Slap on your Khaleesi costume and warm up your thumbs – it’s GAME CITY time. Once a year, Vienna’s historic town hall and square turn into a hi-tech meet for gamers of all ages, from young to “aren’t you way too old for this sort of thing?”.
- Austria’s largest gaming festival, including a cosplay parade
- Free entry
- The 2018 dates are October 19-21
- See also: What to do in Vienna
What is GAME CITY?
A “gaming fair and exhibition” sums up the event, which features the usual attractions of such occasions, many of which naturally require swift fingers and fast reflexes:
- Gaming exhibition, with dozens of stands offering the latest games and hardware to view and try
- The exhibitors typically include such behemoths as PlayStation, Nintendo, HP and Xbox, but also indies and related organisations
- Live eSports events
- Special games zone for younger children (4-12)
- Cosplay parade
The organisers expect around 80,000 visitors. You can get an impression from the video of the 2017 event:
There’s a strong emphasis on attracting people beyond what you might call the core gaming audience, hence the special kids’ section. Though the focus is on the fun, the event also covers the wider aspects of gaming, such as the educational opportunities and, of course, the surrounding social and parental issues.
Unlike most of its cousins around the world, GAME CITY does not take place in a convention centre or hotel complex. Instead, you enjoy the intriguing contrast of modern tech with historical surrounds. The location is the town hall, built in the late 1800s and one of Vienna’s iconic buildings.
It’s a local event, so primarily in German, but the prevalence of English in the gaming world (and in Austrian schools) means you should have no trouble communicating with exhibitors and others.
2018 dates and tickets
Friday, October 19 to Sunday, October 21. Opening times are 9 am to 6 pm on Friday and 9 am to 7 pm at the weekend.
Entry to GAME CITY is free and you don’t need to get a ticket in advance.
I’d need inside knowledge to understand the real highlights from the gamer’s perspective, but there’s going to be some serious eSports going on. The final of the A1 eSports League Austria (League of Legends, Project Cars 2, Clash Royale) is at the event. The largest offline eSports tournament in the German-speaking world takes place across the three days, too.
As you might expect, various games can be tested before their official release, including Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go, Evoli!, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Kingdom Hearts III.
Find out more from the official website.
How to get to GAME CITY
The Rathaus (Vienna’s town hall) is very central and easy to reach.
Subway: Take the U2 line to “Rathausplatz”
Tram: Use any of these lines to reach the “Rathausplatz/Burgtheater” stop…1, D or 71. Or take the 2 tram to “Parlament”
Or simply walk there from the city centre.