UCON 2015 Felt Like Few Other Conventions
UCON has become an annual convention held by UCT’s Genshiken society. The society is about all things geek but primarily gaming and anime. This translates directly into what one can expect at UCON and for a student-run event it is a commendable effort.
As a result of being student-run and student-funded there isn’t the commercial feel that other conventions may have but rather a more grassroots feel to UCON. It felt very much like the Neighbourgoods weekend markets frequented by foodies and hipsters.
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Judging by the queue to get in on Saturday alone it’s safe to say that UCON 2015 will exceed the 2000-strong attendance of its predecessor. It’s undoubtedly a growing event but one that perhaps needs a bit more focus and direction.
Things were split across the two main halls of UCT’s sports centre with one being devoted almost entirely to gaming and the other to the folks peddling their wares as well as stage events. In Hall 2 were Zombiegamer and Cape Town Showdown running tournaments as well as a few student groups showing off their games. There was even an Oculus Rift SDK2 to demo which impressed us all though not as much as the media has led us to believe, personally. That’s besides the point though. There was just enough there to keep gamers entertained but an opportunity was perhaps missed to embrace that grassroots feel and have more local devs show off their work. The gaming side felt a tad sparse all things told.
Hall 1 felt like a bustling Tatooine market by comparison with a lot more activity and far too many things tempting the empty wallets of myself and Paul (no, the other Paul). Much like Tatooine it was also hot as a planet scorched by two suns.
Some of the cosplay on show was also incredibly well-done down to a guy who’d made his own Pipboy, a girl who’d crafted a replica Fallout magnum and another who had a massive (and incredibly impressive) scythe. I’m told she was cosplaying Ruby from an anime by the same name which means nothing to me. My anime experience extends no further than Deathnote and Attack on Titan.
The market section of UCON made me wish there was something like this more often especially since there are some incredibly talented people making art, jewelry and clothing that deserve a little love but simply aren’t known.
All in all UCON 2015 was not bad and perhaps with a little more exposure it could grow into something truly special. At present its got a feel that you won’t get at rAge or EGE and Genshiken should make the most of that unique feeling. Kudos to them for putting on a good event.