Monday 2 September 2013

Wizards, Manga and Role Play at Cambridge’s CamCon 2013

Manga, cartoons, role-play and lots of fancy dress, how could I resist! I heard about CamCon 2013 when Sue Dougan of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire was interviewing Ziggy aka Sonic, the head organiser of Camcon’s event. Arriving at about 10:30, Saturday morning, the queue was already snaking across the square in front of The Junction with the patient but eager set of visitors.

You can see my video impressions below or by visiting the link

The dealer’s room was already bustling with crowds of visitors around the tables and displays. Hat makers, comic book sellers, fancy dress costumes and artists displayed their skills and wares. Pikachus, heroes - both male and female - and the occasional Doctor Who in his various incarnations mingled amongst the more conventionally dressed population.

The Maids of England, the epitome of cute in Japanese, were first on the stage in Junction 2, dancing away to Maids’ tunes that will have been played in tens of thousands of Japanese Maids cafes. Later they would be providing a full Maids’ service to hungry and thirsty CamCon visitors in the upstairs cafe.

They were followed by a range of special interest panels, from the world of Manga via indie web comics to Doctor Who. The first floor gallery had been turned into a variety of gaming events where the aficionados and a novices could try out their hands on the latest games and equipment.

But for me, as a novice to a convention like this, the most enjoyable things were the costumes and the role-play game.

People didn’t just dress up, they also immersed themselves in their roles and characters. So one moment I could find myself interviewing Pikachu and her abductor Japan, and the next moment I was talking to Esmeralda from the hunchback of Notre Dame.

Dungeons and Dragons had up to now simply been meaningless words to me. Seeing a role-play of the game, conducted with humour and audience participation, not only gave me an insight into the fun can be had but also had me chuckling along.

Above all, it was the friendly, open atmosphere and the buzz that surrounded this second CamCom convention in Cambridge. Next time round, I’ll also make time to visit some of the films. Perhaps I might also pluck up the courage to go as a character myself.

If you couldn’t make it to CamCon 2013, then keep a lookout for next year and book your tickets early as they sell out like hotcakes!

Chris Thomas,