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Mace & Crown | February 20, 2018

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PixelFest 2017 Expectations From a 2016 Attendee

Daija Marrow
Contributing Writer

PixelFest made its debut last year in the City of Norfolk with over 4,000 attendees. The convention is a free, three-day, family-friendly event held in the Slover Library. There are six floors of video game inspired activities in a location convenient for locals, especially ODU, NSU and TCC students hoping to find something interesting to do with friends during the second weekend in April. There is something fun for people of all ages and last year’s success will only guarantee more promise for the upcoming festivities.

A notable aspect of the festival is its attention to local Hampton Roads talent. An entire floor is dedicated to showcasing titles created by local video game developers. The attendees are allowed to hear about their development process and even play them. On the website you can get a table of your own whether you’re a business or an aspiring developer. Publishers and small businesses frequent the tables, searching for what could be the next big thing. PixelFest just may be your big break. There are also bigger businesses who partner with PixelFest, like Gamestop who provides old school arcade games for guests to enjoy.

Guests of different tastes and talents are able to enjoy the different competitions.The Smash Brothers Brawl tournament was the most popular last year, and this year it will end in prizes. A new event has been added this year: the cosplay competition where contestants dress up as video game inspired characters and will be judged on their design and originality.

Dev Con, a convention within a convention, is a higher-level meeting for professional developers to attend which will be held on the sixth floor. A part of this will be the Game Jam where a team of video game developers work for a set number of hours to create a video game using the Unreal Engine. When the time has expired, judges will rate the game and choose a winner. The reward hasn’t been announced yet. If you are not savvy in the field of creating games, free art design and tech classes are held for those curious in learning those skills. If children are too young to grasp those concepts, there is also a Minecraft class designed to help the younger generation.

This event exists to satisfy its guests. It’s conveniently located in Downtown Norfolk where there are plenty of places to eat and hangout in the general vicinity. The competitions and atmosphere open the doors for making new friends and relieving stress from a long week. Most importantly, this convention is free and with its growing popularity it might not be for much longer, so jump on this opportunity while you can.