By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Pearkes Recreation Center
3100 Tillicum Rd
March 18-19, 2017
To attend LANtasy 2017 or not to get my game geek on is debatable. At home, I have my three game consoles and a huge collection of Chaosium and GURPs role playing books. I like the idea of playing games with folks with similar tastes as mine. But in what I’m discovering post- Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) is whether or not smaller events can live up to what I enjoy from the bigger shows. Here, I can seek out those rare bits of merchandise, chat with players about those lost games, namely Nephilim, or try tabletop card demos.
I like to browse and wander through a huge hall of exhibitors (I kept on wandering back to Steve Jackson Games at ECCC to view their merchandise) and talk to companies to learn about what’s coming for the “industry” the convention is representing. This Seattle-based show has a floor dedicated to all things gaming, feels more welcoming (the staff here are really helpful and nicer if I had to start making comparisons) and is spaced out. That is, rooms exist to locate games in (controlling noise levels is always important) than to stuff it all into one huge basketball court.
A few local video game developers, namely Codename Entertainment and Piranha Games, are attending and supposedly, they are giving a panel somewhere in the Pearkes Recreation Center. But I can not find further information in where panels are located. It’s not clearly defined when there’s no online map to consult.
The organizers are fantastic to address two of my concerns in my past article from last year. If I go, I just have to show up early and find out at the door. This is a minor inconvenience, and that’s okay. An improvement from their last show is a new ‘section’ offering arcade games (not retro or the cabinets but new stuff like Dive Kick) and Nintendo’s Mario to play all day long (that’s the assumption). Some of the free play have set times to have elimination based tournaments, and see this event open for anyone to play than to pre-register is encouraging.
This year, there’s no cap at the door and I don’t have to worry about whatever I decide to do for the weekend. My nickname is well earned, as I am at times a whirlwind of random actions. I was very saddened to find Games without Frontiers is not part of the University of Victoria’s IDEAfest 2017 and hope it will come back. My tastes in what to do at these shows are very specific and my interest can wane or be piqued based on what’s listed on the event’s website. These days, I want to know more about Virtual Reality gaming.
At this show, there are two products to potentially satisfy the supernatural nerd in me. I might try Savage Worlds RPG (published 2013) and Ghostbusters the Board Game (released in 2015). While to play both will take up perhaps 4-5 hours in total, LANtasy offers very little in my realm of niche entertainment to keep me there for longer or to decide to return for the next day.
Yes, I still play Pokémon GO, and I had to ask around to learn a lure party will take place. The Van Isle Pokemon Go Syndicate will also be helping run an Ingress event. Sadly, no contest will be taking place for best / heaviest catch during the event (like in what ECCC’s gaming floor kept running tabs on) and Cthulhu is not listed anywhere in all the games offered this year. Instead of offering to GM (run) a game which requires planning months in advance, I just want to a player.
LANtasy may well be missing a beat with all the Virtual Reality hype in gaming going on. I recall one developer having a demonstration with the Oculus last year, so I’m curious if they will be back with better games to try (or movies to view). And the game centre VicVR opened not too long ago so people can play in room-scale environments. I had the opportunity to try some of the games out at the 2017 Victoria Film Festival and I’m curious if they will be at this weekend’s event.
VR Gaming is being talked about lots, and I’m one of those gamers still on the fence of investing into a proper setup. Events like this need to get folks excited for the coming thing in games than to rely on the same old standbys, otherwise why bother going?
In this update (Sun, March 18 – 1:00am), I’m glad VicVR was present and I talked to the operators. They will be bringing the Playstation VR to their arcade and have a really good selection of games and simulators to play, including a “game” where you are an astronaut, operating the Canada ARM on the space shuttle that’s docked with the International Space Station! I’m impressed and look forward to spending a lot of my money at this newest arcade in town.
Unless you are registered at a game to play, it’s easy to get bored after an hour or two, but after an excellent and fun evening role-playing with Steve Saunders (owner and operator of the Vorpal Gnome store located near Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown) as he moderated an original adventure The Imelikazi of Wratsanies set in the original Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Universe, I will be interested in continuing to check out this event as it hits year three and beyond. My ultimate question about this LANtasy is whether or not they will stay simple, by being an event put on by gamer enthusiasts for gamers — that’s the feel I got from finally deciding to attend — or make it publically accessible so Joe Blow can come in to learn more about this subculture? A few elements are missing, but I did like the fact most of the local clubs and conventions had booths to talk about what they represent for those who did come by.