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February 8, 2014

'Computer geeks' offer haven for gamers

By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star

---- — As a genre, fantasy games offer many possibilities with modern technology for the computer gamer, while the board and card gamers have worlds of games to explore.

What was limited to Dungeons and Dragons 30 years ago, has expanded to include worlds of aliens and space travel, apocalyptic creatures, fantastic elves and goblins as well as historic occurrences. Board games such as Dead Zone, Dead Man’s Hand, War Hammer and Bolt Action appeal to gamers on several different levels.

“These games, they kept me out of trouble when I was growing up,” said Keith Gray, co-owner of The I.T. Guy and Technoir. “Being a computer geek is not such a bad thing anymore. I mean, being a nerd is kind of fun.”

The I.T. Guy and Technoir is located at 112 Main St. The store specializes in all things gaming, from card collecting to specialized computers made especially for gaming. There are nightly board games and collectible card swaps.

“We do a midnight madness with a drafting of the ‘Magic the Gathering, Born of the Gods’ where people can come in right at the release of the new cards,” said Nate Roberts, co-owner of The I.T. Guy and Technoir.

Saturday and Sunday the store will feature a released sealed event for Magic the Gathering Born of the Gods.

“It is like baseball cards,” Roberts said. “Some cards are rare and worth a lot, but it really depends on the game. Some cards will launch high, and then tank. You don’t know what you will get. But there was this World of Warcraft card that sold for $1,000. And some games, like Magic the Gathering, (have their) own currency.”

Roberts and Gray play many of the games that are sold at their store. They have tables set up to accommodate game night. Some of the tables have a space theme with Star Trek ships facing off, while others tables have medieval castles, moats and bridges.

“Me and Nate are really fond of the Star Trek game.” Gray said. “You get into it, you buy your figures and then you paint them and mount them. The scenery is really important too. You need a big table to play these big boy games.”

Roberts has recently acquired a new set for a Wild West game called Dead Man’s Hand. He is building a western town and will paint his metal outlaws game pieces to reflect his idea of a Wild West gang of thieves. While Gray has decided to invest in lawmen, which he will paint and mount to suit his tastes.

“It really is about the collecting too,” Roberts said. “You get your pieces, and then you paint them and mount them like you want to. They become very personal to you.”

Another game that has been recently introduced is Bolt Action, a historically correct World War II fantasy game with soldiers from around the western hemisphere. The accessories for that game include historically accurate buildings, bridges and landmarks.

Another aspect of The I.T. Guy and Technoir is the technology aspect. Roberts said he can make custom gaming computers, both desktops and laptops. In addition, they offer computer services such as cleaning, antivirus and updates.

“Alienware was the best manufacturer of gaming computers, but it is really expensive too,” Roberts said. “I can build a custom rig, gaming machine that can handle all the games.”