Raleigh’s Playthrough Gaming Conference was back for a second year with a vengeance this year in its “New Game+” iteration.
“I knew I had to come back,” said con-goer and avid gamer Paul Kirkland. “Last year was pretty small, but it was a lot of fun … When you play with the same people for so long, it’s exciting to have new opponents.”
The convention hosted areas dedicated to every form of gaming, from CRT televisions playing out Super Smash Bros. Melee matches to tabletops filled with miniatures battling out mathematically-driven conflicts. A two-day event taking place on Saturday and Sunday, Playthrough bills itself as “aweekend long extravaganza showcasing the latest games and providing an opportunity for gamers to meet others who share their passion.”
“It’s not all about competition though,” said Kirkland. “Just hanging around with people that love this kind of stuff like I do makes [Playthrough] a good time.”
Held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Playthrough’s second year was bigger and better than the first go ‘round, if not necessarily louder.
“Last year when there was almost nobody here, we had the loudest subwoofer and you could hear our game being played throughout the entire convention,” said Adam Agro of Solanimus Games. “Running the booth is awesome. They come up, grab a card, grab some candy, and play our game.”
Solanimus Games is an indie game studio based out of Fuquay-Varina. This year, they were highlighting “Signal to Noise,” a music-driven on-rails shooter that pits players against environments and enemies determined by the song currently playing.
“Being out here is fun,” said David Klingler, the founder of Solanimus Games. “We just like talking to people about the game.”
This year’s Playthrough featured musical acts “Eight Bit Disaster,” “D&D Sluggers” and electric violinist Trev Wignall on the main stage, as well as wildly varied panels on everything from the development history of the “Star Fox” franchise to the ins-and-outs of creating and publishing a functional board game. The Carolina Games Summit hosted tournaments of Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Halo 5, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Melee, and more. Old-school arcade cabinets set to “free play” hummed in the back while casual games of Magic: The Gathering played out on neatly organized tables.
“Last year it was half this size, maybe a third this size,” said Agro. “This year is really huge, taking up the whole bottom part of the Raleigh convention center. It’s amazing. The community is awesome.”