what it is like to return to a face-to-face event after a pandemic that closed everything

It took a long time, but it was worth it. The past, the present and the future of the video game came together in a Gamepolis located in the paradisiacal Costa del Sol in Malaga. While San Diego Comic-Con He dated the future of Marvel and DC, between July 23 and 25, 2022 the passion for video games came to life and it even became papal at the largest Video Game Festival in southern Europe.

Ubisoft, Epic Games, Supercell, Riot and even Nintendo itself confirmed attendance at Gamepolis after an absence of two long years. How not to go to the call?

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Over three days, the FYCMA, the Palace of Fairs and Congresses of Malagascheduled up to 300 activities for attendees that included conferences, free play areas, concerts, open classes, contests, shows, an indie area, eSports tournaments and classic video games that took place in parallel and even a battle of roosters in which a place for the final of the Red Bull Battle.

The problem was not what to do in the midst of this whirlwind of activities, but to organize to tackle it all. Quite an experience that Extra Life we live on site.

Between good friends and great speakers


The Costa del Sol promotes festivals a lot and well. From Freakcon to the Malaga Film Festival itself. Gamepolis usually brings together a good part of the regulars to this type of activity, but the common and universal denominator is video games. More concretely, the passion for video games.

In gamepolis You can also improvise some games of Street Fighter with Koyuki, from the channel of the red potionor Dragon Ball Fighterz with Kensuke who with a very special closeness get soaked and take part of the activities like any assistant. I know, because I was with them. Because I played with them.


And you can enjoy the same an Elesky concert that of a battle of roosters. Until elvira He showed us live how it is possible how to play dancing. That yes, when it is their turn to give talks or offer master classes or act as judges in a contest is when all of the above shine with their own light.

Because, perhaps, this year the participation of international guests did not equal the weight of previous editions, but the conferences were once again one of the highlights of the event with a nuance: the open approach of the festival. Give the same weight to the classics, developers and eSports, but also to streamers and YouTubers who fascinate new generations of video game enthusiasts. Promoting especially enriching talks and contacts.

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Where the timeless magic of arcade rivals the thrill of eSports

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The Gamepolis served as a context for several great events within eSports: starting, we live the finals of the R6 Spain Nationals, the professional league for Rainbow Six: Siege. A show that our colleague Alberto lived in style. But the thing is that it does not end there: at the other end of the Palacio de Ferias, the Storm Circuitthe main amateur competition of League of Legends and Valorant, and right between the two, the competitive game of clash royale by Supercell.

Those were not the only eSports events. In fact, all kinds of tournaments and contests were promoted within the organization related to FIFA, Fortnite, Street Fighter V, Tekken, Among Us, justdance, Super Smash Bros. Counter Strike, Geometry Dash… I missed the Minecraft Battle Royale and the Fall Guys Epic Match with the event guests, but it’s impossible to attend everything. And that, on the other hand, is a good thing: in the Gamepolis there was always a lot to do at all hours.

Of course, I did not leave without competing. Beyond my games with friends and colleagues, I infiltrated a tournament of Pac Man Battle Royale in the back zone. I didn’t last long and the best thing is that I was defeated by someone who could easily triple my age: as we discussed with Alberto, the youngsters and the little ones They were amazed with the classic arcade games.

pac royale

You could see a post FIFA empty and a reasonable wait to play beat’em ups from 30 years ago. I was amazed to see Koyuki playing Ultra Street Fighter IV with someone who possibly has no memories of the year that Capcom’s definitive review of the game hit Xbox 360 and PS3.

Perhaps it is because the EA game is already widely seen at home, but I want to think that it is the timeless magic of the classics added to the fascinating presence of the furniture with its sticks, the touch of the buttons and those specifically designed sounds and colors to stimulate the player, even when the word Insert Coin flashes on the screen. The good news is that you didn’t have to pay to play, with few exceptions. But what an exception!


Not far from the authentic Taiko no Tatsujin machine with its gigantic drums was the huge booth of Luigi’s Mansion Arcade. the lost delivery and developed by Capcom of the nintendo ghostbusters. And be careful, the Big N had a great presence at the fair.

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The titans of the industry and the indies said present


Nintendo declined to go to the German Gamescom, but he brought out all his artillery in Malaga: the house of Mario, Link and a Kirby celebrating his 30th birthday was one of the companies that was most involved with Gamepolis and set up huge stalls dedicated to its star releases of 2022: there were tents dedicated to Nintendo Switch Sports, game stalls with its most recent releases, including Monster Hunter Rise and Mario Strikers; and distributed that Nintendo magic that goes beyond the screens. Fascinating players of all ages.

Nintendo was not the only one: Ubisoft enabled a Just Dance area and there were huge stands dedicated to Call of Duty or Virtual Reality games. Huge boxing rings were even set up to play Super Smash Bros. on the big screen and competitively. Of course, there was also room for local initiatives: in addition to Merchandising stands where one could find everything from a Paper Heroes stand to content much more aligned with the manganime phenomenon, we found a greater presence of the Indie video game through an area specially enabled and separated from the rest of the activities.


The good thing about the distribution of the Palacio de Ferias this year is that after the entrance, each activity was conveniently separated from the rest. Unlike the VII edition, in which the Indie Zone was practically surrounded by machines, tournaments and events, this year they opted to offer them a huge room in which to show their projects to the general public and to future partners, obtaining better direct feedback and more own presence. Rewarding your milestones with an award show of your own.

Because the Indie Zone is part of the event and uses its context to offer a glimpse of promising projects, ranging from a new game from the medabots with interchangeable robot parts through blockchain (NFTs) to a nice remake of the classic Bubble Bots of Game Boy optimized for Steam Deck, but is also an extension of GameInvestthe professional space of Gamepolis in which developers and publishers find a common space to promote their projects to a successful conclusion.

The best Gamepolis in history?


The organization promised offer the best Gamepolis in history, and the truth is that the initiative has grown enormously in just eight editions. The two-year break meant a dry braking more than justified, but putting in common more than 300 activities for all attendee profiles in just three days it’s crazy. One that I plan to sign up for again next year.

That there was a video game festival in person is something that was greatly missed. Sharing games with strangers just as excited as you on the same machine is something I remember with special fondness from the arcade days, and I recognize that this spirit has been masterfully recreated during the event. The promoted atmosphere also played in its favour: far from offering an image of a huge fair and congress center with people looking at screens, that festive and joyful summer atmosphere typical of the Costa del Sol was perceived.

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Something that was especially reinforced by the organized concerts, the activities and games promoted by the guests, the cosplay and dance contests and, in general, that extra effort to offer a lot to everyone and at the same time.

Those of us who already combed gray hair were not displaced from the most youthful activities, quite the contrary: the delicious conferences and the fascination of the youngest for actively participating in the retro zone or browsing through the indie zone were a pleasant surprise. Seeing how the passion for video games has evolved on this scale, keeping the classics alive, also leaves me with great feelings.

Image Of Iosalberto

Several things that did exist in the previous Gamepolis, the one in 2019, were missing: the presence of guests of the caliber of John and Brenda Romero, with their respective conferences, or that spectacular post-E3 Nintendo that allowed us to play all the attendees at their next games. But, as they say, you always have to leave room so that the bar can be raised a little more.

And that in 2023 that comes it will be celebrated Gamepolis 10th Anniversary -how time flies!- plays in favor of the next edition. For now, so much Alberto and like me confirmed attendance with a whole year to spare. There must be a reason.

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