By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Apr 11, 2018 at 7:02 PM

It's spring cleaning season – not to tidy up your life and free your mind from the mental and physical clutter spread around your house, but in the hopes of gathering up as many quarters as you can for the Midwest Gaming Classic, starting up a new game April 13-15. 

Started back in 2001 as a simple celebration of the Atari Jaguar video game console (64-bit!), the Midwest Gaming Classic has grown year after year – powering up to its highest level this year by moving to the Wisconsin Center in Downtown Milwaukee, giving the Midwest's largest all-encompassing electronic gaming trade show even more room to geek out. (As somebody currently wearing a Pac-Man pie chart t-shirt, that's meant lovingly.)

The venue isn't the only thing that's new. With all that new space, this year's Midwest Gaming Classic was able to bring in an Artist Alley, featuring cool video game and comic art from creators like Rusty Shackles, Philo Barnhart and more, as well as add three official after parties on Saturday night (the Hilton Empire Ballroom post-convention festivities have sold out, but the other two – hosted at The Garcade in Menomonee Falls and Bounce Milwaukee in Bay View – still have tickets available), the Midwest Air Hockey Championship to make you feel ashamed of your sub-par puck-slamming skills and a parade of old '80s kiddie rides.

And, for the adults who want to take a sweet ride from the past themselves, the MGC will also feature an appearance from an awesome "Back to the Future" DeLorean turned time machine courtesy of Matt Hissem. 

The expanded trade show also means expanded live music – this year including the likes of Tigernite, Faux Fiction, Myles Coyne and more – an expanded vendor hall and an expanded lineup of guests running the gambit from behind-the-scenes industry icons to famous faces from inside and outside your favorite arcade cabinets ... and yes, Midwest horror movie hero Svengoolie, who will also host the MGC's cosplay contest, featuring cash and prizes for the best male, female, kids and group costumes. 

Oh yeah, and then there are the games. 

The Midwest Gaming Classic will feature thousands of games to play, from classic cabinets brought from arcades across the Midwest region to pinball games old and new – VERY new in the case of the world premiere of Iron Maiden Pinball from Stern Pinball and Marco Specialties – to the classic gaming and computing museum to console games and, the most retro of all the retro options, tabletop games. The pinball machines and arcade games will be on free play mode as well, so you don't even have to bring your bag of coins. No cleaning between the cushions actually necessary! (Unless you want to pay for your MGC tickets in coinage like a monster.)

Speaking of tickets, you can buy yours at the Midwest Gaming Classic's website. Tickets for Friday night's Very Important Gamer pre-show event – running 6 p.m. until midnight – cost $45. As for the rest of the weekend, general admission for Saturday – open 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. – will run you $45 while Sunday – open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. – costs $25. A combined ticket for both days, however, is just $55. The MGC's website also features a complete lineup of vendors, participating arcades, activities and more. 

So get ready to press start and land a high score this weekend at the Midwest Gaming Classic. We'll see you there! (Tune in Friday night on OnMilwaukee's Facebook for a Facebook Live from the Very Important Gamer pre-event party!)

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.