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 young at heart.
- Austria’s largest gaming festival, including a cosplay parade
- Free entry
- 2019 dates are Oct 18-20
- 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 thumbs and fast reflexes:
- Dozens of stands offering the latest games and hardware to view and try
- Around 90 exhibitors, including such behemoths as Nintendo, Ubisoft, Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox, but also indies and related organisations
- Live eSports events
- Special games zone for younger children (4-12)
- Cosplay parade 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 video flashback:
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
The event runs from Friday, October 18 to Sunday, October 21. Opening times are 9am to 6pm on the Friday and 10am to 7pm at the weekend.
Entry to GAME CITY is free and you don’t need to get a ticket in advance.
2019 GAME CITY highlights
Notable highlights in 2019 are some serious eSports, including:
- Ubisoft’s “Rainbow Six Siege Austrian Nationals” (with €5000 in prize money at stake)
- The finals of the Splatoon 2 European Championship 2019-2020
- A qualifying round of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate European Team Cup
Over 5000 people will compete in a huge Fortnite Battle Royale tournament across the three days, with prior registration not required – just turn up for the chance to win prizes and be crowned the GAME CITY Champion 2019.
And a little personal highlight: CD Project Red (makers of my favourite game of all time, Witcher 3) will be there promoting Cyberpunk 2077, which is due for release in April, 2020.
For more details, keep an eye on 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 Rathaus and go around to the other side of the town hall
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.
Address: Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna