It's been said before, but it bears repeating: Geek is chic.
Nerds come in all shapes and sizes. Young and old, male and female. Some of us are also into sports while others wouldn't be able to hit the broad side of a barn with a baseball. Some of us are way into cosplay (dressing up as favorite characters, even when it's not Halloween) while others are most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt. Some of us prefer science fiction, some prefer fantasy.
But we all need places to get our geek on. Here's a list of upcoming Dallas-Fort Worth events where you can meet like-minded people and nerd out over whatever your passion is.
Video games are great, but there's something about the physicality of pinball that will never grow old. The Texas Pinball Festival features more than 400 machines -- some classic, some new -- that you can play to your heart's content. It can be a great place to meet collectors or even pick up a table if you're into pinball as a major hobby, but it's also a blast for casual fans and newcomers.
March 24-26 at the Embassy Suites Frisco. Tickets start at $10 for kids and $25 for adults. texaspinball.com.
Fan Expo Dallas is always big (some might say too much so) in large part because of their ability to attract big name stars that people want to see. The upcoming show will feature a Rocky Horror Picture Show reunion (with Tim Curry, Meat Loaf and others), Star Wars' Mark Hamill, Arrow's John Barrowman and comic book legend Stan Lee in what they say will be his final Texas appearance. Other than meeting the big stars, attendees can enjoy a very large expo hall and a variety of pop culture panels.
March 31 from 4-9 p.m., April 1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p .m., April 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St., Dallas. Single-day passes from $25-$55, three-day passes from $89-$95, family single-day passes (two adults and up to 4 children ages 6-12) from $49-$85. fanexpodallas.com.
While the Scarborough Renaissance Festival isn't explicitly a "geek event," there's a lot of crossover with this one. After all, it's where I got my ocarina that's fashioned after the one featured in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It's a great place to get medieval by watching a joust, eating a turkey leg, learning about chain mail and much more. Whether you care about actual history or are just a huge Game of Thrones fan, there's likely something here for you.
April 8-May 29 on the fest's grounds in Waxahachie. One-day tickets $28 for adults, $13 for kids 5-12, free for kids 4 and younger. srfestival.com.
This timey wimey convention is all about everybody's favorite Time Lord. Celebrating the sci-fi sensation that is Doctor Who with fellow fans is fun enough on its own, but throw in appearances the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) and Strax (Dan Starkey) and you have yourself a party worth busting out the TARDIS for.
May 5-7 at the Westin DFW Airport Hotel. $60 for adults (ages 13+), $30 for kids (ages 7-12) and $1 for "kids in tow" (ages 0-6). whofestdfw.org.
For the horror geeks out there, Texas Frightmare Weekend celebrates creepy pop culture both past and present. Among this year's guests are three of the kids from Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas).
May 5-7 at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport, 2334 N. International Parkway, D/FW Airport. Day passes from $25-$43.95, weekend passes $60-$78.95. texasfrightmareweekend.com.
While it primarily celebrates anime and other aspects of Japanese pop culture, A-Kon also features a 24-hour gaming ballroom (in the Fort Worth Omni hotel). Plenty of recognizable voice actors are on the guest list, including Matthew Mercer, Christopher Sabat and J. Michael Tatum. If you're more into music, there will be concerts by Heavygrinder and Pentagon Japan.
June 8-11 at the Fort Worth Convention Center, 1201 Houston St., Fort Worth. 4-day passes are $75 for adults, $20 for children (ages 6-12). Ages 5 and under get in free. a-kon.com.
There are no details yet about this year's guests, events or even ticket prices, but last year's event (the show's sophomore year) drew a crowd of 2,400 video game fans for tournaments, panels, cosplaying and more.
Aug. 5-6 at the Irving Convention Center, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving. letsplaygamingexpo.com.
Hey, do you like anime and manga? Do you want to celebrate Japanese pop culture for up to four days with fellow fans and special guests? There's a convention for that, and AnimeFest has been going strong since its founding in 1992.
Aug. 17-20 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 N. Olive St., Dallas. $50-$60 adults, $15 kids ages 8-12, free for kids 7 and younger. animefest.org.
The biggest draw of QuakeCon is always the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) area, where thousands of attendees camp out with their PC gaming rigs and have a giant, days-long party playing games like Overwatch, Rocket League and, of course, Quake. But if you're not that hardcore, the free admission to QuakeCon's show floor gets you access to play some unreleased games, see some panels and presentations and watch some exciting tournaments. This year, Quake Champions will likely be the game everybody is talking about.
Note that while the event has spent the past several years at the Hilton Anatole, this year's QuakeCon is at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. Hopefully the venue change makes parking less of a nightmare.
Aug. 24-27 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine. Free, but the BYOC event is $50-$400. quakecon.org.
If you're into retro video games, Retropalooza was built with you in mind. Panels and tournaments haven't been announced yet, but a variety of YouTube stars will be making appearances, including Boogie2988 (often known by his angry alter ego Francis), Andre "Black Nerd" Meadows and Pat "The NES Punk" Contri.
Oct. 7-8 at the Arlington Convention Center, 1200 Ballpark Way, Arlington. Day passes $10-$15, weekend passes, $20, free for kids 12 and younger. retropalooza.com.
Guest announcements for Fan Days won't start trickling out until its big brother, Fan Expo Dallas, wraps up. While it's a smaller affair (and tends to be significantly more cramped, given the smaller venue), Fan Days is typically a good way to keep the fun Fan Expo vibes going as the end of the year approaches. Whether or not you want to spend the money to go may depend on what celebrity guests they secure, but staples like the cosplay contest and the expo floor can be pretty safe bets.
Oct. 20-22 at the Irving Convention Center, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving. Ticket information to be released this summer. dallasfandays.com.
CORRECTION, March 21: An earlier version of this story misspelled A-Kon guest Christopher Sabat's name.