Comparing Apples to Oranges: Games Without Frontiers 2.0 & LANtasy 2016



Saturday was still young and I went to the Pearkes Centre because I had the craving to sample the nom noms from Taco Revolution (a food truck from Duncan). I had reservations about spending the money for a weekend visitor’s pass to this show since a few passes were announced last minute as available. The at-the-door price felt too steep. I knew I’d mostly be walking around the venue which only used half the space, and maybe have a board game I wanted to try out. If Sandy Peterson’s Cthulhu Wars was listed on their website for the RPG/Board Game/CCG Area, then I’d be here all day playing that in a heartbeat! Only the familiar, like Settlers of Catan, were offered. Knowing this space would be focussed on the electronic and miniatures, the ratio is not quite even.

The organizers (from left to right): Jeff Pedlow, Jake Stevenson, Rowan Townshend, Mike Weicker and Ivan (last name withheld upon request).

I knew the event was sold out and its inaugural run would be much like GottaCon 2008, but yet the crowds looked about 50 heads shy of fire-code capacity in the half of the arena used for this event on a Saturday. The attendance on Sunday was probably at half capacity. All the main tournaments came and went, and in what remained was a very casual atmosphere. All the usual sponsors and groups that participate in this type of show were there, like ViaTEC, Gigabyte, Kingston, HyperX. Local clubs like VicLUG, Victoria C64 User’s Group and Medieval Chaos (a Live-Action RPG group) were present. There were a few tables selling product, but that was not what this show was about.


I’m hoping next year’s LANtasy will offer panels to educate the public about the appeal of gaming. I liked seeing the presence of two table-top arcade cabinets to allow the baby boomer, Gen X’ers and Y’ers to play the classics like Metal Slug.

The C64 group reported about two youths who came back to try the machines their parents used to play with, and for LEGO enthusiasts, they were running their own version of miniature battles with minifigs. The quest is to defeat the king of the castle. An opportunity exists to engage in player versus player conflict, but unless alliances are made, to defeat the dragon hordes is nearly impossible. I appreciated the fact that this game encourages cooperative gameplay.

On the electronic front, the hardcore video gamers will engage in the competition level tournaments. I could not tell if there were any stations to allow newbies to try out League of Legends or Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Overhanging or visible signage is really needed to show where board game demos are offered (if there was any). I made at least three laps looking for something to try out, and only returned to settle in with my VicLUG pals to play their game.


After talking to Jeff, he reported a capacity crowd of 500 people on Saturday. It will grow to more since they will have the entire space in use next year. Maybe then, they might have a Nintendo Zone. Yes, I’m fully aware how impossible it is to get major companies to appear in small scale events, but I can dream! Even in an unofficial capacity, it’d be nice to have an area for those type of gamers can meet. I was there with my 3DS to search for Pokémon trainers to have virtual battles and Zelda Tri-Force heroes to engage in co-operative missions.

Although I did not partake on Saturday, I hoped that I was close enough to get some 3DS street tags to help me finish some Mii Plaza Images and peek inside while feasting on tacos. Sadly, I overheard an agent in ticket sales dissuade two young ladies from buying a ticket to check out the show. They knew nothing about this culture and was just as uncertain as I was on whether to buy a pass or not. Otherwise, the people who show up will be the same ol’ group. For industry observers like me, I want chances to discover what’s new in the world of entertainment (be it technology, paranormal, cinema or animation) instead of just sitting down to play it.

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Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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