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Friday, October 1, 2010

Video gamers lay SIEGE to Atlanta this weekend

Just a month after the all-out geekfest known as Dragon*Con, another convention aimed at a stereotypically nerd-driven subculture comes to town. But while Dragon*Con encompasses pretty much every facet of comics, fantasy, sci-fi and beyond, the Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (SIEGE) focuses specifically on perhaps the geekiest (but also one of the most lucrative) industries within that scene: video gaming.

Video games have come a long way since the days of arcades and Atari. SIEGE features guests and events from virtually every aspect of the gaming world, past and present, the most notable of which is keynote speaker Nolan Bushnell, who pressed the power button on the gaming industry as founder of the Atari Corporation (as well as Chuck E. Cheese) and creator of Pong.

The rest of SIEGE’s guest list is a who’s who of gaming (not including Mario, Master Chief or Lara Croft), with panels ranging from fun and games to politics and technology. Richard Taylor, vice president of the Electronic Software Association, will lead a discussion on the politics behind the gaming industry with Georgia state Reps. Chuck Martin and Allen Peake. Locals such as Tripwire VP Alan Wilson, Games That Work President Dov Jacobson, and Andrew Greenberg, whose resume includes developing White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade and computer games such as Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and Warhammer 40K: Final Liberation, will discuss the more technical aspects of gaming technology.

While naked chicks and video games don’t often go hand in hand (despite the wishes of avid gamers everywhere), one local designer that will be in attendance has recently achieved a high score of sorts. Ian Bogost, a Georgia Tech associate professor and founding partner of Persuasive Games, was recognized by an unlikely source when Playboy magazine named him one of the 20 most innovative professors in America.

Aside from dozens of guests speaking on panels of numerous topics, there will also be plenty of actual gaming, culminating in Saturday night’s SIEGE Warz competition, with $2,000 in cash prizes on the line. And for those who dare put their controllers down, there will be dozens of hands-on seminars and demonstrations, social networking events, suite parties with the guests, and vendors offering gaming wares and collectibles.

Oct. 1-3
Crown Plaza Hotel Atlanta-Perimeter NW
6345 Powers Ferry Road N.W., Atlanta.

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