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Gam3rCon: An Alternative Choice To Comic-Con?

Geek Theater, Retro Gaming, And Space To Breath

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando looks at what Gam3rCon offers as alternative to Comic-Con. July 16, 2013.

If you are not one of the 130,000 lucky enough to get into Comic-Con, then you might want to check out Gam3rCon. Now in its fourth year, this alternate con is designed specifically for gamers and still has tickets.

Gam3rCon grew out of what its founders said was a desire to bring "theater to geeks and geeks to theater."

In the play "Gamers," a character brags about a new strategy that involves attacking his opponents while most people are at work or at school. That's the kind of humor that Brian Bielawski and Water Meyer endowed their play with. They wanted to stage "Gamers" at Comic-Con but there wasn't really a place for live theater at the pop culture convention. That’s where 10th Avenue Theater stepped in.

"We had a chance to borrow the 10th Avenue Theater," said Walter Meyer, "Jeff Cotta who owns it, Brian had met him, and said my theater is sitting empty why don’t you do it here."

That was four years ago and Gam3rCon not only served up geek theater but also four floors of gaming activity and art. Meyer co-founded the event along with Bielawski.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Last year's first floor at Gam3rCon.

"So on the first floor you can find the video game arena," Bielawski said, "which is 28 consoles and 4 PCs, so that we can play in tournaments and can also play against other people at the convention. Moving up from there, they’d find our Table Top Lounge, which has got role playing games, board games, card games, moving up from there they’ll find the geek theater, which is obviously what brought us to Gam3rCon. Moving up from there we move into the gaming art exhibit. Then moving up from there to the roof where we are with this beautiful view of San Diego, we have events every night ranging from live music to comedians. Retrocade which is all the classic video game systems of old, everything from Atari up through Nintendo, original Nintendo through the last Nintendo to come out."

Gam3rCon prides itself on being small, intimate, and still with breathing space. It runs simultaneous to Comic-Con, July 18 through 21. A week-long pass is $50 with the gaming rooms open from 2pm to 2am at the Tenth Avenue Theater.

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