Starting today, Wednesday July 17th, Gam3rcon, the premier gaming convention that brings gamers and pop-culture fans together, begins with a Preview Night at the 10th Avenue Theatre, featuring a massive rooftop paint party. Video games, tabletop game, comedy, concerts, gaming-themed plays, a Cosplay Lounge and rooftop parties will be featured throughout the week, taking place alongside San Diego Comic-Con. Together, Marketing Manager Lauren Selman and Artistic Director Annalice Heinz are the Girls of Gam3rcon! They discuss creating a convention by gamers for gamers, highlight the upcoming concerts and tournaments, and reveal a little background information of the gamer-themed play, War Games.
Marketing Manager Lauren Selman:
How did Gam3rcon get started?
– “It was started by Brian Bielawski and Walt Meyer, when they wrote a play together called ‘Gam3rs: The Play. The play is about a techie named Steve, who is running the biggest epic battle online in history, but he can’t get away from his day-job cubicle. So, it’s this roaring comedy about how he’s trying to manage that and his work. It’s absolutely hilarious. It’ll be here at Gam3rcon showing three times. They pitched it to Comic-Con, to have it there. Unfortunately, Comic-Con didn’t pick it up. They really wanted to put on this play. They said, ‘Fine, we’ll put it on anyway. While we’re putting on the show, why don’t we bring gamers together and celebrate what gaming is all about.'”
What’s the focus of Gam3rcon?
– “The convention is really focused on creating a community. We’re all volunteers. People pour hours of time throughout the year to make this happen. It’s amazing to see how this is really a convention by gamers, for gamers. They really have a say in what programs happen, what games are played. It’s kind of got that home-feel about it.”
Could you tell me a little about the location for Gam3rcon?
– “The partnership between Gam3rcon and the 10th Avenue Theatre started that first year and it has been an incredible venue: Five floors of gaming entertainment. We’ve got the Video Game Arena, theatre, art, music, comedy… We want this to be like THE destination for gamers. Not only for this week, Gam3rcon is a year-round organization. We actually host game days throughout the year. This is kind of like our big party.”
What are the Not-Miss Events featured this year?
– “We’ve got so much, so I’m going to give you a couple of highlights. Don’t miss Friday. We’ve got Comedy Night, featuring Andre “Black Nerd” Meadows, AJ Salas, Ron Swallow, followed by a Cosplay Lounge. Anyone who is into cosplay, come on down. Whoever has the best outfit gets a prize. We’re going to have a photo booth that night. You can also put yourself in your favorite game. Saturday night, we’ve got a Geek Rock Concert going on, out on the rooftop. We’ve got Kirby’s Dream Band, Radioactive Chicken Heads, and game-hop artist Godric Johnson. For video game players, we’ve got daily challenges every day. Our two big tournaments we’ve got going on are League of Legends (Thursday and Friday) and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Saturday). Those two tournaments are free to enter. Every day we’ve got gameplay, panels, plays and independent movie screenings that are all game related.”
One of the biggest selling points of Gam3rcon is it’s schedule, basically taking place after Comic-Con shuts down for the evening.
– “We run from 2 pm to 2 am every day, so if you’re looking for a place to come after Comic-Con, come to Gam3rcon. We are a supplement to them. We want to give gamers a safe to come and game and just continue the fun, all night long.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
– “Not to sound too geeky, but we’ve really leveled up this year. Those of you who’ve been before: Check it out, because we’ve got a lot of new additions. Also, because I’m the Eco Dork, all of our sets — our décor and our wall decorations — are recycled from the San Diego County Fair. We’re really lucky to have scored a partnership with them.”
Please describe your position at Gam3rcon.
– “As Artistic Director of the N3w Play Cont3st at Gam3rcon 2013, I hosted a contest to get new, original plays, written by local artists. Submitted to our database; we read them, we selected the one we thought would be best for our audience, the one that would be the most enjoyable for everybody here. Now, I am here, producing the show. We’ve never shown this, before Gam3rcon. It’s a new script, by a very new playwright.”
Can you tell me a little about the play?
– “War Games is the story of the group of five characters in a MMORPG first-person shooter. It’s a very specific type of game. The group is asked to guard the flag in a Capture the Flag scenario, because they’re just not very good at the game. Each one of them has a very particular objective, as to what they want in the game. That objective directly feeds into why they are or are not good, at this particular game. It’s a war between an overly ambitious role player in the game, versus a Troll, who has signed into the game as an infiltrator. War Games is the idea that these characters will play these games within the war, to figure out if the traitor is actually a traitor.”
Can you tell me a little about the writer?
– “The writer is Alan Priester. He graduated from UCSD two or three years ago. It’s a really funny piece he submitted through Nomad’s Theatre Troupe. They’re a UCSD Theatre Company who’s known for putting up shows at very compromised locations in a very short amount of time and doing a very good job at it. They’re known for getting in there, getting the job done and getting a very beautiful piece. He sent the play to them, they did the play once at UCSD in a random location, and then he submitted it through them to do it here, but with a new cast.”
How many people are in the play?
How long does it last?
– “30 minutes. It’s really good; really short.”
Will the play be performed multiple times?
– “It’ll happen several times, during the week. It’ll probably happen faster than you know it’s going to happen. It’s in, it’s out, it’s real good.”
Does War Games have an overall rating?
– “This is not for all ages. Rated M, for Mature, for foul language, sexual innuendos all over the place, sexual concepts, really raunchy, really funny. Basically, you have five actors who’ve known each other for a very long time. A lot of them aren’t gamers, so they’re inserting themselves into the gaming world for the first time and playing both a game objective as well as a player objective, at the same time.”
How did you initially get involved with Gam3rcon?
– “I was actually an actress last year, for Spider Baby: The Musical. It was a musical, not gaming related, more like a cult-classic. I played a cannibalistic 14-year-old. It was awesome. I was so excited by what happened at Gam3rcon, during the play — because I’m a gamer, myself. Every time I had a break, I was down in the video game room or the table top lounge.”
What’s your favorite games?
– “I grew up with The Legend of Zelda. I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t figure out, for the longest time, if I wanted to be Link, or be with Link. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted him to come find me and try to marry me, or if I just wanted to wake up as him. I’m a big MMO player, so I did my service to World of Warcraft for five years. I bought them at least one golden toilet, with how much money I gave them. I dabble in MMOs, RPGs and first-person shooters.”