Milwaukee Hosts Retro Gaming Extravaganza at the Baird Center

Milwaukee is set to host the Midwest Gaming Classic, America’s largest event dedicated to retro gaming, from April 5th to 7th at the Baird Center. 

This weekend-long extravaganza promises over 10,000 games for attendees to enjoy, spanning the spectrum from cherished vintage titles to the latest releases. 

The event will feature an array of classic pinball and arcade games, every generation of console, tabletop games, live entertainment, and opportunities for meet and greets with notable figures from pop culture. 

Admission is free for children under the age of 9.

Expected to draw crowds from across the globe, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain, the Midwest Gaming Classic is anticipated to surpass last year’s attendance of 23,000. 

This marks a continuing trend of growth for the event, which now stands as the nation’s largest celebration of both retro and modern gaming, encompassing more than 250,000 square feet dedicated to gaming and nostalgia. 

Visit Milwaukee estimates the event will generate over $2 million in tourism revenue for the area.

Dan Loosen, co-founder of the event, emphasized the inclusive nature of the gathering: “Our goal is to create a fun and welcoming environment where people of all skill levels can gather to enjoy their favorite games and discover new ones.” 

He noted the event’s appeal extends beyond hardcore gamers, attracting families where parents can share the games of their youth with their children, including classics like Oregon Trail, pinball, Pokémon cards, and NBA Jam.

Image from Unsplash

The Midwest Gaming Classic’s itinerary is packed with activities, including thousands of free-play pinball, arcade, and console games, a gaming museum where attendees can play, game tournaments and esports competitions, tabletop gaming, role-playing games, trading card games, entertainment wrestling, cosplay, live-action role-play, and panels and meet and greets with celebrities and industry professionals.

This year’s special attractions include appearances by Wisconsin native Steve Henneberry, famously known as “Tower” from American Gladiator, who will engage attendees in Johann Sebastian Joust, a no-graphics, motion-controlled game. 

Additional highlights include an expanded esports lineup, gamer podcasts, the MGC Cosplay Championship, and The World of Nintendo Exhibit.

Tickets for the Midwest Gaming Classic are available now, with a variety of options including a preview night on April 5th, a full show on April 6th, and a family-focused day on April 7th, along with multi-day passes ranging from $60 to $175. 

The event will be held at The Baird Center, located at 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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