London Winter Anime and Gaming Convention 2023 Review

    The London Winter Anime and Gaming Convention took place this last weekend 10th-12th February 2023. The event was full of young people mainly under 18 dressed up as anime characters. The vibe was bubbly, and everyone was having fun. The event seemed a lot bigger than when it was located at London Metropolitan University in North London.

    This time it was at the Novotel International Centre, Hammersmith. The space was full of large open halls and the presence of anime was more noticeable than the videogame side of the event. Overall it was a great event, especially for the younger crowd that is into anime.

    Anime and Gaming Con

    Anime and Rare Collectables

    The Novotel International Centre is a large venue, with a series of steps that you walk up to access the entrance. As soon as I approached the venue I saw groups of young people mainly in their teens and early twenties dressed as anime characters.

    Plastic samurai sword replicas were definitely a big thing at this event as loads of people were carrying them. As you enter, there’s a large hall-like space with anime prints and posters that were being sold. 

    The second room, on the right, had a projector playing classic anime films. There were about fifty seats placed for people to sit down and watch. Near this screening, there were more stalls, this time selling collectibles like figures and DVDs/blue rays.

    There were some people dressed as videogame characters, for example from the Zelda, and Metroid series. I saw a really cool costume of someone in cosplay as a Hollow Knight character. However, there were many more fans dressed as anime characters such as from Dragon Ball Z.

    London Anime and Gaming Convention

    Gaming Rooms

    The area to play retro games was split into a few rooms. There were loads of monitors connected to consoles such as the Sega Master System, Sega Megadrive, Super Nintendo, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Playstation, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, and more.

    The games that I saw being played included Street Fighter 4Super Smash Bros Melee, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Goldeneye, and more. There was also a huge screen where people were competing playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

    Generally, the gaming room was full of groups of kids and their parents, playing mainly multiplayer games. Smash Bros and Street Fighter definitely had a big presence at the event. The number of retro consoles was great to see, and it was great to see the new generation playing some of the classics.

    The mini consoles, such as the SNES Classic and Megadrive Mini, were also available to play. This section of the event was really busy with people waiting to play, but the multiple rooms meant that there was a great amount of choice of consoles to play.

    The event in general was suited more to younger kids and teenagers, and there were a lot of groups of kids that were at the event celebrating birthdays. Pokemon was also well represented, although I didn’t see many 3DSs or Game Boys being played. There was someone dressed in a massive Pikachu costume.


    The Bar and Smoking Area

    There was a bar and restaurant area, with a smoking area. I spoke to some of the people that were eating and drinking, and many of them were parents who had let their kids go off and explore and were together having some food and drink.

    The prices were quite expensive. A burger and chips would have set you back about £12, and a pint of lager was around £6. The smoking area/outside area had people in cosplay taking pictures, and again, the anime presence was more significant than video game cosplayers.

    I did see a kid dressed as Link, and someone dressed as Zelda, although when I attended the event in north London a few years ago, videogame cosplayers were more prominent, and in general the event was smaller and more intimate. Also, the event a few years ago, had more people in their early twenties, whereas this time, there were loads more young teenagers, and also, more parents. 


    Overall, the London Winter Anime and Videogame Convention was a great celebration of anime and retro gaming that, if you are a parent, is great to go to for a family day out. It’s definitely suited to groups of young teenagers, and there are events throughout the weekend that are based on ‘nerd’ culture. The event is less intimate, where you get to know people, than in past years, and probably more suited to kids.

    However, it’s still a great event for anime and gaming fans of all ages and if you’re a fan of the Sega Megadrive, Sega Dreamcast, or any retro Nintendo platforms, it’s good to go to the gaming space and sit and play some classic games for a few hours. Also, if you like Street Fighter or Smash Bros, you can compete at this event, either for fun, or in a tournament, and test your skills. 

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