By WRAL Tech Wire

DURHAM, N.C. – A new consumer convention is taking shape to unite the most popular pastimes of the American geek.

The Escapist Expo will take the “south by storm” on Sept. 14-16 at the Durham Convention Center and the American Tobacco Campus with events that celebrate gaming, science fiction and fantasy, comics, music and more—everything great in multi-media escapism.

Organized by The Escapist online gaming lifestyle magazine, the event will create a mid-Atlantic conference for fans of video games, tabletop games, science fiction, fantasy, comics, music and more, as well as display the talents of local development companies.

Attendees of all ages will participate in events including a Gears of War 3 tournament and a celebrity emcee from Epic Games, massive DCI-Sanctioned Magic: The Gathering tournaments, huge outdoor laser tag and Nerf wars, competitive HALO and Call of Duty tournaments, and panel discussions with industry leaders and insiders.

Gamer and so-called “geek culture” has become more and more mainstream. The primetime sitcom “Community” dedicated an entire episode to “Dungeons and Dragons,” Method Man has a SOCOM clan, and even President Obama collects comic books.

The Escapist Expo provides a focal point in downtown Durham for the local gamer community to celebrate and share their diverse interests. Additionally, it also reveals RTP as a vital hub in the growing multi-billion dollar videogame market, with more than 40 companies and 1,200 employees working in the industry.

“The Escapist has always been about celebrating the best of video games and other escapist entertainment,” said Alexander Macris, publisher of the magazine. “Now it’s time to take the celebration to the streets of downtown Durham.”

“American Tobacco and Durham are home to some of the coolest companies in the world, and I can guarantee you that gamers are well represented in every one of them,” said Michael Goodmon, vice president at Capitol Broadcasting Company. “As our community and the popularity of our escapist entertainment exports grow, it’s time we had a flagship event that celebrates us as a center of geek culture and all of the great pastimes that come with it.”

Expo organizers include The Escapist, Capital Broadcasting Company, and Global Spectrum.