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.
Two electronic gaming-centric events were held in Victoria, BC on the same weekend on March 12, and that can make for some hard decisions for people wondering which one of the two is the show to attend. Fortunately, Games Without Frontiers (GWoF) at University of Victoria’s IdeaFest has no relation to Peter Gabriel‘s song, otherwise there might have been some conflict. Instead, I had to make a tough call. The one on campus was closer to get to and it had an educational appeal that tickled my fancy. LANtasy at Pearkes Recreation Centre was further away and it had a communal appeal. Ultimately, I managed to hit both. Each had a specific audience they wanted to reach out to and it is not fair to say which is better. It’s easier to reveal what each 2016 event offered.
Games Without Frontiers
GWoF’s goal is to look at what gaming encompasses from an academic point of view. The panels I attended were informational and afterwards, I could talk to the guest speakers about their work.
Here, I saw youths having fun playing MineCraft. LANtasy saw some children appearing, but there was little they could play. Sure, there were two arcade consoles, but those games were of the violent variety. From what I heard, they took to the Victoria LEGO User’s Group (VicLUG) and Commodore 64 Enthusiasts of Greater Victoria for their entertainment quicker than the roll of a die.
In what I witnessed at UVic is a simple show. Attendance numbered roughly 250 during the time I was there after lunch. I explored MacLauren Building’s A and D wings, looking for where the fun was at. As GWoF grows (this is their second year), so will their numbers. I like this event for the reason it brings local video game companies, artists, professors, grad students, undergrads and youths together to look at where technology is going in both the video game, artistic and virtual world. Together, they make up what we as consumers enjoy in a game product.
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