has gone before! Hosted annually in Las Vegas by Creation Entertainment, this convention is the largest of its kind in the world, catering to tens of thousands of trekkies a year. Loaded with set pieces, original costumes, and authentic props from all the TV series and films, fans from all generations have gotten quality nostalgic and immersive experiences, reliving the adventures of their favorite Starfleet members. Plus, in 2013, the Con nabbed the Guinness World Record for biggest group of people dressed as Trek characters. Top it off with the largest number of celebrity guest appearances from the franchise and you’ve got one convention that will truly live long and prosper!

#9: Anime Expo
Inaugurated: 1992

Set up by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, this convention is the largest of its kind in North America, with over 80,000 attendees in 2014. Usually held in Los Angeles, the exhibition hosts hundreds of convention favorites, including cosplay contests and fan-created art, but is one of few to host Anime Music Video marathons and panels featuring popular voice-over artists, animators, and industry specialists. For more casual fans, AX has been further noted for its success in catering to less hardcore guests through their tabletop and electronic gaming exhibitions as well as concerts and a Battle of the Bands.

#8: QuakeCon
Inaugurated: 1996

Celebrating id Software’s first-person shooter series, this Dallas-based convention is entirely dedicated to celebrating the company’s arsenal of popular video-game franchises. Dubbed the “Woodstock of gaming,” the rally cry here is: “Peace, love, and rockets!” – an apt yet simultaneously ironic motto given the half-friendly, half-competitive nature of the assemblage. Seeing as many as 10,000 attendees, gamers of this crowd put their “Wolfenstein,” “Doom,” and, of course, “Quake” skills to the test in a number of specialist formats and tournaments, with top players receiving anywhere from hundreds to tens-of-thousands of dollars in prize money.

#7: California Extreme
Inaugurated: 1997

Held annually in California, C-A-X is a colossal collection of hundreds of arcade and pinball games that keep the retro lights, bells and whistles of coin-operated gaming machinery active. Treating guests to a variety of cash-prize contests, including pinball leagues and genre-specific tournaments, the mission statement of this union is to keep the gaming machine alive and the arcade relevant. As part of that objective, C-A-X continues to offer additional incentives and events for patrons, including free-to-play gaming, discounts on hotel rooms, machine-building competitions, and music rooms with live robot performances.

#6: Gamescom
Inaugurated: 2009

Hosted by Germany’s Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software, Gamescom is the world’s largest video-game convention both in exhibition space and turnout. A public event open to all, no press pass is required to enter this gaming paradise. As a result, it has catered to as many as 335,000 guests making the pilgrimage from almost 90 countries. Used by mainstream developers aplenty, this gathering is the perfect rendezvous point to check out all the novelty games and supplements from virtually all the big name developers and designers of the virtual world.

#5: Dragon Con
Inaugurated: 1987

Celebrating all things fantastic, this Atlanta, Georgia-based convention serves as the perfect stronghold for all things elves, aliens, and dragons! Drawing in 57,000 visitors in 2014, this four day event spans across several hotels in the city, and features countless hours of panels and seminars dedicated to gaming, cosplaying commentary, and interaction with professionals from every corner of the fiction realms. What makes Dragon Con stand out are the intensive-writing workshops, in-house fan-art contests, and parade marches which encourage committed participation from guests.

#4: Tokyo Game Show
Inaugurated: 1996

If you’re looking for the latest from Capcom, Namco Bandai or Sony, you’re bound to find it in this gaming paradise. Smaller than Germany’s Gamescom but also open to the public, TGS emphasizes Japanese games, but is well-rounded in that it endorses independent developers at international levels – so don’t expect to find only your latest Tekken or Resident Evils here. What makes it stand out further is its reputation to keep chaos at a minimum, separating exhibitions based on categories like business-related, public demonstrations, and merchandise purchasing, so getting lost will take a little more effort.

#3: Consumer Electronics Show
Inaugurated: 1967

Also known as the CES, this international trade show has seen it all, and has been debuting the latest in technology since 1967. Everything from the VCR, to the CD player, the plasma TV, or the Blu-ray – if it’s gadget or gizmo related, it was introduced here. Appropriately held at the start of each year, this private Vegas-based event has grown to have as many as 3,600 exhibitors participate in its festivities, with as many as 170,000 guests getting first-looks and hands-on dibs on thousands of new products.

#2: Electronic Entertainment Expo [aka E3]
Inaugurated: 1995

Known to most as E3, this gaming gala is the place to be for firsthand test-runs on all the newest and upcoming releases from all the big names in video games. Connecting nearly 50,000 developers and press-members in the Los Angeles Convention Center, E3 showcases upcoming game titles, new technologies and never-before-seen products that won’t be in the market for years. Though frowned upon for its exclusivity and industry-only status, the convention has gotten nods for its constant professionalism and big-shot guest appearances – including the CEOs and other bigwigs from all the mainstream publishers.

Before we geek out at our favorite convention, here are some honorable mentions:
- BronyCon
Inaugurated: 2011
- Penny Arcade Expo (PAX)
Inaugurated: 2004
- Star Wars Celebration
Inaugurated: 1999
- Macworld / iWorld
Inaugurated: 1985
- Frankfurt Book Fair
Inaugurated: 1949
- VidCon
Inaugurated: 2010

#1: San Diego Comic-Con International
Inaugurated: 1970

Taking the top spot on our list is the only place where you’ll find Vader, Frodo, and all the Avengers in the same room. Honoring all things pop-culture, this four-day event is calling all! From film buffs, to TV-show enthusiasts, gamers of all formats, and, of course, comic fans, if you’re following anything, you’re sure to find something at this universal mash-up of universes! Held at the San Diego Convention Center and its surrounding buildings, this assemblage of celebrity panels, cosplay showdowns, and merchandise booths sees as many as 130,000 visitors each year. So stormtroopers, elven warriors, and resistance fighters, gear up! This is one crazy convention you can’t be too prepared for!

Do you agree with our list? Which fan conventions unleash your inner geek? For more dedicated Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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