Retropalooza 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.
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)
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.
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!