Gaming expo encourages competition

Hundreds of gamers attended the Let’s Play Gaming Expo presented at the Irving Convention Center on Aug. 5 and 6. The event combined the excitement of video games, tournament play and cosplay as well as traditional games.

“Once a year, we come together to celebrate all that is gaming,” said Christian Deitering, co-founder and PR coordinator of Let’s Play. “We encourage people to come out and either excel at something they are already good at or find something that they have forgotten and get them in the mindset of playing again, whether it’s a video game, a card game, or a tabletop game. Our whole thing is to play; just play man!”

The event, which sold over 2,000 presale tickets, featured almost every game imaginable from arcade games to Halo, as well as Guitar Hero and Super Smash Brother tournaments.

“This is year three for us,” Deitering said. “The first year it was about 1,200 or so people. Last year it was around 2,400. This year, even my volunteers are having to park pretty far and walk because the parking garage is full.”

The gaming industry generates over $91.5 billion dollars annually.

“Everybody who is around now has most likely been exposed to video games. It’s a part of pop culture,” he said. “They are in movies and not just movies that are based on games like Tomb Raider, Pixels, or Wreck-It Ralph. It’s a celebration of gaming, so I don’t think it’s going away.”

The event also featured non-video games with a variety of board games, four-square tournaments and card games.

“Christian is very passionate about gaming and made sure we had some non-video games shared to relive our childhoods,” volunteer Amy Solis said. “He asked me to do a four-square tournament. It’s a lot of fun. 

“I grew up being a big fan of Tetris, because it is very calming and it helps your problem solving. As far as games like four square, kickball, and twister, I think it’s a lot of fun to play and to have a good time even if you have a very serious life.”

Participants traveled to the event from all over the North Texas area as well as from Arkansas, New Mexico and New Jersey.

“My friend Bryan is competing in one of the smash events, so I am here to cheer him on,” said Robin Shih, an Irving resident. “He’s playing Project M. It’s a big event, but he’s one of the better players here so he’s probably going to make it pretty far. He flew in from New Jersey.

“I think the event is really well organized. It’s not something I usually go to, but I really enjoyed my time here. Every game you could think of is here, I didn’t know they were going to have all of this coming in.”