Simon’s GamePlay tour at Grapevine Mills taps into gaming fever

Posted Monday, Oct. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Grapevine Mills hosted a two-day event last weekend to give gamers a sneak peek of the hottest new video games, compete in challenges and win prizes.

The idea behind GamePlay — which takes place at Simon Property Group properties around the country and runs through November — is to connect fans to the hottest video games before they are officially launched and available in stores.

Inside Grapevine Mills, hundreds of players smashed buttons while focusing intently on colorful screens.

Noah Snelson, 12, of Lewisville, was among the enthusiastic crowd on Saturday.

“It’s really fun,” the seventh-grader said.

Snelson, whose career aspirations include video game designer and professional baseball player, said his success as a gamer is based on being “fast on the fingers and playing a whole bunch.”

His mother, Deirdre Snelson, said her son outplays all his friends.

“He’s a video game savant,” she said.

Henry Betances watched proudly as his sons Joshua, 6, and Henry Jr., 9, took advantage of the free event.

But the Arlington father said he doesn’t let video games rule the household.

“I only allow them to play a couple hours on weekends and maybe on one weekday if they behave real good,” he said

Joshua enjoys car racing games, fueled by his interest in becoming a race car driver.

“They’re cool and I like to drive fast,” he said.

Brother Henry likes all games, saying, “They’re super awesome.”

Last year, more than 900,000 gamers across the country participated in SimonGamePlay. SimonGamePlay, powered by Coke Zero, is taking place at 27 Simon properties.

The tour included 10 gaming pods with a variety of products from leaders in the video gaming industry.

The Star-Telegram asked GameStop, a Grapevine-based videogame retailer, about the latest trends in the gaming industry.

S-T: This holiday season, many gamers are going to unwrap a PlayStation 4 and/or an Xbox One, according to some predictions. Do you expect this to set any records?

GameStop: This will be the biggest console launch in history. Demand has been very strong with our pre-order allocations selling out quickly and having more than 1.5 million customers on our PS4 First to Know List and 750,000 on our Xbox One First to List. These are lists customers have joined to let us know they want to be the first to know all news and updates about those systems. They see that the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 signify the biggest generational shift in console technology and will transform the entertainment experience as we know it.

S-T: At the SimonGamePlay event at Grapevine Mills mall last weekend, they exhibited new games, etc. Do you think launches like this are successful?

GameStop: Launches like this are a great success as it allows gamers to gather, try out the new upcoming product and share knowledge with industry professionals and fans alike. It is also a great place for non-gamers to learn about games that may fit their interests, as well as expanding knowledge for parents to find what games are appropriate for their children. We saw this first-hand recently, when we held our second annual GameStop EXPO in Las Vegas in August. We had more than 5,000 attendees to the event, double the number of attendees last year, and for most it was their first opportunity to get hands-on experience with the new consoles and some of the hottest games out this year.

Although lots of families chanced across the GamePlay event while shopping, a group of diehard gamers were there to check out the latest offerings.

Leroy Capasso, 34, of The Colony, said he has been playing video games since he was “a baby and my dad picked me up to play Pac-Man.”

“We grew up in that time,” he said. “If you were a kid, that’s what you were doing.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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