Game & Art Bazaar
Holy Smash Brothers, nostalgia hits you in the face as soon as you walk into the door of this unassuming business park warehouse in Chantilly VA. Loaded with every type of folk video game lore from the birth of gaming until the recent past, eStarland is a store for gamers, pure and simple. Somehow, on March 5th when they hosted the gamerXchange Game & Art Bazaar, eStarland managed to level up their paraphernalia to even higher heights. Art is not something the average person might associate with the gaming community, but I found myself blown away. Vendors came out to sell fan art and old games. Nintendo-themed artist drawings with a twist hung pre-framed, signed and ready. Beaded renderings of characters, logos, and insignias prepped with magnet backing were propped up for viewing. Micro drawings on buttons demonstrated what dedication to your art truly is. There was so much to see, along with anime scene paintings, large flag posters and Gundam models lining the aisles.
Aside from the artwork, the warehouse itself is stocked 14 feet high with systems, games, joysticks and accessories. Also present is a projector allowing for intense head-to-head competition. It was a wild scene - I swear I heard a suburban kid yell "ya moms" loud enough for the actual guy's mom, standing behind him, to hear. Edgy.... But the entire day felt like good natured fun and I began to see the passion and imagination it takes to be a member of this world. I even almost bought a set of dragon balls for the 12-year-old me. What I did come away with however, was inspiration. Well, that and the aforementioned rare Super Smash Brothers for gamecube. You'll find me mind numbingly hitting the A or B button until the next gameXchange.