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In 2014, five friends from metro Atlanta who collected old arcade games decided to show off their cabinets to fellow vintage-gaming enthusiasts. Five years later, the Southern Fried Gaming Expo has become a three-day affair, drawing more than 3,000 attendees and hundreds of pinball-machine and arcade cabinets.
Atlanta will soon have its own Overwatch League team, making it the first eSports team to represent the city. With a projected $1 billion revenue in 2019, eSports is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and Atlanta is poised to become the Southeast's hub.
MomoCon started 14 years ago as a tiny event at Georgia Tech. Now the convention draws more than 30,000 attendees and is aimed at a younger audience more focused on anime and video games than its mammoth sister convention, Dragon Con.
Welcome to the SoaR house, the improbable headquarters of one of the largest eSports organizations in the world. Its seven residents earn their livings by playing multiplayer video games like Call of Duty and Fortnite for millions of YouTube and Twitch followers from around the world. The video-game industry has blossomed in metro Atlanta thanks to a sizable talent pool, entertainment tax credits, and Fortune 500 corporations eager to connect with young consumers.
Walking into the theater for the best-of-five grand finals between Team Enemy and Team Epsilon, I felt I’d stumbled upon something like The Hunger Games: the palpable bloodlust of the crowd beating noisemakers, the cheery British announcer, the underwriting of the powerful, and the practiced brutality of the players.
As the rain started pouring down on Peachtree Street, the entrants in Saturday’s Dragon Con Cosplay Contest prepared to strut across the stage while a sold-out house of fans, many soggy from waiting outside, filed into a Hyatt convention room to watch.
If memories of He-Man on Saturday mornings, Marvel’s absurd comic storylines, or Starcraft matches on dial-up internet strike a chord with you, listen up. Armed with console games, nerd-trivia, board games, and arcade machines, these five restaurants are perfect for embracing your inner (or outer) nerd.