Expo celebrates classic video games

Allison Harris

Twelve local artisans sold hats, clocks, magnets, jewelry and sculptures based on video games such as Pokémon, Super Mario Brothers and PAC-MAN at an exhibition attended by more than 100 people Friday night.

The exhibition was part of a series of events Game Over Videogames hosted this weekend to promote the store’s specialty in selling classic video games. The store also showed the documentary “Reformat the Planet,” which is about chip music created from old video game hardware. Other events included days devoted to Pokémon and Street Fighter.

Game Over Video Videogames has hosted classic video game festivals for four years, said owner David Kaelin. In addition to promoting the store, Kaelin said the events provide opportunities for the local gaming community.

“A lot of the newer games you play online with people, but you don’t really play sitting right next to that person anymore,” he said. “So it just gives people a chance to come together and just have a good time.”

Kaelin said the festival has been expanded this year beyond Austin to locations in San Antonio, Sunset Valley and Round Rock. Although the Austin and San Antonio stores sell local artists’ work, this year marks the first time the company featured an art show.

Erin Klarer, the owner of EEK! Creations, sold magnets, rearview mirror hangers, potted plants and canvases based on characters from games including Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, Zelda and Final Fantasy. The art was made with small pieces of plastic fused together to resemble pixilated characters. Klarer said she enjoys making art that is fun and inexpensive and has a broad appeal.

“I’d like to be able to make fun art at affordable prices that people can hang in their house and smile,” she said. “I get tired of going to art galleries and seeing pretentious art that costs like a million dollars.”

Christopher Locke, the owner of heartlessmachine.com, sold concrete replicas of video game controllers. The sculptures were part of a series he has been doing on old technology including “fossils” of cassette tapes and old phones. He said he hopes his series provokes thought about consumerism and the rapid pace of technological change.

“I’m just trying to get people to think about it,” he said. “Think about ‘Why did we need Super Nintendo? Wasn’t Nintendo good enough?’”

Melissa Lopez, a 3-D modeling and animation sophomore at Austin Community College, said she enjoyed seeing people of all ages bonding over video games.

“I really like to see younger kids coming in with their older gamer parent and them kind of showing them the games they always played,” she said.