Righ now it’s high time to be a gamer. In the last few years the YouTube gaming community has gone mental. I remember the times when playing games was just a pastime hobby (and quite a hush-hush passion) and I used to get stuck in games on different levels that I just couldn’t pass …
That was the time I discovered YouTube channels dedicated to game-play videos and solving puzzles. Fast forward a few years and now one sees people with dedicated gaming channels, streaming the games they play on Twitch, recording video games walk-throughs and earning considerable amounts of money out of that.
The gaming community exploded when people in game development started eSports. There where Dota, Counter Strike, World of Tanks and League of Legends tournaments and all of a sudden the IT giants started to notice the trends and communities gathered around video games, hence started pumping money in eSports events.
At first it was Dreamhack, then Comic Con got into the mix, and next thing one sees is audiences pouring in through the door.
The first weekend of May saw Bucharest becoming the base of operations for Eastern European Comic Con, and I got to see it as it happened. Believe me when I tell you that at EECC gathered a diverse crowd, with people ranging from 8/10 year old children to 30-40 year old adults.
Romanians love geeky events. It’s because EECC has a history of just a few years behind (the “being new” feeling isn’t over yet) and because people (mostly kids and teens, but also young and not so young adults) love to see their favorite actors in flesh & blood and to have the chance to play the latest games on gaming stations that they can’t afford (for now at least).
But as we all know it, at gaming/movie conventions, marketing it’s at its best. Everyone wants to sell you something, to promote products in front of thousands of people and to get people to spend money on what they offer. And Eastern European Comic Con wasn’t going to let that hype and marketing die down. Still, since a sizable part of the audience present consisted of young people, first one had to convince their parents to spend money. And how do you do that?
That’s right! Keep the kids entertained, make adults feel like they’re remembering they’re children all over again and give everyone something to keep them busy.
As it was my second coming to Comic Con this year, I didn’t go there for the Celebrity panels and TV shows. No, sir! I went to Comic Con because I wanted to dedicate one weekend in 2017 only to entertainment. So I went window shopping right from the get go, because most things you could buy from Comic Con were located near the main hall’s entrance.
There were stands where you could buy comic books (DC, Marvel and of course Romanian Folklore comics), stands with different hand made objects and so on. I glanced a bit at the shield of Captain America made of painted glass, I was amazed on how much people are willing to pay for fur toys, I went overly enthusiastic for the Red Goblin stand (where I poked my nose on some DC universe comics) and I was disappointed on the presence of some of the TV networks at this convention.
And then there were the IT giants. With all they’re magical and full of gaming rigs booths. Where people could visit and play their favorite video games. And not just play, but attend skillfully crafted tournaments for Heartstone, Heroes of The Storm, Counter Strike, FIFA or NBA. And trust me when I tell you that these events are by far the most popular at a geeks convention. Not only because you play something you like and you have fun, but you also can win some pretty hefty prizes.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Cosplay. Cosplay really took a turn from the better, when the organizers let people get creative. And offer something in return. This year I saw Mortal Kombat characters, CS Go soldiers, and lots of Harley Quinn’s and Jokers. And one thing that I missed and never thought people would do, is to dress up as the Pope, from the Young Pope TV series.
What I thought about EECC? Well, as my second outing there, I was no n00b but I really enjoyed it far better than the first time. I had so much fun that at the end of each day my feet were killing me. Like…a lot. And I got to relieve my childhood year by playing Unreal Tournament a lot. And Airplanes hunt on a combo made up of a tablet and some paper sheets. Making the switch from analog drawing to digital. And it was amazing.
In the end I’ve got only one thing to say: If you have a Comic Con or a gaming convention somewhere near you, just go there and have fun.