Gamers gather for weekend of the year

GottaCon gaming conference set for Pearkes Recreation Centre this weekend

  • Jan. 29, 2013 3:00 p.m.

GottaCon Conventions partner Evan Hatch

Let the gamers begin.

A legion of enthusiasts are set to storm the world of GottaCon where gamers rule with an iron fist, or a sword, or a magic spell for that matter, almost anything their gaming hearts desire.

“There isn’t anything like it in Victoria,” gamer Adam Ouellet. “If you think of the word game, it is there… You essentially get flooded with all these things and learn new hobbies “

The broad-spectrum gaming convention at Pearkes Arena features everything from miniature games, Lego, role-playing games and board games to video games and card games such as Magic: The Gathering, a favorite of aficionados, including Ouellet, who plans to spend most of, if not all of the weekend immersing himself in the 24-hour-a-day event.

“I literally brought my toothbrush, cleaned up in the bathroom and was there the entire time,” he said of past GottaCon experiences. “I don’t plan on leaving. I come prepared.”

Counting sheep gives way to counting cards, as he looks forward to competing in MTG tournaments, and spending time with like-minded gamers in an environment where nothing else matters, at least for 50 hours straight.

“We always get people who come in and do not sleep and stay the entire time. People like the ability to come and play late,” said event co-founder Evan Hatch. “Hard-core gamers are (usually) night owls. When they are done they are complete zombies.”

Hatch, a gamer himself, says he is creating an event that he would enjoy attending as an enthusiast, and that is a big reason why he says fans flock to the event year after year.

“Every detail is important to us because we are convention fans and we know what it means,” the Saanich resident said.

“The benefit to the individual who attends is the excitement of spending an entire weekend doing their hobby and doing it with existing friends and reuniting with people from previous years. it is an annual getaway.”

Their growth is proof, with gamers from as young as four all the way up to more than 65 years old, flock to the event from across the Island and even from the Mainland. Positive word-of-mouth has helped the promotion grow from drawing 600 people in 2009 to an expected 1,800 gamers in 2013, all of which Ouellet experienced first hand.

“The truth of the matter is there is so many products and diversity you will find your scene or find something that interests you,” he said. “The diversity will never leave you alienated.”

Whether you bring your computer to hook up to the 120 person LAN set up for gamers to duel on Startcraft 2, compete in costume contests, listen to the guest speakers, take in the debut of a live-action fantasy web series which debuts at GottaCon, or even purchase real hand-linked chain mail armor, Ouellet says there is something for every gamer.

“If you are afraid ‘oh is this my scene’, the truth of the matter is there is so many products and diversity you will find your scene,” he said. “If you are looking to expand your interest and your interest is games I guarantee you this is the place.”

GottaCon runs 24 hours a day starting Friday (Feb. 1) at 5 p.m. to Sunday (Feb. 3) at 7 p.m. in Pearkes Recreation Centre. Day passes are available from $20 to $28 with three day weekend passes starting at $50.


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