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Gamers unite! Local stores offer fun for everyone

With smartphones seemingly surgically attached to the hands of anyone under 30 these days, it may be a surprise for some to learn that old-school tabletop gaming is making a comeback.

Yes, one thing millennials may love more than their flashing screens and killing legacy industries is bringing back other industries from the proverbial dead.

Vinyl records, merchandise lunchboxes, and even snail mail are all on the rise as younger generations look for tangible items to hold in their hands as the world around them becomes more uncertain.

Along those lines, retro gaming is making a comeback as well, though some would argue that it never left, it was just in the basement. Although virtual and augmented reality are the wave of the future in the gaming industry, many people are also discovering “Dungeons and Dragons,” “Magic: The Gathering” and newer tabletop games like “Flames of War.”

As evidence of the growing interest in gaming, both tabletop and digital, a trio of stores on Fry Boulevard not only offer a menagerie of entertainment options, but all three host game tournaments as well, with prizes available to the top simulated gladiators.

First is Orbital Games, which offers several weekly tournaments for D&D players, Magic aficionados, War Machine and Hordes commanders and many more.

Saturday, the store will host its “Star Wars” Armada Summer Tournament, featuring a tabletop set in a place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The tourney starts at noon (11 a.m. registration) and costs $5 to enter. All skill levels are welcome. More info is available at Orbital’s Facebook page.

Just down the road is Nerdtopia, which not only offers tabletop games, but many of those other once-forgotten items that are more popular than ever, including a retro arcade. The store often has retro gaming tournaments, such as a “Goldeneye” showdown on the Nintendo 64 or a battle on the gridiron, Tecmo Bowl-style.

This weekend, the store will host all those loyal to their shogun with a Samurai Shodown showdown. Sharpen those virtual swords and head to Nerdtopia on Saturday at 6 p.m. to partake in the battle. Check their Facebook for more info.

And finally, lone wanderers and raiding parties can make their way to Rising Sun Games, which hosts enough weekly tournaments to make an Orc blush.

Several variations of Magic tournaments can be found, so fans of older or newer decks can all get in on the action. Other card game competitions, such as “Final Fantasy” tourneys, are also available. In the past, they have also held standard board game nights and featured other games including “Yu-gi-Oh!” and D&D.

A Magic standard deck tournament will take place Friday night starting at 6:30 p.m., with game packs going to match winners. Entry fee is $6. More details are available on their Facebook page as well.

Anyone who is not well-versed in the aforementioned games, fear not. All three stores are happy to help beginners learn the ropes and become part of the expanding local gaming community. Those not quite ready to dive in are also welcome to spectate.

Games are available for anyone looking for a bit of fun and escape, regardless of age or experience. Many of the World War II-themed games are popular with older generations, while young kids will pick up just about anything their parents or older siblings are interested in.

No matter what your game might be, there’s a spot for you to enjoy it in person, with other humans, in Sierra Vista.

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