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And so here’s the real reason JUEGOS RANCHEROS is coming together now: several weeks back we were approached by none less than the Alamo Drafthouse (aka basically the best movie theater in the entire world) to host a new monthly event at their spin-off lounge The Highball. The event would be a year-round continuation of Fantastic Arcade — the games festival they debuted last year alongside their renowned Fantastic Fest film festival. Obviously we agreed, and so, we kick this whole thing off at The Highball this Sunday, May 1st, from 4-6:30pm.

For our first event, we’ll be bringing in Twisted Pixel’s upcoming Xbox 360/Kinect game THE GUNSTRINGER. If you haven’t yet seen it, GUNSTRINGER is an un-dead, old-west puppet-theater shooter (a combination of words which should be enough to get you excited), and is not just Austin-grown, but Austin-proud. Apart from that reference to Torchy’s Tacos you weren’t sure if you just correctly heard, Twisted Pixel have also — in a brilliant fourth-wall-shattering self-referential twist — put Austinite fans in the game as the audience that watches and reacts to your puppet performance. You’ll get to see that in action this Sunday: the first public playable demo of the game since March.

Aside from GUNSTRINGER, we’ll also have a lot of other local game developers & demos on hand, not least Bob Sabiston of Flat Black Films — creator of the animation software that powered both WAKING LIFE & A SCANNER DARKLY — showing off his just-released downloadable Nintendo DS animation software package INCHWORM, and there just might be some unreleased, upcoming Nintendo 3DS* games making the rounds as well…?

So let’s see how this all goes down: Sunday, May 1st, 4-6:30PM at The Highball, 1142 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704! Come hang out, enjoy the Highball’s Happy Hour drink specials, and celebrate the people taking games in directions you never thought possible. On Facebook? RSVP by clicking here (and invite your friends!) so we can get an idea of how many people to expect!

[*PS: if you’ve already got a 3DS: bring it! We’re all more or less starved for some StreetPasses!]