As a longtime fan of comics, genre fiction, sci-fi, Star Trek and Star Wars, I’ve always loved geeking out with other fans. We live in a golden age of geek culture, with every kind of fantasy epic, space opera and superhero film you can imagine getting released every year; video games are surging in popularity, and an aging group of video game fans is reconnecting with their nostalgic 8-bit roots, making the old new again.
New York City is a great place to live if you’re a geek, with its seemingly bottomless treasure-trove of events to fill fanboys’ and -girls’ calendars. Brooklyn, you would think, would have several fan conventions for local pop-culture gurus. But no. And, sure, New York Comic Con is huge, but for many that’s a demerit. An intimate group of true fans is always preferable, even if the selection is diminished. Enter Ralph Pugliese. He’s the owner of Bay Ridge’s popular Gotham City Games (503 84th Street), and he’s not only bringing a geek convention to Brooklyn—he’s also bringing it right here to Bay Ridge! I chatted with Ralph about his Geek Fest and how it came about.
What inspired you to start this Convention?
I have been going to conventions up and down the East Coast for three-plus years, including New York Comic Con. Brooklyn hasn’t had a convention like this ever, and I hope to be able to continue doing it once or twice a year. They are the best part—and most fun part—of running my business, and I wanted too bring an awesome event to my neighborhood.
Why do you think there hasn’t been something like this in Brooklyn before?
There hasn’t been many events like this in not only Bay Ridge but also all of Brooklyn. It’s a lot of work to get something like this going, and not many venues in the area can support an event this size, because space is definitely tighter here in NYC. My staff and I have been to 20+ conventions over the last few years, which greatly helped us realize what needs to be done to have a great event.
Is Bay Ridge a hotbed of geekdom?
Geekdom in general continues to grow every year and is now very mainstream in all media outlets. Big Bang Theory and Marvel Movies are a few examples that really grew geek culture in the last few years.
How will you tie retro gaming, comics and cosplay all together at your fest?
Video games, comics and cosplay all go together. The same characters appear in both comics and games; most people at the show will be dressed up as video game characters, if I had to guess. The focus of the event is more geared towards gaming and tournaments, but several people will be selling games at this event.
There are some raffles and costume prizes?
Cosplay prize for best dressed is a $100 gift card to Gotham City Games. In addition, many vendors will be donating items to be given away in free-to-enter contests, as well as many video game tournaments going on with awesome prizes. We will be posting more giveaways on our event and social media page. A lot of people will be going home happy.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. They’re available at gothamcitygaming.com and in-store at Gotham City Games. The event is 10am-6pm. Purchase of a ticket gets you entered into any tournaments or giveaways you want.