Thursday, January 16, 2014

Published Article: The Escapist Expo II

I'm a bit behind on posting published articles. The following was featured in Mir Fantastiki.
Special thanks to them for letting me post this!

A Positive Gaming Community
The Escapist Expo II

What: The Second Annual Escapist Expo
Explanation: A three-day gaming festival hosted by the Escapist, an online gaming magazine.
Where: Durham, North Carolina, USA
When: 4-6, October 2013
Turnout: Est. 1500

The Escapist is an online gaming magazine that hosts a variety of unique content. From the video game music group Miracle of Sound to Zero Punctuation, a video game reviewer with a tendency to point out often-overlooked faults video games, it’s a quirky and unique website that hosted their second annual festival in early October.
The Festival was held at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, North Carolina, and even as I got within a few city blocks of the event it was easy to spot attendees in costumes or Escapist tee shirts. Once inside, even more people were dressed in fantastic costumes inspired by characters from video games, board games, or movies. There were also dozens of people armed with Nerf guns dressed as zombie-hunters, apparently there for a weekend-long Live Action Role Playing game: Humans vs Zombies.
The second Escapist Expo also saw the extremely successful return of their live music event, the Saturday Night Shindig. Filling their venue, The Motorco, to capacity with an extremely energetic crowd, this year featured the musical talents of Miracle of Sound, Random Encounter, and The Warp Zone, music acts that write songs inspired by video games, television shows, and movies.
In addition to a vendor room, ongoing panels, and a night of music performances, the Escapist Expo also featured a ballroom with hundreds of board games that people were free to pick up and try out. Also present were a few indie video game developers showcasing their latest creations, the developers of the survival horror MMO [Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game] The Secret World, and some of the creative minds of Insomniac Games.

One unique thing about The Escapist Expo is how approachable and friendly everyone is. TheEscapist (magazine) has spent the last 8 years developing a positive online community and the event itself seemed to embody this. I was consistently surprised with how friendly people I talked with were, how much the people I talked with had in common, and how great the crowd was during the Saturday Night Shindig. This phenomenon didn’t just apply to attendees, as I was able to freely chat with game designers, artists, and one of the creative developers of Ratchet and Clank at length without any formalities. At its heart, The Escapist Expo is not just a yearly convention. It’s the annual coming together of a positive gaming community I can’t help but feel like a part of.

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