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Mini-con brings gaming and cosplay culture to students

People fantasize about superpowers and being a hero all the time. While students may not have these powers themselves, the club Girls Who Game recently held a mini-con to honor fantasy fandoms and fans alike. Participants could help be a hero by donating money for Girls Who Code and Heroes for Hope. With panels and games everywhere, participants had many ways to get involved during the convention.

The event offered a wide array of activities for participants to enjoy. Along with GWG, two other gaming clubs, the League of Legends club and the Smash Bros. at WSU Vancouver club were present at the event. The Smash Bros. club provided TVs and consoles to play the video games “Super Smash Bros. Melee” and “Smash IV.” Koug Radio provided gaming themed music to set the mood. Additionally, attendees could participate in tarot reading, tabletop gaming, a raffle and a playlist of videos playing in the Firstenburg Student Commons pool room.

Cosplay was a major part of the event. “It is a great and safe way to meet people and share your passions,” said Shyanna Reyes, a staff member at the Student Resource Center. For curious attendees, the mini-con held a presentation on the art of cosplaying as well as a cosplay contest.

Presenters showed a Buzzfeed video called “This is Why I Cosplay,” which helped to explain the activity. According to the video, cosplay is “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game, especially one from the Japanese genre of manga and anime.”

The panel also discussed the where, the why and the how of cosplaying. Appropriate places to cosplay are meetups and conventions. Reasons for cosplaying vary from person to person. Some common reasons are to socialize, to express oneself and to escape from reality.

The panel discussed in detail how to cosplay. The presenters gave tips on how to choose a character by sticking to a budget, recognizing time constraints and making sure to plan ahead. Cosplaying takes a lot of prep work and money. It also requires cosplayers to know useful resources. Presenters at the panel provided information on dozens of resources for components and inspiration such as Joanne’s, Michaels, Scrap in Portland, dollar stores, fellow cosplayers, local conventions and YouTube.

The Cosplay presentation Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

The Cosplay presentation
Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

After the cosplay panel, there was a live broadcasting of a new radio show on Koug Radio called “We’re All Nerds Here.” The show airs on Koug Radio on Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. At the con, the DJs discussed inclusivity in the nerd community. The panel discussed the natural inclusivity of nerd culture and how people find a safe space within the nerd community. They also illustrated the difference between nerd culture and the media portrayal of nerds. According to the panelists, nerd culture is a positive experience whereas the media tends to portray nerds as argumentative, violent people.

The DJs of DzWe’re All Nerds Heredz host a panel at the convention. Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

The DJs of “We’re All Nerds Here” host a panel at the convention.
Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

The last panel discussed video games and video game culture, followed by a raffle giving away prizes from Star Wars merchandise to tabletop games to Marvel plush toys. GWG also provided food and drinks for participants to snack on during the event. “I got a chance to be with friends, others and process everything while just enjoying being nerdy,” said Kai Pisarek, a student at the event.

GWG was founded in April and the mini-con was the club’s first major event on campus. The event helped GWG raise $120 for Girls Who Code, a national non-profit dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology based jobs as well as Heroes for Hope, a charity that raises money for pediatric cancer research.

Girls Who Game meets every Wednesday in the Firstenburg Student Commons, room 104. Anyone interested can attend the club meetings. GWG also plans to hold a gaming event in April in recognition of International Tabletop Day.

The DJs of "We’re All Nerds Here" host a panel at the convention. Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

The DJs of “We’re All Nerds Here” host a panel at the convention. Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

Cosplayers show off their creations in the cosplay contest. Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

Cosplayers show off their creations in the cosplay contest.
Photo credit: Madeleine Brookman and Mathew Lyons

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