Digital media workshops, military simulators, outdoor laser tag and more at Otronicon


Friday-Monday, Jan. 18-21 – 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. 407-514-2000 $20-$27

With the lingering national conversation on the negative effects of video games on violent minds – courtesy of deflecting National Rifle Association vice president Wayne LaPierre and his public relations hot potato – it’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 Hospital’s “Medical Sim City”) and, well, war (hello, Lockheed Martin military simulators; also, outdoor laser tag!). But don’t get too distracted. The idea is to celebrate locally produced blips, as most of the stuff you’ll encounter at Otronicon has its roots in the Orlando area. Even the aliens! – Billy Manes