Retropalooza Levels Up

12043064_702712249862590_7770464466187157134_nRetropalooza filled the Arlington Convention Center with elite gaming fanatics from all over the country. From free-to-play arcades and tabletop games, to industry led panels, there was something for every type of gamer. The convention had a rocket boost of attendance this year, spiking from 1200 attendees last year to 2000 this year.

There was so much I was excited to do and obviously playing games was at the top of the list. I started out my gaming adventure by jumping right onto the arcade and hopped games until my thumbs went numb. Let’s Play Gaming Expo had a bunch of console games set up and it was awesome! I watched some mad Guitar Hero skills and got to play some old school Megaman.

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Mad Max: Fury Road art by Devin Kraft of Cheshire Cat Studios

The vendor and artist venue had an awesome selection of video game dealers and extreme talent. A couple of my favorite artists I found included Shonuff Studios, Cheshire Cat Studios, and Jonathan Miller Art. Visiting with local artists and picking up new pieces for my print collection is one of the highlights for conventions for me. I always try to pick up something new!

Vendor wise there was a great selection of old media and new. I saw a lot of retro games for sale that totally brought me back to the days I would come home from school, plug in my N64, and challenge my sister to blind Pokemon Stadium battles. What’s a blind Pokemon Stadium battle? Well, to challenge our skills to the furthest extent as a true Pokemon Master we would close our eyes and randomly select our Pokemon, eliminating the option to choose any from the last row (since those were the legendary birds). Ah, good memories. Where the new games are concerned there were a lot of limited edition runs of current games and figures available for purchase. It was definitely dangerous territory for my bank account.

Me with MatPat (left) and Gaijin Goomba (right)

Me with MatPat (left) and Gaijin Goomba (right)

I was super stoked to meet the YouTube legend MatPat, who, as part of The Game Theorists, is an expert at overanalyzing video games in the most comedic and entertaining way. However, video games weren’t the only theory I wanted to ask Matt about. I needed to get some insight on his Jurassic World theory! He was quick to tell me that he’s working on his theory of all the types of DNA of which the Indominus Rex is made. We narrowed down the obvious choices of T-Rex, Velociraptor, and cuttlefish, and the rest is all theory.

Before I scampered off I had to get him to sign my 3DS – and he did, complete with a Jurassic Park reference! Additionally, I had the pleasure of meeting YouTube stars Andre Meadow of Black Nerd Comedy and Gaijin Goomba who both signed my 3DS too! Although I’m still trying to figure out what you call a blind dinosaur.

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Overall I had an amazing time roaming the convention and getting a more intimate look at the local gaming community. I hope Retropalooza will continue to grow and build the arcade even larger. The staff is professional, yet passionate, and with the “run by fans for fans” attitude, this convention has nothing but a great and growing future ahead. Retropalooza will be entering Houston in April 2016. See you there!

Dallas Comic Con Brings Heroes and Villains Together for One Epic Weekend

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If anything can bring heroes and villains together it was definitely Dallas Comic Con. Running on it’s second year at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, DCC ran a smooth convention that provided fun and new experiences to fans.

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Groot aka PropCustomz

The convention, held May 29-31, hosted thousands of eager fans waiting to experience nerd bliss. If it’s any indication of how many fans were pouring into the convention center, within the first hour of the show on Saturday the 1200 spot parking lot was already full. Luckily, DCC planned for just this type of crowd and expanded the convention to take up the entire center instead of just one area.

This time artists and vendors were more integrated into the exhibit floor rather than being separated into entirely different sections of the room. The increased space along with increase in seating, tables, and transition between exhibitors and celebrities seemed to prove beneficial. Aisles seemed much less crowded and it was easier to navigate the floor and return to booths.

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Destiny Nickelson

Cosplay was highly represented the entire weekend. Everywhere I looked there were high-caliber cosplays of characters from every dimension of fandom. There was even an entire aisle in the celebrity area dedicated to famous cosplayers. Here I was able to meet cosplayers and prop makers who consistently create incredible work. My favorite to talk to was Destiny Nickelson who is a seasoned cosplayer and well known in the community. When I met her she was wearing a Mary Marvel costume that she had created in a mere six hours with left over fabric she had! It’s incredible the level of talent and creativity of this community.

The My Possibilites comic club attended the convention bringing along colorful paintings they created to be shown at the event. My Possibilities “enables adults with disabilities to realize their greatest possibilities and enjoy

My Possibilities students show off their artwork at Dallas Comic Con - Photo cred Krystle Starr

My Possibilities students show off their artwork at Dallas Comic Con – Photo cred Krystle Starr

meaningful lives.” Their students, also known as HIPsters, created the works of art featuring super heroes and villains from both the Marvel and DC universe. Helping them discover their artistic potential, teacher Krystle Starr encourages her students to push the boundaries and to not be afraid to take a chance. She told me how one student accidently spilled some paint on a canvas and

was upset that they ruined it, instead Krystle encouraged the student to “go with it,” and the “mistake” actually wound up making a unique and beautiful piece of art. It was wonderful to see their works of art appreciated and to have so many new comic fans join the convention scene.

One of the most entertaining panels was that of Tom Kenny. The voice actor, most famous for his roles as Spongebob Squarepants and the Ice King, gave sound advice to aspiring voice actors and provided much entertainment by using his

Tom Kenny entertains fans with voice acting stories and favorite voices.

Tom Kenny entertains fans with voice acting stories and favorite voices.

voice talents to fulfill fan requests. One piece of advice he gave to aspiring voice actors in regards to their demo reels was to “create one demo reel with cartoon and character voices and a separate reel with regular voices that could be used on television ads.” One guest requested Kenny voice a situation where Spongebob and the Ice King

would meet for the first time. He said this was something he had never done before, and the result was both hilarious and awesome.

While many heroes were represented at the convention, the true heroes were without a doubt the volunteers and staff that worked around the clock to make sure everything went on as scheduled. Without them, there is no way a convention of this caliber could happen. Thank you volunteers and staff for all that you do to provide the best experience for all of your guests, your tireless efforts and accommodations are extremely appreciated!

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Quakecon July 17-20

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Ready for another weekend of gaming? Quakecon is this weekend at the Hilton Anatole in Downtown Dallas and is North America’s largest BYOC (bring your own computer) LAN party.

Pre-registration for a guaranteed seat at the BYOC lounge has closed, but you don’t have to bring a computer to have an awesome time. Attending the show and roaming around the main floor is totally free. There are many booths that will be set up so users can experience new titles, and there will even be computers available to rent for the weekend. A lot of the industries top names will be in attendance demoing new technology and titles including Alienware and Bethesda.

Events include Elderscrolls tournaments, portfolio reviews, Battlecry tournaments, and a QR code hunt. Additionally, there are many panels, announcements, game presentations and parties!

Marking the 19th year of the convention, Quakecon hopes to hold the reputation as the “Woodstock of gaming” and provide PC gamers and fans alike a hub to come together and celebrate one of the most exciting industries.

 

 

Dallas Comic-Con 2014 Ultimate Guide

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Your questions answered! Here is my guide to Dallas Comic-Con 2014. The convention is at a new place this year and they are expecting almost double the attendance. That said, my experience is based off of Dallas Comic-Con at it’s previous location and previous owners. I have done my best to find the correct answers and base my responses off of what I am anticipating. This should give you a general idea of what to expect. Please send me additional questions, corrections, and additions to my email dallasfangirl@gmail.com and I will add them in! Enjoy and I hope to see you there!

 

Dallas Comic-Con 2014 Guide 

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The Basics

When:

May 16-18

Friday May 16: 4pm-9pm

Saturday May 17: 10am-7pm

Sunday May 18: 10am-5pm

Where:

Dallas Convention Center

650 South Griffin Street
Dallas, TX 75202

Price:

Single Day:

Friday $25

Saturday $40

Sunday $30

Kids $10 with adult ticket

All 3 days: $79 (only available as pre-registration)

Parking:

Dallas Comic-Con is selling spots for parking in advance. My largest recommendation would be to take the DART if possible, as it drops you off right at the convention center. If for some reason you cannot take the DART (costume, etc.) here is the link to parking. I’m sure there will be additional parking beyond this website, but my largest recommendation above all will be to arrive as early as you can to ensure a decent spot.

https://www.parkingpanda.com/dallas-comic-con-parking?ref=dcc

Q.Can I bring food/water bottles to Dallas Comic Con?

A. By technical standards I don’t think you are supposed to. But everyone does. I always make sure to pack my Camel water bottle and a bunch of granola bars. As long as you’re not toting in a cooler, I think it’s totally fine to load up your purse/backpack with some easy to grab snacks.

 

*Dallas Comic-Con Virgin*

Q. I’ve never been to DCC. How can I decide whether I want to go or not?

A. This year at DCC is going to be new for all of us. It is going to be at a newer, larger convention and is going to be run by a whole new company. The best argument I can make to go (besides all of the awesome events, guests, and panels) is that this year is a milestone for comic conventions in Dallas. If DCC goes off as it is being hyped to be, it will be a very, very large convention and bring a lot of attention to Dallas. I think it’s really cool to say you are a part of that!

Q. How can I make sure I have the BEST experience at Dallas Comic-Con?

A. The best advice I can give to have a great time is to not be too scheduled and to expect the unexpected. Things happen – guest stars get sick, cancel appearances, and timings change unexpectedly. Go in with an open mind, back-up plans if needed, and just enjoy yourself!

Q. How is it compared to other conventions in dallas?

A. Size wise – if the numbers of attendees come through as anticipated, it will be the largest comic book, sci-fi, anime convention in the city (perhaps even the state). Because Dallas Comic-Con is expanding their guest list beyond sci-fi and comic book guests, this will draw in crowds that typically wouldn’t venture out to comic book conventions. For example, voice actors from Dragon Ball, Pokemon, and Adventure Time will bring in the anime crowd. Be prepared for a lot more vendors, more guests, and more room to walk around! On the flip side this is also going to mean more traffic, lines, and crowds than we are used to at smaller conventions like AnimeFest and Sci-Fi Expo.

Q. What does a typical day consist of? What’s a simple play-by-play of the day?

A. A typical day varies from person to person. It depends on what your interests are and why you’re attending the convention. But, here is a very basic run-down of what a very standard day could be!

  • 1. Get dressed and ready to go
  • 1a. Cosplaying? Make a checklist the day before of everything you are planning on wearing so that you can check it off as you get ready the next morning. Not cosplaying? A checklist is good to have anyway. Camera? Water bottle? Phone? ID/Credit card?
  • 2.Get directions and drive to the convention
  • 2a. If you are planning to get there when the convention opens, plan on getting there at least 2 hours in advance for the best parking/spot in line. Especially if you haven’t pre-registered. If you do not care about lines/aren’t in a rush, take it at your own pace.
  • 3. Arrive: pay for parking, park in garage/available lots
  • 3a. Bring cash for parking ($10-$20)
  • 4. Get in line to get your badge
  • 4a. Don’t forget your license/emails with receipt barcode of badge purchase
  • 5. Enter convention
  • 5a. Grab a schedule and establish a good meeting place in case you and your buddies get separated. Go over the schedule and narrow down what you want to do if you haven’t already pre-planned. (Sometimes there are some last-minute schedule changes, too!)
  • 6. Plan your attack
  • 6a. Grab a map and explore! Before you commit to doing something, it’s always best to get a feel for the convention floor and where everything is. Best bathroom? Panel rooms? Dealer’s room? Food? You never know when you may need to make an emergency run to the artist alley for a last-minute print! This is also a good time to scope out your food options like where the food trucks are parked, what’s available at the con, and what restaurants are nearby for after-con endeavors.
  • 7. Wander around
  • 7a. Wandering around is some of the most fun. A lot of the day consists of just walking back and forth to the same places. While this may not sound thrilling, just wait. There is always something new to see and always something happening. Cosplay red carpet, celebrities roaming the convention floors, and random acts of awesomeness make each experience unique!
  • 8. Attend at least one panel
  • 8a. I usually aim to go to one or two panels. More than two sometimes eats up the day too much for me. Between waiting in line for the panel, waiting for it to start, and then getting out, it all ends up being anywhere from a 2-4 hour experience. Worth it for some panels, not so much for others. Especially since the convention hours are relatively short (10-7, 10-5) there may be other things you won’t want to miss out on.
  • 9. Talk to artists/dealers and buy something unique
  • 9a. Artists work is unique and a lot of times are convention exclusives! I always try to buy at least one piece I really like and go out of my way to meet the artist. This gives you a deeper connection to the piece you get and makes you really treasure it! Although a lot of things you find in the dealer’s room you can find online and at retailers, there are a lot of vintage and rare pieces that you can’t! In addition, some of the dealer’s are some of the coolest people you will ever meet!
  • 10. Remember to take pictures
  • 10a. This may sound obvious but I always seem to forget! If you see something cool, take a picture. Chances are you may not see it again!

Pretend schedule:

  • 10am: arrive, park, get in line
  • 11am: enter building/get badge
  • 11:15-12:30: explore dealer’s room, artist alley, convention floor
  • 12:30-12:45: Grab food to eat in line
  • 12:45: get in line for 2 p.m. panel
  • 2:00: enter panel
  • 3:00: exit panel
  • 3:30: go get autographs
  • 5:00: back to dealer’s room
  • 6:00: Final walk through

*Kids Zone*

Children’s admission: $10 with adult ticket purchase

Q. Is Dallas Comic Con kid friendly?

A. Yes! A lot of conventions go out of their way to make sure that children are welcome. Dallas Comic Con is no exception! There is a lot for kids to do, and there is even a kids cosplay contest.

Q. Do cosplayers take pictures with kids? Is that okay?

A. Absolutely! Ask any cosplayer – posing with kids is usually the best part of a convention! Don’t be afraid to stop someone and ask for a picture, most are more than happy to pose!

 

*Photos/Autographs*

Q. How does getting a photo with a celebrity work? Do I just walk up with my phone/camera?

A. Very rarely can you take a photograph with a celebrity at their booth for free. At DCC most celebrities will have specific “photo opp” times where fans will line up with pre-purchased vouchers to get a photo with their choice of guest. These photo ops start at $30 and are more expensive the larger the guest.

http://www.fanexpodallas.com/photo-ops/

Q. Can me and my friend/fiancé/partner get a picture together with a celebrity? Does that cost extra?

A. According to Epic Photo Op: The price of a photo is the price per posed picture, not per person. There is a limit of three people in each photo (excluding children 3 years or under, and media guests). (Thanks John Abbott!)

Q. What’s the basic cost for autographs, as well as group deals for autographs from entire casts that will be there?

A. Autographs run anywhere from $35-$85+. Typically there are no “group” deals on autographs and celebrities charge separately.

Q. We are scheduling an itinerary but you mentioned waits can get kind ridiculous…what has been your best and worst experience with autographs or photo ops?

A. Best experience is that I am able to just walk up and get the autograph I want with no wait. Worst experience was that I waited a long time to meet an actor, and then he had to leave for the day, so I waited over an hour for nothing. A lot of times a long line can be worth the wait though. For example, I waited about an hour to meet Felicia Day and she was amazing. She even did a shout out video for my professor (and yes, I got an A).

*Panels*

Q. How early do I need to line up for a panel?

A. This really depends on how popular of a panel it will be and the day. Typically in the past at DCC the rule of thumb is to line up about an hour before the panel. However, with the attendance list expected to nearly double this year you may want to keep tabs on your panel up to two hours before it begins.

 

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*Cosplay/Wardrobe*

Q. What should I wear to Dallas Comic Con?

A. There’s no right or wrong answer to this one. For guys, typically a nerdy shirt, jeans (or shorts), and sneakers are a classic convention look. Ladies have looks all over the place – I’ve seen anything from casual tee and shorts to full decked out high heels and short skirts. If you’re planning on staying a while I’d just advise you wear something comfortable! Unless it’s for a cosplay, conventions typically aren’t the best place to test out new footwear!

Q. Is it required for me to cosplay in order to go to DCC?

A. Not at all! Even though cosplay is a big thing right now, typically there are less people dressed up than not!

Q. I’m not planning on cosplaying, but I do want to wear a costume. Is that okay?

A. YES! To many cosplaying means taking the role of the character and not breaking said role. Whether that’s your definition or not – dressing up in a costume and just being your kooky self is 100% awesome!

Q. I am planning on cosplaying but my materials are heavy/hot. Is there anywhere I can sit down and take a break without being asked for photos? 

A. Yes!! There will actually be a Cosplay Hideout lounge

Q. We are still on the fence for Cosplay. Do you always go in costume?

A. I don’t always go in costume, but when I don’t I usually sport some sort of nerdy apparel.

Q. What are your personal experiences, both good and bad with going in costume?

A. The fun thing about going is costume is getting to show off your work (if you made it) and getting your picture taken! It’s fun to have some spotlight. Also, you can connect with people who love the same fandom as you, because it’s pretty obvious what you love. The downside is it can be hard to do lots of things because you are being stopped for photos, your costume is restrictive and doesn’t allow you to do other activities. For me, a lot of my costumes don’t have pockets so I try to integrate some sort of carrying device (backpack that fits, utility belt I can put money in etc.)

Q. You might not know since its a new company, but what has been your experiences with other Cons and prop guns?

A. Make sure your prop gun has the orange tip and is plastic. Metal guns and props are prohibited at DCC.

*After the Con*

Q. I see the convention ends at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Is there anything going on after?

A. There will be an official after party Saturday night!

 

*Hotel* 

Q. Do I need to get a hotel room?

A. If you are going all 3 days (or even 2) getting a hotel sometimes makes things a lot easier, especially if you are in cosplay or planning to stay out late. Most of the hotels are filling up quickly, so the earlier you book the closer you can get.

Recommended hotel list: http://www.fanexpodallas.com/travel/

 

*Expenses*

Q. How much money should I bring?

A. This really depends on how much you are able to spend and what you are looking at getting. Tickets at the door can be purchased using credit card. Most vendors take card, but it’s usually a lot easier to pay cash and sometimes vendors are willing to cut deals for cash sales. If you are looking to get some high-dollar items, bring enough to support that. If you aren’t looking for anything particular, my go-to amount is $100 in cash for food and misc. spending.

 

*Dealer’s Room / Artist Alley*

Q. Should I try and bargain in the dealers room?

A. Most vendors are willing to haggle a bit. Just make sure you are courteous and not pushy about it. In my opinion, it’s usually easier to strike a good deal on the last day of the con. Most times big retailers are unable to make further markdowns on their merchandise, but have convention exclusive sales.

Spring Fever Giveaway!

It’s been super crazy in my corner of the world lately. Between conventions, school, and work, I barely have time to sleep! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love being busy – it makes me feel like I’m being productive and not just a waste of space. That being said, it’s really easy to get carried away doing everything else and not take the time to relax and breathe!

The weather is getting back to livable conditions and I’m super excited about all the late spring and early summer events coming up like Dallas Comic Con and A-Kon! To celebrate the height of convention season and more importantly, to thank all of you for being so supportive of my endeavors I’m doing a giveaway!

This one is super, super easy to enter. Use this Rafflecopter link. Just click it and it will take you to a page where you can easily click to enter to win this awesome Darth Vader POP figure that was exclusively made for Dallas Comic Con!

Again, thank you all for being so supportive and I can’t wait to show you all everything I am working on!

 

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Why a Facebook Fan Page matters, but the likes don’t

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Welcome to Facebook where everything is made up and the likes don’t matter. No, really.

This all started off as a school project that I’ve just decided to continue and grow because, well to be frank, I’m honestly addicted to it.

I had to initially create a blog about something I am really passionate about for a class project. Well, I love Dallas, I love conventions, and I love dressing up in fun costumes. The outcome was my website, DallasFanGirl.com. With the support of my  professor I actually became confident enough to go for it.

So now I had a website and of course, I really wanted to blast it out to everyone I knew and let them know about this awesome exciting thing I was doing.

I started my Facebook “like” page about a year ago. I decided I really wanted to make a separate page for my crazy nerdy antics because I realized not all of my friends were really into it all as much as I was, and were probably tired of seeing it all over their feed.

When I first began my page I was ECSTATIC that it reached 100 likes. Seriously, 100 of you like what I post enough to follow me? That’s so awesome! Each like is exciting to me because if you like my content, it genuinely makes me happy!

I wanted to do something to thank all of my friends for supporting my craziness and in turn, started to do little giveaways. I really wanted to give my friends something that they would like and genuinely feel my appreciation.  Gift cards and codes are definitely something we can all be down for.

I got more and more likes as the giveaways drew new people into my page. Which of course, is very exciting!  But it’s become a recent realization that I really don’t need all those likes. Those numbers are just numbers and what really counts are the people who actually LIKE what I do and are interactive with me and my work. I mean, what’s a bunch of numbers if no one actually cares what you are putting out there? Especially now that Facebook insanely limits the amount of people who see what you post (I think it’s like, 5% of your total fans?).

So, why do I promote my page if it really doesn’t matter?

I really believe in everything I post. Yes, even down to the memes and stupid selfies. Everything I post I think “yeah, I like this and maybe one of you will too”. And that’s all that really matters to me; that someone out there enjoys what I share.

I actually think it’s really important for people to have a fan page if you believe that there is a niche audience who will appreciate what you do. Not all of your friends care as deeply about that one thing that you do, so why not corral everyone together in a place where you all know you love the same thing? This creates an atmosphere where you can tailor your content to fit exactly what you know your audience will appreciate.

If my page stays at 500 likes, where it is right now, I won’t bat an eye. To know that there’s a chance that 100 of those 500 likes are actual, real life people who care about what I publish is more than I could ever ask for.

As a kid I used to make a list of friends on notebook paper. I remember being SO amazed when I had 10 friends, but then deciding I didn’t want anymore because then I couldn’t count them on my fingers and I would start to forget them. (Which obviously is not the case, because then I realized I had toes and that helped a lot).

Getting more views on my stuff is scary. It’s intimidating to think who may be looking at what you do and sometimes it really starts to freak me out. I sit up at night worrying that what I’m doing is wrong and it’s not going to do me any good but then I remember why I want this to grow.

I want this to grow because know that there are a lot of people who don’t know about how many conventions happen in Dallas and details about them. There are a lot of people who wish they did know about all of the convention announcements and have all the information they need in one place. Heck, that’s why I was driven to start this whole thing because I could never find some place that told me things I really wanted to know about a convention like, “is it mandatory for me to cosplay at Dallas Comic Con?”

When it comes down to it I just really want to help people find the answers they are looking for and to provide it all in a fun, exciting way. I want to make sure anyone who is curious about upcoming conventions, or wants to see a review of a convention to see whether or not it’s worth their time to go, can go to my page and find those answers.

In short, if my page ever gets bigger than it is now, cool, awesome! And if not, even better! Because I won’t have to worry about more than 500 people judging me for wearing p.j. pants in my YouTube videos.