When I first started writing about coin machines back in 1964, there wasn’t anything like a spring amusement game show. NAMA, the big vending machine association, put on a western show every spring back then, but they didn’t sell exhibit space to the jukebox and games folks. In fact, NAMA only broke that rule once and that was at a fall event in Chicago. Even then, they sort of “hid” our things behind a curtain on the exhibit floor.
Anyway, our crowd finally got its own spring show when the AOE premiered down in New Orleans, followed by the ACME amusement game shows (the latter were put on by the newly-founded manufacturer/distributor association we now call AAMA). This association won that competition, but things didn’t stop there. In recent times, the AMOA operator group folded its fall show into AAMA’s spring one and now we have the Amusement Expo International as our one and only annual show devoted primarily to the music and games people. Is everybody still with me?
The 2019 running of this convention and equipment showing takes place March 26-28 in Las Vegas. The first day (26) will be totally devoted to a whole bunch of educational seminars, many geared to route operators, others to family fun center people, and a fair number to both. The last two days feature the big trade show starring the new games already on the production line along with prototypes also heading into assembly, provided showgoers find them worthy to be bought and placed.
The Amusement Expo, to those who make it a habit to attend this spring event every year, is more of a familiar “showroom” than the sprawling “supermarket” the IAAPA puts on in the fall for virtually everybody doing almost anything in the out-of-home entertainment world. The root lynchpin of the Amusement Expo is the coin machine, but as the FEC has risen in importance, so has the mix of products on the show floor morphed into more of a mini-IAAPA with such things as laser tag and virtual reality taking their share of the stage.
Regardless, the Amusement Expo’s seminars and product exhibits zero in on the businesses that readers of RePlay own and operate. And naturally enough, the people that make the trip out to Las Vegas each year probably find it more comfortable to sit at a seminar next to or nearby someone they know…and explore the exhibit booths the next day or two in a more relaxed manner. What I’m driving at is simple: March 26-28 in Vegas will be a nice place to be, as well as a nice place to kick the tires on new games. You can also learn a thing or three and make some new friends in the process. We’ll see you there?