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R P G A M E R . C O M   -   E D I T O R I A L S

Anime, Cosplay, and Gaming: What Does the Convention Scene Mean?
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Shawn Cooper
STAFF EDITORIALIST



When I sat down to write this weekend's editorial, I thought about writing on conventions. After all, Troy, Michigan is hosting Youmacon just five minutes away from my home on 2-4 November. As that anticipated date is now just a fortnight away, the spectre of the convention looming just over the temporal horizon is one which fills my friends with an excitement not to be described in mere words. To adequately convey their feelings requires sweeping movements of the arms, possible bodily contact, and even, potentially, a grope. Safely out of the reach of my friends on this Saturday, I can think of nothing better to write about than the convention.

Originally, I thought of entitling this editorial, "What the Convention Scene Means to Me," but those words gave me pause. You see, I have only ever been to one convention--Youmacon, just last year--so it is hard for me to say what it means to me. However, I have no doubt that many of RPGamer's readers have seen a convention or two in their day. If you have, be sure to use the link to the forums to comment about it, maybe with a story or two about your convention experiences. I would love to hear them, and no doubt, they will help me with my own writing about Youmacon. My editorial for the week of the convention is going to focus on just how gaming is integrated into the convention, what sort of audience it is targetted to, and how gamers represent themselves at the venue.

So we return to the point; when you go to a convention, what matters to you? For some people, it is clearly the cosplay. Last year, I had a chance to see two young ladies who ran a panel on costume creation. One of them had created an incredibly accurate (full-size!) visual reproduction of Nightmare's sword from Soul Calibur out of household goods on a shoe-string budget. For others, it is the gaming: my cousin placed second in the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament, only be toppled from that lofty height by a surprisingly well-played Jigglypuff. And for yet others, it is the anime: I saw countless Naruto fans, panels with voice actors from Fullmetal Alchemist, and all-night-long marathons of the great, the good, and the not-so-good.

But why am I going? I'm not entirely sure. Why did you go to your first convention? What was the one thing which was truly the deciding factor? For me, perhaps, it is the chance to spend time with people who have similar interests. In academic circles, referring to Cid would be taken as a reference El Cid of Castile. It is refreshing to have a break from sweater vests and ties in a place where I can talk about video game characters as if they are real people, and no one will think I am mad (at least, not for that reason). Ultimately, I suppose that for me, the convention is about the people who attend it more than any of the events scheduled to take place under its auspices. So, if you find yourself at Youmacon this year, and you see a fellow dressed as a member of the Turks wearing an RPGamer Press Pass, feel free to come over and say hello. Because, in the end, that's why I'm there.




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