Examining Gottacon’s Growth

Gottacon has become Vancouver Island’s destination for all things gaming-related. This year marks its fifth. Taking a cue from a six-sided die, their logo stands for equal emphasis on trading card games, role-playing, board, video, minis and panels. But is it?

On-site, attendees may see more videogame and trading card tournaments going on. But on the sidelines are Warhammer miniature battle recreations worthy of the battles wrought within the land of Mordor. But one does not simply walk into this convention without knowing what to expect.

First timers and curiosity seekers can find free-to-try events to participate in. But it’s best to make the most of the entire day here than just one afternoon. Seasoned videogamers will find plenty of tournaments like HALO 4. Call of Duty and Starcraft to engage in (at a fee) all weekend long, and each of them by itself can take up half the day. At the very back of the venue, a variety of consoles, from the classic NES to XBox360 were available for anyone to play old or current games. A Wii U might have been somewhere, but that was hard to tell in the darkened section of the arena. Gottacon is not about exhibiting new products; it is about bringing people together and building communities.

Sadly, with panels happening at the same time, even a former guest speaker from years ago noted the difficulties in what an attendant should do—can enough people leave a slotted event to go to a presentation about the History of Dungeons and Dragons?

Also strangely out of place is the small Role Playing Games corner. In a gaming convention, people are more often here to play games than to listen to people speaking. Sometimes listening is difficult, especially for those hearing-impaired gamers. When the venue is technically an arena, the metal will act like more of a sound reflector than absorber.

While not many reporters have attended these shows catering to pop culture, this experienced individual thinks there are still a few bugs to deal with. Behind the scenes, a lot of work was spent to make sure the shows are successful, but sometimes a few shortcomings often get ignored. Searching for a way to dampen the sound or maybe moving a few parts of the show away from one centralized space will be required.

Maybe the event listing should be slimmed down so all the items tabled get decent filling. What can be nice is to have a fair-sized allotment of tickets and number of open seats in slotted events for people deciding to go to Gottacon last minute.

This event does not compete with the Victoria Film Festival that occurs at the same time. Gottacon 2012 had a little cross marketing with the BC premiere of Lloyd the Conquer, a comedy about Live Action Role Playing, but how many gamers decided to leave the cozy space just to make a 10 minute trip downtown for the film showing, and return? Each event caters to a specific niche, and to convince Renaissance men or women to focus on one item for a day rarely happens.

People hoping for educational games for young ones to play with are limited to stirring the imagination courtesy of the Victoria LEGO User’s Group. People growing up with this product may well find careers in engineering or artistic endeavors. With other gaming products, mathematicians and strategists may emerge. As for what Gottacon can become as a regular fixture in the Pacific Northwest will depend on the planning.

November ’13 update: Gottacon has announced a change in venue, moving from the Pearkes Recreation Center to the Victoria Conference Center, which will accommodate an expansion of what it can show. With the support of local video game producers and Victoria, British Columbia Mayor Dean Fortin, the spotlight will most certainly be on the companies to highlight their latest wares.


Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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