Slap on your Assassin’s Creed 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
- 2019 dates TBA (2018 dates were October 19-21)
- See also: Vienna Comic Con
What is GAME CITY?
A 3-day “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:
- Dozens of stands offering the latest games and hardware to view and try
- 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, usually on the Saturday afternoon
The last GAME CITY (October 2018) attracted over 80,000 visitors and 94 exhibitors. You can get an impression of the event from this promo video:
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.
2019 dates and tickets
I don’t have the 2019 dates yet, but the event usually runs from a Friday to Sunday in October. In 2018, it was October 19 to October 21, with opening times 9 am to 6 pm on the 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.
GAME CITY 2018 only just finished, so watch this space for 2019 details or keep an eye on the official website. Notable highlights at the 2018 event were:
Some serious eSports, including the final of the A1 eSports League Austria featuring:
- Friday – League of Legends
- Saturday – Project Cars 2
- Sunday – Clash Royale
5000 people competed in a huge Fortnite Battle Royale tournament across the three days, too. And another eSports highlight was the qualification tournament for the Splatoon 2 European Championships (Saturday and Sunday).
As you might expect, various games could 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.
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.