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Photo courtesy of Aviator Sports
Photo courtesy of Aviator Sports
The first Aviator's Retro Gaming Tournament & Expo is coming to Brooklyn.

Retro gaming is coming back to Brooklyn in a big way.

On Saturday February, 17 Aviator Sports and Events Center, 3159 Flatbush Avenue, will be hosting its first annual Retro Gaming Tournament & Expo.

Retro gaming events and expos have become widely popular throughout the country; however, very few have been hosted in the borough, one exception being last year’s Brooklyn Geek Fest, hosted by Bay Ridge video game store Gotham City Games.

This expo is aiming to be the biggest ever in the borough, thanks to the 175,000-square-foot space, a variety of exhibitors, an area for buying and trading games, panel discussions, auctions and more.

Group Sales Executive at Aviator Sports and Events Center Daniel Almodovar is excited to bring the event to the space.

“I think retro gaming is huge,” he said. “It’s something that a lot of people are into. To really get it all in one place, I think it’s a great opportunity to host an event like this.”

Thus far, feedback for the first event has already been positive and the organizers have also been listening to suggestions.

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“We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback. On our Facebook event page, we just made a post asking what people were going to bring and we got a lot of good feedback,” he added. “People are bringing games, autographed pictures, comics, old consoles. There’s going to be a podcast that reached out to us doing a live podcast.”

Author, assistant director of the journalism program and full time lecturer of English at Kingsborough Community College, Patrick Hickey Jr. is hosting a panel focusing on his new book, The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers (Studies in Gaming) as well as an another on an indie video game he’s working on.

“To be a part of something this large in Brooklyn is special to me for a variety of reasons,” Hickey said. “To discuss my first book and my first foray into the video game industry as a story editor and voice actor, in two separate panels, is like a dream. The Brooklyn video game community is a hungry one and I’m ready to help feed their need for information and fun.”

One of the highlights of the full day will be the tournament component, as attendees battle it out in various popular competitive games in exchange for prizes.

“Because Aviator is a sports complex, we went with retro sports games, so we’re going to be having classic games like ‘NHL 94,’  ‘NBA Jam’ and ‘WWF No Mercy’ and we just added ‘Super Smash Brothers Melee,’” he said.  “The tournament is going to be sponsored by different vendors. I know Gotham City Games is going to be hosting one of the tournaments as well. Different tournaments will have different prizes with vendors. It could be tickets to Geek Fest. Also, Long Island Retro Gaming Expo is giving away tickets to their expo. There’s a lots up for grabs.”

If you’re not the competitive type and just want to check out all the rare items and shop, that’s available for attendees as well. In the gym area, there will be a buy, sell and trade section where there will be comics, older games and modern stuff.

“We are working with a company that is setting up a silent auction,” said Almodovar. “There will be a mix of sports memorabilia like Stan Lee-signed merchandise. They’re going to have a Star Wars piece so there’s going to be something for everyone.  We have different sections. One section with free play will be like a basement, with a couch and TV set up. We are going to have the podcast in another corner.”

Cosplay will also be a part of the day, so make sure to dress as your favorite comic and/or video game characters.

What makes vintage gaming so popular? “I think a large reason for it is accessibility,” replied Almodovar. “Nintendo just released its remastered console. It’s more accessible to younger kids playing those games. There’s always a market for it. When kids get older, they become the retro gamers and play the games they played when they were kids.”

The Aviator Retro Gaming Tournament & Expo will be held on Saturday, February 17 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $10, $5 for children 12 and under. To participate in the tournament (including expo admission), the cost is $20.

For more information, visit Tinyurl.com/AviatorRetroTournamentExpo.

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