In-Con 2016: A Diverse and Family Oriented Gaming Convention
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend In-Con in Courtney BC. It was such a different variety of convention, as it combined almost every convention I have ever been too all wrapped up into one exhausting weekend. While there wasn’t too many panels, I did entertain my group (OMG three of us went up together from Victoria) with what the convention offered. Thanks to Undiscovered Photography, I went to the convention as Media, and attended some amazing events including the Cosplay Contest, Walk – Offs and a ‘Pokemon Go’ panel.
And of course, I managed to get some great interviews.
North Pacific Cosplay – Julie and Kari
Each of the members in North Pacific Cosplay have 10+ years cosplaying in their portfolio. Julie’s first was a closet cosplay, where she just grabbed clothing she already owned that matched a character. While she attended Sakura-con, only one person recognized her. and because she was basically ignored, she decided she needed to “up her game”. Kari’s first cosplay was in a kimono, and she put it on the wrong way. People would come up to her and tell her she was “dead”. It was embarrassing, but thankfully the attendees showed her how to fix it. The ability to evolve as a creator is wonderful as things take less time, and you find new crafting elements to challenge you. Julie and Kari like working with fabrics the most. Dresses and skirts are a continual huge favourite as they were overjoyed to share the entertainment of just having a bunch of fabric all hemmed together and after forever, you have a dress that looks way over complicated, but wasn’t. Vinyl is hard, because if you don’t sew it right, you’re making a whole new piece. You can make vinyl smaller, but not larger. Even though they have been sewing for a long time, they still use older sewing machines, and Julie is borrowing a machine currently. She doesn’t own her own. They were very excited to be asked to prepare the Cosplay Contest. I also noticed as the convention continued, that they had a different cosplay every day. In fact, they have a huge list of cosplays to create for all the conventions they are going to. Like 20+ Cosplays. Good luck sewing all those!
Keiran was radiant in her cosplay on stage. It’s no surprise she won with all the work put into it. It’s composed of a 33-piece dress in three layers with satin, a layer called liquid metal fabric (a dance ware stretch), and chiffon where all the colours were hand dyed. The wig is two wigs sewn together and weighs roughly 10lbs. The braids are attached by fishing line to the wristbands so she could pose the wig to portray the movement the Harvest Goddess possesses. The wings on both her back and hair tie are organza and a spider-weave like fabric. Never has she entered a costume contest before, because generally you have to be in your cosplay for more than 4 hours. That monstrosity would be annoying after hour 4 for me too if not for the movement issues but the weight as well! Now that she knows how cosplay contest are run, she will probably enter a different dress into other contests in the future as she is currently designing one to wear to Emerald City Comicon next year. As many cosplayers are, Keiran has always been a little insecure in her outfits because she’s always worried about her craftsmanship. Today however, she won a $100 gift certificate to Island Sewing and Embroidery, and $50 from Mythril Wigs. I would say that should boost her confidence!
Shawn Main – Senior Game Designer – Wizards of the Coast/Magic: The Gathering
Shawn is a Senior Game Designer from Seattle, Washington. He’s been employed by Wizards of the Coast for 5 years working on Magic: The Gathering, leading the Magic: Origin set recently. He was invited to come up to Courtney to provide a panel about the game and his experiences as a designer. Playing Magic before the company hired him, he has a deep love for the game saying it’s an “expression and experience, bringing people together”. For his role with the company, he works on the mechanics and continually updated rules, on how to make trading cards translate different cultures into the game, and also on card design and layout as well. He strongly suggests to any artists and designers to know their gaming fields really well in multiple platforms to bring different outlooks onto the game you want to apply for. For those that want to do what he does, you need to be part of the community. Most companies pay attention to people who do well in tournaments. Finally, with a huge smile on his face, Shawn wanted to stress how much he loves that In-Con is focused on the whole family, including activities for all ages.
Mel Li – Cosplayer and Creative Designer for Wizards of the Coast/Magic: The Gathering
Mel is a very exciting individual. Beginning designing her own costumes before she started writing for Wizards, she was very excited to be able to continue her cosplaying adventures with a new audience. However as strange as it first sounds, she doesn’t like cosplaying characters from her companies work! She’s afraid people will complain that she didn’t do the characters right. To be fair, that is a reasonable fear as she does WORK for the company designing these characters. So instead, she generally just creates gender bends focusing on the shape and not the outfit itself while continually finding it trying to design a naked chest male character into a female gender bend for obvious reasons. Sometimes its better to match a silhouette instead of character design. Terrified of working with fabric because it moves, she generally chooses characters with lots of armour, loving vinyl for its stiffness. Her newest creation toy, is her new 3D printer she purchased last year and has been playing with it lately to figure out new ways to enhance her outfits. It’s fun, because you can give your patterns and vice versa with other people as well. She insists worbla is easiest for creating curves in armour but foam is generally cheaper. However, if you want a piece that will last forever, use worbla. She loved cosplaying because its all nerdy people who get to perform for a while and get to be with people of the same culture and have fun instead of being embarrassed in all the weird things you do to your body to look like a drawing!
Near Buds Vendor– Luke Mackay
Luke is an inventor who created magnetic clips to attach to headphones. They can attach behind the neck, to your clothing or cosplay, as well as a great many uses at home such as you can stick them to anything metallic so they don’t get lost. These are the first product, and they are for IPhone headphones. However, there are a few other types that they are useable for. I have Sony ear buds, and while they don’t snap on, they are small enough to fit around the wires while not detaching, so it definitely works! For any magnetic heath issues it says in the customer handbook that you should never wear magnets with a pacemaker or heart condition attachment. These magnetic clips also do not affect your credit card or your phone. Universal adaptable Near Buds are being invented as we speak, and should be available sometime before Christmas. The current models are available for $9.99US.
YANA is a organization that helps financially with struggling families with sick kids. One of the mom’s I met has a little boy that must be driven up to see a doctor very often in Nanaimo. And with them living in Victoria, and sometimes having to stay overnight in a Hotel saw them having huge financial struggles. Because of the continued financial aide her family receives, she was so very elated to come to In-Con to represent the organization. Being asked to come to In-Con, Dave finds himself portraying a role model and bright hope to young families in his Dark Night Batman ensemble today. He began his suit making 6-7 years ago. All he wanted in the beginning was a bad ass Halloween costume. He did phenomenal work transforming a motorcycle suit into this Batman cosplay. After his initial suit, he found himself more drawn to the kids than adult events, because they would un-questioning come up to him in awe that they got to meet the “real” Batman. He find himself out every week now doing something in Victoria with his current 5+ Batman outfits. When different charities ask him to attend their events he hardly ever finds himself declining to make an appearance. His family thinks he’s nuts, but his wife is so very proud of him and all Dave does for the children of Victoria, and where ever else charities will lead him.
Super Sam – Hearthstone
Sam started playing Hearthstone in 2013. When WoW introduced the trading card game, a bunch of his friends told him it had similar mechanics to Magic: The Gathering. Because he really enjoyed the trading card game, he found himself enthralled by Hearthstone with his inherent competitive streak. The statistics behind the game drew him in with the added random factor. In grade 11 dropped out of high school, because he became top 100 in the world for Hearthstone and began paying the bills on the pro-circuit coaching others and training every day, sometimes up to 16 hour days. If he were to continue his education for the future, he would go back to school for statistics and advanced algebra since this game has different scenarios like a 1/16000 vs a 1/15000 chance, and then deciding on the better option. That choice could be the difference between a win or lose. That’s how he became one of the top in the world players, He was really excited for In-Con, because they have a great LAN available and he also participates in the Select//Start Improve group performing later that day. He plans on attending Mosaic-Con as well as Blizz-Con later this year to play in the world championships. In the far future he hopes to be part of research and development for Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone. His final farewell was for everyone to always follow their passion. He worked and continues to put the time and effort into being a professional player even when people doubt him. If you are willing to put in the time, there is nothing you can’t do.
Because this is an improve group, I hope you all enjoy the podcast from these lovely men and women. Their minds and hearts are in their performances, and it truly comes out in the way they speak about their art.
Batarang Kisses – Sydney
As a special guest, Sydney was one of the judges for the Cosplay Contest. She has been cosplaying for 4 years, mostly portraying different anime characters. Before, she designed dresses with her aunt who did wedding gowns, and also contributed to artwork and illustrations. Because of this previous training, she can create her own patterns not using premade designs. Looking at a picture and almost instantly she knows what materials to use, and what patterns to construct just knowing how different material works together. For her first cosplaying convention, Tsukino-Con, she went with only one costume that she hand sewn herself. Seeing that everyone else attending had more costume, she went to a fabric store later that evening and hot glued an entire costume for the next day. As hilarious as it sounds, that costume ended up on the cover of Cosplay.net and began her cosplaying fandom. But to her all she saw was the flaws and it bothered her a lot. Going to conventions to meet other cosplayers, she cosplays to meet with people that have similar interests. Spandex, when you have the right needle, is her favourite material to work with. According to Sydney, most people that complain about spandex are using the wrong needle. She hates working with cheap wigs. When she was younger and beginning to cosplay, she was actually quite chubby. As she joined cheerleading, she lost weight to the slender figure she is now, but even still she sees things wrong with her body. She believes in plus-sized cosplayers and knows a few who do beautiful work. It’s the size of your heart, not the size of your waistline that counts, no one at a convention will care. You go gurl!
With love ~
Sammi ~ Infinite Colour Photos