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!

North Texas Comic Book Show – July 18

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The North Texas Comic Book Show is back with a day full of adventures, plenty of comic books, and a great opportunity to get your geek on with nerds of all ages.

When: Saturday, July 18 9:30 am – 5 p.m.

Where: Doubletree Hotel Dallas Market Center, 2015 Market Center Blvd., just off I-35 near Market Hall and Medieval Times.

How much: Admission is just $10 at the door. Kids 11 and under get in FREE!

Side note (per NTCBS): parking at the Doubletree is free. If the lot fills up you may want to pay to park at the Hilton Anatole and walk over. It’s about 2 blocks.

NTCBS is known for putting on a show that is very interactive with the community. This is a great opportunity to meet other fans in the area!

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Tugg the bull terrier is not only a super cute pup, but also a comic book hero!

Many talented comic artists and characters will be in attendance at this event including the lovable bull terrier pup Tugg, who has overcome a rough start as a young puppy and is now a superhero! Look for him at his booth along with his comic book “Tugg: A Hero Among Us”.

Don’t forget your cosplay! NTCBS will be hosting a cosplay contest by the hotel pool at 2 p.m. and the winner will receive a $100 prize! Everyone in costume is encouraged to join and play the role of their character. If you’ve never participated in a cosplay contest before this is a great opportunity!

For more information visit NTCBS on Facebook or at their website http://www.comicbooksdallas.com/

A-Kon 26 Revs up for a Weekend Full of Anime, Gaming, and Cosplay

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A-Kon is the longest running anime convention in the U.S. With 25 years now under its belt, A-Kon consistently delivers an exciting weekend full of anime, guests, panels, and fun.

Join A-Kon and over 20,000 anticipated guests at the Hilton Anatole in Downtown Dallas. Parking can be a bit tricky as main parking at the Anatole fills up rather quickly. It is strongly encouraged to refer to this map and signing that allows overflow A-Kon parking. There are many spots close to the Anatole that may look tempting to park in, but beware towing is HEAVILY enforced during the weekend and you don’t want to come back to a booted/non-existent car after a

If you're looking to get a professional photo of your cosplay, visit SuperheroPhotos at A-kon!

If you’re looking to get a professional photo of your cosplay, visit SuperheroPhotos at A-Kon! This was my Mega Charizard from A-Kon last year!

weekend of fun.

Whether you have pre-registered for a badge or are buying on-site, it’s advised to get in line as early as you can. Lines have been hours long in the past and you don’t want to miss any of your convention time. If you’re cosplaying it’s advised to pick up your badge before you get in costume since you may be standing for an extended period of time.

A-Kon draws such a large crowd because the convention consistently delivers optimal entertainment to its guests. From J-Pop celebrities to a massive artist alley/dealers room collaboration, there is always something new to see.

This years celebrity guests include voice actress Amber Nash most currently known for her role as Pam from Archer. Other guests include Trina Nishimura, voice of Mikasa from Attack on Titan, and Caitlin Glass known for her role as Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist.

Although A-Kon is namely an anime convention, gaming is a large feature too. A Console Gaming Room full of nostalgic game titles is sure to feed any gamers appetite. Additionally, ScrewAttack will be there with game demos so be sure to stop by and test out some of their newest titles.

One of the highlights of A-Kon is a large dance party they host Saturday night. If you like rave-like atmospheres, this dance party is right up your alley. In the past they’ve had talented DJ’s who incorporate nerdy touches into their music like Pokemon themes, Zelda’s main theme and more.

While finding restaurants in walking distance of the Anatole isn’t that easy, A-Kon has accommodated to have multiple food trucks available around the clock to satisfy hungry guests. There are 20 food trucks on the list to be rotating throughout four areas of the convention. From pizza, BBQ, tacos, and boba, there’s something for everyone.

Come out to A-Kon 26 this weekend and have some fun with the nerdiest and most fun people around, it’s tradition!

Also, here is my A-Kon photo bingo chart! Save it on your phone and try to get a bingo! Send it to me after the weekend with the photos to dallasfangirl@gmail.com!

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Fan Expo Dallas 2015 Guide

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Fan Expo Dallas (formerly Dallas Comic Con, “The Big One”) is Dallas’ largest comic book convention. Held at the Dallas Convention Center, the convention is hosting some of Sci-Fi’s largest stars including Dr. Who star Matt Smith, Firefly heartbreaker Nathan Fillion, and comic book legend Stan Lee.

I’ve created this guide to Fan Expo Dallas in hopes that it helps those who are new to the convention scene, or are curious about what to expect. I have compiled questions from my email, tips from seasoned cosplayers and attendees, as well as advice and personal favorites based off personal experience. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL 2015 PROGRAM WITH MAP & SCHEDULE 

The Basics

When:

May 29-31

Friday May 29: 4pm-9pm

Saturday May 30: 10am-7pm

Sunday May 31: 10am-5pm

Where:

Dallas Convention Center

650 South Griffin Street
Dallas, TX 75202

Price:

Single Day:

Friday $25

Saturday $50

Sunday $40

Kids $10 with adult ticket

All 3: $89

(deluxe 3 day pass only available as pre-registration, buy in advance and get in on Friday at 2 p.m.)

New to Dallas Comic Con?

Your questions answered!

 

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

A. Are you nerdy? Do you love comics, sci-fi shows, and get excited when someone mentions Marvel, Dragon Ball Z, Dr. Who, or any related nerdy content? This is the place for you! If you’ve never been to a convention before, or have been but it was really small, I would plan to expect the following:

– Large dealers hall with many vendors, artists, and guest celebrities

– different rooms around the convention center hosting numerous panels (*it is very important to have a map on you, even if you have been to DCC before, rooms are always changing!)

– tons of photo opportunities

– long lines and short lines; plan your time wisely!

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!

Q. Any advice for parents bringing kids?

A. Bring a snack or budget for snacks for your kiddos. Establish meeting places in case you get separated and plan time to sit down and relax. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are many things for kids to do at the convention, but you may want to read over the schedule beforehand to have an idea of what is going on, otherwise it may seem boring for the kids to constantly roam around until you find something.

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 op” 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. 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-$100+. Typically there are no “group” deals on autographs and celebrities charge separately.

Q. Can I take photos of celebrities and cosplayers?

A. Always ask. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS ask. Usually, per policy, you cannot walk up and take a photo of a celebrity. If you don’t see a sign, ask a volunteer or staff member. Always ask a cosplayer before you take his/her photo.

Q. I’m cosplaying and I’d like a professional photo of my costume. Is there a service for that?

A. Yes! My personal favorite is SuperHero Photos! Joe is SUPER professional and his photos are really high quality! His booth is always my first stop before my costume gets all convention worn! Booth #390

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.

Full schedule of panels/updates/events can be found here: http://fanexpodallas.com/schedule/

Cosplay/Wardrobe

Q. What should I wear to Dallas Comic Con (if I don’t want to cosplay)?

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, typically there are less people dressed up than not!

Q. I want to cosplay but I’m running out of time! Who should I cosplay?

A. Pick a character you love and make it simple! Don’t stress. If you’re looking for something easy – Google “Disneybound outfits” to see some Disney inspired looks! I can’t tell you a specific character because I don’t want you to pick something you don’t like. Be true to you! Remember, hot glue and safety pins are your friend!

Q. Looks like it’s going to rain this weekend during the con. What should I do if I’m going in costume/body paint/ etc?

A. Bring a backpack and pack an umbrella, poncho, trash bags. Whatever waterproof stuff you can! Make sure you bring a bag big enough to carry your purchases! If you are really concerned about makeup and costumes with rain, my best suggestion would be to get to the con really early to get covered parking or bring your makeup and do it at the convention center. (There is a cosplay hidewaway for those planning to cosplay, last year they had a changing room and as I recall the convention bathrooms are decently sized.)

Weapons/Props

*NOTE UPDATED POLICY REGARDING WEAPONS AT DALLAS COMIC CON 2015*

Q. Can I bring a fake gun to the convention? It’s plastic and has an orange tip.

A. As of recent, DCC policy states under no circumstance is any type of firearm or replica firearm allowed.

“Live firearms including airsoft, modern, hunting or historic, either functioning or de-commissioned, are not permitted at any FAN EXPO HQ event. Replica firearms made from metal, solid resin/plastic/rubber are not to be brought onto convention grounds. All other firearms/projectile weapons are required to have orange safety tips at all times on convention grounds, however they can be removable for photography or competition purposes as long as they are re-attached when moving around the convention”

For more information on prop guidelines please refer to the official rules here:

http://fanexpodallas.com/props-weapons-policy/

After the Con

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

A. There will be an official after party Saturday night! Details here: http://fanexpodallas.com/saturday-night-shindig/?utm_content=buffer0ecd6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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. Plus, you can never be too sure that the wifi will be steady for credit card transactions. If you are looking to get some high-dollar items, bring enough to support that. Keep in mind food prices are typical event food prices (so a bit higher than average).

Dealer’s Room / Artist Alley

Q. Should I try to 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.

Q. What kind of art is in the Artist Alley?

A. Expect fan art from all corners of Sci-Fi and comics! There is such a large variety of artists, exploring the Artist Alley (AA) is one of my favorite things to do! From local artists to ones you may recognize from popular websites like TeeFury, there’s bound to be a style you like! A few of my favorite artists are Eddie Medina Art (EdMed Art) (Booth #PA15 in the Artist Alley), Michael Champion (Booth #595 in the Exhibitor space), John Hughes (Overground Comics), and Shonuff Studio (Booth #PA12 in the Artist Alley)! Check them out if you have a chance!

Please email me at dallasfangirl@gmail.com with questions, corrections, and updates!

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Anime North Texas this weekend

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This weekend Anime North Texas will bring panels, celebrity guests, and plenty of opportunities to show your love for all thins anime!

When: Nov. 14-16

Where: Radisson Hotel Fort Worth North – Fossil Creek

How Much: $40 whole weekend, $25 Fri, $30 Sat, $20 Sun

There is so much going on at ANT that appeals to all aspects of the anime fandom community. Panels include Gundam, Attack on Titan, Propmaking Cosplay 101, and a dating game. There will be a dance and a masquerade ball as well.

Additionally, ANT will run a costume contest with awesome prizes including an amazing sewing machine!

So check out all the fun this weekend at one of the last convention of the year, Anime North Texas!

Additional information can be found on ANT’s website and their Facebook page.

AnimeFest August 15-18 2014

AnimeFest is one of my favorite conventions in Dallas. Even though AnimeFest has been steadily growing in attendance numbers, it’s not too big and there is always something to do. This year, Flow will be performing! The band is known to put on an incredible performance and for their show to be included in the price of admission to the con is an awesome deal!

From panels, to dances, to concerts there is an eclectic variety of events happening all weekend at AnimeFest. A full schedule of everything happening can be found here.

Where to Park

There are a couple of parking lots that are usually available near the Sheraton. They usually fill up pretty quickly, but this year Parking Panda, who recently worked with Otakon, is  teaming up with AnimeFest to give attendees a guaranteed solution to parking near the hotel. To reserve parking through Parking Panda all you have to do is go online and select either a one-day pass or a multi-day pass. From here you will be able to select your parking and print off your reservation to show at the gate. Parking Panda is also teaming up with AnimeFest to offer a 20% discount using the code: ANIME at checkout.

What to Wear

AnimeFest has a pretty high cosplay rate as most anime conventions do. Even though it’s an anime convention, don’t think that you are limited to only cosplaying as anime characters. Comic book characters, internet references/characters and even characters of your own crazy concoction are all welcomed at this convention. If you don’t feel like wearing a costume, many people just go in crazy clothing, or just a fun nerdy shirt and jeans. At night, it’s typical to see lots of both guys and girls wearing “rave” clothing. Pretty much any brightly colored clothing and flashing accessories you can find.

When:

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Where:

Sheraton Dallas Hotel
400 N. Olive Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
Phone: (214) 922-8000

How much:

Full weekend: $60

Friday $30

Saturday $40

Sunday $40

Monday $25

 

All information, including all updates and changes to the programming of AnimeFest can be found on their website www.AnimeFest.org or on their Facebook page.

Dallas Comic Con *FREE* Event: Fan Appreciation Day

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Saturday, August 9, Dallas Comic Con is hosting a free convention! Fan Appreciation Day will take place from 10 am – 7 pm at the Irving Convention Center (parking is $5).

The event will be hosted on the first floor of the convention center which will be full of guests, vendors, and artists! There will also be the cosplay red carpet for cosplayers to walk and get photos taken!

Guests will range from comic artists to cosplayers including The Iron Giant screenwriter Tim McCanlies,  Superman and Monsterverse artist Kerry Gammill, Twilight actress Ali Faulkner, Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, and professional cosplayer Krystle Starr.

After the event, Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson will be hosting a screening of The Iron Giant in honor of their one-year anniversary here in Dallas.

See you all Saturday!