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| Gaming |

Nerd Culture Vultures Can Spread Their Wings at Dallas Gaming Expo

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If you play a lot of video games, you probably consider yourself a nerd and you're likely a fan of Star Wars. At the Dallas Gaming Expo, a door fee gets you access to a bunch of old arcade games, like Cruisin’ USA and Space Invaders, set to “free play.” There will be flat screens set up with tons of console games for you to play and even tables for card and board games. For an additional fee, you can get a picture with Chewbacca or a Power Ranger.

But otherwise, the Dallas Gaming Expo is almost like Six Flags for shut-ins, with the cover charge paying for most of the activities. This first annual, ambitious three-day expo is nearly a year in the making, the brainchild of the event’s founder and CEO, Kevin Dunlap. He has been working in concert promotion for several years, currently with Ghostlight Concerts, and he's also a part-owner of The Rail Club in Fort Worth. Video games are another one of his passions, and he is especially excited about Shining Force, an early 16-bit role playing game for the Sega Genesis. “It’s a pre-Final Fantasy, if you will,” he says. The early RPG influenced countless other games, and even films.

Dunlap is also excited about the Halo 2 tournament. There will be competitions, at no extra charge, with old school video games like Mario Kart and Street Fighter 2 projected onto 100-inch screens. This is a time for nerds to shine, as $10,000 in mostly cash prizes will be awarded throughout the event.

There are also 5 different bands performing, with an emphasis on video game music. Droidekka will perform instrumental covers of video game music (think Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda);  Super Guitar Bros, a classic guitar duo, will be on hand to play music from Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros; and Psychostick, a band only partially known for playing video game tunes, will be the headlining act.

To give it that expo vibe, celebrities will be brought in for question and answer sessions, autographs and photographs. Verne Troyer will probably be the most famous attendee. One of the shortest men in the world, he is best known for playing “Mini-Me” in the Austin Powers films. But Troyer has also appeared in numerous other films, portraying an alien in Men in Black, a waiter in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and himself in a leaked sex tape.

Dallas Gaming Expo takes place at 3 p.m. July 24 through July 26 at Crowne Plaza Addison Hotel. Tickets start at $15. For more info, visit dallasgamingexpo.com. 

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