01/30/06 — Wayne Community College students planning gaming expo

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Wayne Community College students planning gaming expo

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 30, 2006 1:48 PM

Hundreds of video-game enthusiasts are expected to flood the atrium at Wayne Community College on Saturday when a video gaming exposition will be held.

The Phi Beta Lambda business fraternity is sponsoring the event, which will feature not only the chance to participate in tournaments but to learn how to create video games as well.

The Goldsboro Gaming Expo will start at 1 p.m. and feature free-play arcades, exhibits, speakers and door prizes.

Tickets are $5 if ordered ahead from the group's Web site, www.g2expo.com, or $7 at the door.

All attendees must bring identification or parent verification of age. Everyone entering will be marked according to their age and the ESRB game rating in which they fall so that younger people will not have access to more mature games.

The tournaments will include best-selling games, such as Halo 2, Marvel vs. Capcom, Dance Dance Revolution and Dead or Alive 4 for the Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and Gamecube. Also, just in time for Super Bowl XL, Madden 2006 tournaments will be held throughout the day. Organizers said other games can be requested.

The free-play arcades will feature Alien vs. Predator, Alpine Surfer, Tekken 3, Contra and many others.

Michael Everett, the fraternity's lead adviser, said the event isn't just about play.

Attendees can learn about all of the elements that make a great game, he said. Whether that includes the technology that makes a game or the story that keeps a gamer glued to the television screen, Everett said there will be something for everyone at Saturday's exposition.

There will be exhibits aimed at female gamers, he said.

Nearly half of PC gamers and console gamers are women, Everett said. The group has arranged for Ismini Boinodiris Roby, chief editor and co-founder of WomenGamers.com, to participate in a panel question and answer session.

Ms. Roby will be joined by Graham Rhodes, chief scientist for Applied Research Associates, Inc. Beginning his career by coding games for the original Atari system, he now develops 3-D graphics for military and homeland defense simulation and training.

Another member of the question-and answer-session will be Mike Dickheiser, who worked as a game programmer, beginning with flight simulation development and finishing his career with the Ghost Recon team of Red Storm Entertainment.

Rafael Chandler, a story designer for Ubisoft, has also worked on Ghost Recon games, such as the latest in the series, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. Chandler has also written for other Electronic Arts titles like Ghost Recon 2, Rainbow Six: Lockdown and Air Warrior III. Everett said Chandler will discuss the future of narratives in next generation games.

To create a game, many companies rely on multimedia producers and developers to put the nuts and bolts of a game together. Heather Maxwell Chamber's speech will discuss the process of game development. Ms. Chambers has helped produce more than 30 games for Ubisoft, Activision, New Line Cinema and Electronic Arts.

For a game to become popular it has to have a marketing strategy. Dana Cowley, marketing and communications manager for Octagon Entertainment, will discuss marketing strategies for the next generation of games.

The expo's keynote speaker will be Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Cary-based Virtual Heroes Inc.

Heneghan has worked as an executive producer for the America's Army game, and in his talk he will examine the more serious games available and their effect on the gaming market.

Everett said sponsors have made the event possible. "This has been a group effort and we have been getting support from a lot of different places," he said.

Sponsors include EB Games, GameStop, NCisp.com, WomenGamers.com, Bawls energy drink, ITSS Inc., LagLessLan.com and Memories in Motion. If any other local companies would to participate in the event, Everett said sponsorship applications are available through the expo's Web site. Phi Beta Lambda is also accepting contributions from gamers through the Web site.