Creators, Voice Actors, and Fans
Videogame and anime conventions, whether more focused on revealing new games and shows, or hearing from acclaimed developers and voice actors, they bring people together who are passionate about this subculture. Fans can bond about gaming, chat about their favorite series, and developers can reveal secrets or tell tales of difficult development cycles. Conventions are spaces where cosplay is seen as cool, and people can test their skills by playing competitive games.
This all makes for a festival of ‘nerd’ culture and video games and anime can be a form of escapism that helps people socially, mentally, and intellectually. These conventions typically last two to three days and are packed full of events that can be either the reveal of titles, chats with voice actors, or competitive tournaments. The creators of these forms of entertainment are generally artists in some sense, and they create virtual worlds that have parallels to real life but have more excitement and flare. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is probably the most well-known convention/gaming event and has had legends like Hideo Kojima, and Shigeru Miyamoto discussing upcoming games from famous and critically acclaimed series.
The Electronic Arts Expo or E3 is an event held every year (almost) in Los Angeles. It’s been going on since the 90s and is where some of the biggest console and game reveals have occurred. Usually, access is limited to other developers, journalists, and various other people in the industry. However, recently fans have been allowed access, and it is definitely the event to be hyped for since it is still the most famous and anticipated gaming event every year (but The Game Awards is catching up).
Even though the press and developers had exclusive access to the event in past years, that definitely doesn’t mean that they aren’t fans. Some of the reactions to reveals at the show express this. For example, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess reveal in 2004 left (almost) hundreds of fans sobbing and shouting out of sheer joy. Of course, most people who work in the industry are huge gaming fans. It’s at this event where you could meet a legend like Koji Kondo (Zelda music) or Matt Bozon (Shantae series). However, there are also smaller, more low-key events going on in different parts of the world, like the one I went to just last weekend, the London Winter Anime and Gaming Convention.
Anime & Gaming Convention
The London Anime and Gaming Convention is held twice annually and is one of the biggest events for anime and video game fans in the UK. The convention is always buzzing with people in cosplay and gamers competing in Street Fighter 2, or Super Smash Bros. Melee (and also Street Fighter 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate). There are music performances, anime screenings, and game rooms filled with retro consoles that always seem to be being played. It’s definitely an opportunity to test your competitive skills at games, and because this event is more fan orientated there’s a lot of time to chill and meet people who share your interests.
One of the highlights of this event is always the talent show. This competition includes people playing music, doing stand-up comedy, performing skits, reciting poetry, and more. In past years, the winners are awarded a pitcher of lager as a first prize (although this may have changed by now). The talent show is great because all the contestant’s performances are based on something related to anime and gaming. The A&V Convention is held in cities all over the UK (not only London) and brings people with shared interests together (including guests such as voice actors).
If you’re visiting this site, you’re probably a videogame or anime fan, and know about or are interested in, the culture that is associated with this kind of content. While these genres of entertainment have been around before the internet (with the NES, Atari, and early anime), the internet has made people so much more interconnected with forums, sites, and apps like discord, and slack. However, online has also meant that we are less physically connected to each other than before. We don’t need to arrange to physically meet as much, we can just virtually meet on FaceBook or Discord. Events like E3, and the Anime and Gaming Convention bring people who share interests together, and allow us to bond, in person, which rarely happens.
The UK videogame scene is smaller than in other countries. Events such as the Anime and Videogame Convention at the moment, seem to be the best gathering of ‘nerd culture’ at the moment in the country. Young people, families and older people all can meet and play games, dress up, and have fun over full weekends. This will lay good foundations for future generations, and hopefully, we can inspire, and create great environments based on videogame culture, for the next generation.
E3 is an expo on a huge scale. It still creates excitement, however less than in past years. It continues to motivate and inspire young people. Events like The Videogame Awards, are up-and-coming shows that add to the yearly events calendar and will build hype for games, and create a buzz in online communities. Maybe, if we can channel this energy into more in-person events, it’ll be good for the community and the next generation.