Rob Hunt

Gamers set to occupy Pearkes for GottaCon 2012

Saanich’s marathon gaming convention building momentum among hobbyists; events run night and day throughout the weekend.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for gamers, that is.

Victoria’s broad spectrum gaming convention, GottaCon, returns for the fourth year to Pearkes Recreation Centre from Feb. 3-5.

From the time the convention kicks off at 5 p.m., Friday, through to 7 p.m., Sunday, Pearkes fieldhouse will host a non-stop, all-day-and-all-night extravaganza of video, board, trading card, role-playing, and miniature games.

In other words, GottaCon is about all hobby-based games, not just one or two, said co-organizer Evan Hatch.

“A lot of people don’t understand what hobby-based gaming is,” Hatch said. “(It’s games) people play as their hobbies that are mostly entrenched in science fiction and fantasy, as well as some real-life situations. There’s no gambling.”

Gamers can check out an improvised Dungeons and Dragons session, celebrity minute-to-win-it match, one of the largest tabletop miniature-based events in the country, an expanded 50- to 80-person Local Area Network party and fantasy costume contest.

A series of guest speakers is also on the itinerary, headlined by the cast and crew of Vancouver-based fantasy/comedy web series Standard Action – a project led by former Saanichites Joanna Gaskell and Rob Hunt.

“Standard Action really prides itself on getting out there in the community and gaming with people,” said Gaskell, writer, producer and actor in the series. “It’s really nostalgic for me and (series director Hunt) because we love to go back. It’s where we grew up and where we were inspired.”

The duo, who received $13,000 in fan donations to produce their next season, will likely discuss achieving high production values on a very low budget, said Hunt, who admitted he may sport a Lord of the Rings costume to the event.

Local comedy group LoadingReadyRun, creators of the Desert Bus for Hope fundraiser, are also among the speakers.

In 2011 GottaCon saw close to 1,100 attendees. Hatch hopes to draw 1,300 to 1,500 visitors to the fieldhouse – a venue that suits the size and nature of the event, he said, noting the on-site concession.

Hatch, an expert in Magic: The Gathering, and his co-organizer and fellow lover of gaming Carson Upton, would like to one day participate in events, though that might not happen if the convention keeps growing, he said.


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