Cleveland Gaming Classic Grows From Basement Tournament to IX Center Event

CLEVELAND, Ohio – It started with some friends playing Tecmo Bowl. Now the Cleveland Gaming Classic is Ohio’s largest gaming convention, coming to the IX Center for the first time this Saturday.

The Cleveland Gaming Classic is filled with everything a gamer could wish for. Retro video games, arcade machines and pinball machines. Independent developers show off their new games. They are tournaments, cosplay, collectibles and even special guests for the annual event.

Tom Jenkins, the founder of the event, said it started small and snowballed from there. About 10 years ago, he and his friends met to play “Tecmo Super Bowl”, a football video game released in 1991.

That private tournament grew and in 2017 they hosted a public event called “Tecmo Cleveland” and held it at American Legion in Avon Lake. That event was to turn into the Cleveland Gaming Classic and be held at Wagner’s or Westlake – but now it has outgrown that space.

Jenkins said it was an amazing and humbling experience to watch it grow.

“It started in my basement in North Ridgeville and now we’re at the IX Center,” he said.

This year, the Gaming Classic celebrates the 30th anniversary of Mortal Kombat with actors and a designer from the original game. The show will also sell raffle tickets to raise money for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland.

The event is Saturday from noon to 10pm, with early bird entry at 11am. Tickets are $20 for adults and free for children 10 and under.

Visitors can purchase tickets at the door or visit

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