Convention Attracts Gamers of All Experience Levels

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The two-day gaming convention Ark-Con 2013 is held this weekend (March 23-24) at the Holiday Inn in Springdale.

There are board games, video games, a battle ship simulator, and even arcade games divided into different rooms full of activities and vendors.

“The goal of this is for everyone to get together, find people in the community that you may not know about, share similar interests and have fun,” said Glenn Whitman, general manager of the convention.

There's something for gamers of any experience level and age group.

“We decided to try to create something that enough was going on that you could walk in it at any time, find a game that you would like and get exposed to additional games,” Whitman said.

Game enthusiasts take the controller and transport to an imaginary world where it's good versus evil.

Brad Tucker was playing the game Artemis with a team of five and listening to him was like listening to a foreign language.

“The whole concept of it, everybody having to work together just perfectly in order to pull this off,” said Brad Tucker, from Bentonville. “It’s really neat.”

'It’s been full of awesome experiences,” Tucker said.

Some compare the convention to a sub-culture. Participants said that once you start playing, you get hooked on the game.

"If you are any kind of gamer whether it be table top or video games or anything. It`s definitely worth it to hit a Con up," Tucker said." You are missing out otherwise.”

It's a family-friendly environment bringing out the young at heart in adults. There's everything from old school arcade games to the latest in video games.

“It’s a chance to play games that you haven`t played if you don`t own consoles. We brought all of our consoles," said Hunter Wentz, vendor. "We have PlayStation 2, 3, XBOX, we have computers set up over there."

The internet allows gamers to play without any personal interaction and Whitman said that sometimes allows kids to be more offensive, which is why he hopes conventions like this will teach gaming etiquette.

"Start kids off with competitive, where everyone is working together and kind of go up there," Whitman said. "I believe face to face interaction is extremely important."

Whitman said he's working to establish the organization "Gamers Building Safe Communities" with a group of people. It's a foundation that plans to teach children social and problem-solving skills through games.