Digital media workshops, military simulators, outdoor laser tag and more at Otronicon
Friday-Monday, Jan. 18-21 â€“ Otronicon
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday,
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday and Monday
Orlando Science Center
777 E. Princeton St.
With the lingering national conversation on the negative effects of video games on violent minds â€“ courtesy of deflecting National Rifle Association vice president Wayne LaPierre and his public relations hot potato â€“ itâ€™s nice to remember that not all simulated conflicts with points attached are to be reviled. In fact, Orlando celebrates its gaming culture, even hinging a good share of its economic-development overstatement on notions of tech clusters engaging in digital manscaping while hyperspacing hoards of taxable cash in the local economy. Everybody wins! Such is the spirit of Otronicon, an 8-year-old tradition of hands-on simulation stimulation peppered with nostalgia (old video games; the still-here Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit; Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace in 3D!), utility (demonstrations via surgical robots in Florida Hospitalâ€™s â€śMedical Sim Cityâ€ť) and, well, war (hello, Lockheed Martin military simulators; also, outdoor laser tag!). But donâ€™t get too distracted. The idea is to celebrate locally produced blips, as most of the stuff youâ€™ll encounter at Otronicon has its roots in the Orlando area. Even the aliens! â€“ Billy Manes