Nerds, geeks and everyone in between flocked to the inaugural HYPECON on Saturday to find out what this new event had to offer.

As guests walked into the former Sears space in Central Mall, art vendors were the first attractions. Among those vendors was artist Brett Mitchell of Kilgore, Texas.

“I work 35 conventions a year while also working a full-time job at a small business,” Mitchell said while proudly displaying original artwork made by him, his daughter Julia Strout and Marvel Comics artist Sam Delarosa. “I really do this for fun.”

A step or two away was Ricky Ortiz, who traveled from Dallas to sell video games and video game memorabilia. Retro Nintendo 64 games such as “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” were nestled next to a Playstation 2 and “Dragon Ball Z” figurines.

Guests could also grab a bite to eat at booths by eateries such as Slim Chickens and On the Border if they did not want to miss the action.

HYPECON would not be complete without plenty of cosplayers. Pegasus from anime “Yu-Gi-Oh!” could be seen socializing with Negan from “The Walking Dead.”

Booths also showcased many professional cosplayers such as the 2 Nerds in Love and Courtney Cosplay, sporting her very professional, handmade outfit of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” fan favorite Seto Kaiba while leading a panel on the popular anime and card game.

Across the hall from Courtney’s panel was a table where attendees could meet and take a picture with “Yu Yu Hakusho” and “Dragon Ball Z” voice actor Justin Cook and the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Steve Cardenas.

Families’ faces lit up as they took in all the event had to offer.

“I am so glad they are having this event,” said Rob Wells, who came to the convention with his children. “This is way more exciting for them (his children) because they actually believe the characters are real.”

The acitivities that seemed to attract the most attention were the video game tournaments. Gamers clamored to television screens with controllers and gamepads in hand for a chance to best each other in fighting games such as “Super Smash Bros.” and “Dragon Ball FighterZ.”

“I have been setting up tournaments like this for years,” HYPECON organizer Jesse Darby-Tillis II said. “I am really surprised by the amount of people participating.”

From fans in carefully crafted anime costumes to die-hard gamers locked in virtual combat, this convention is sure to make its mark in the community.

The event continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.



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