Game On Expo, the first of its kind in Arizona, was also my first “official” Video Jouzu assignment. I was both excited and nervous; I had not played video games since Tetris was new.
The Expo was held in the Mesa Convention center. At first glance the small buildings and parking lot had me worried. After getting the lay of the land (so to speak) I sat down to watch the ‘80’s film ‘The Wizard’, starring a very young Fred Savage and Christian Slater.
As I left the ‘theater’ I saw more people had arrived. A lot more. Suddenly, despite the Expo’s small size, I was surrounded by the same energy I had felt at Phoenix Comic Con earlier this year. Without the huge crowd, I found it much easier to approach people and strike up conversations.
Almost every booth and table represented Arizona businesses and cosplayers. The guys at Desert Sky Games & Comics, located in Gilbert, were friendly and relaxed. They had more dice than I’ve ever seen, and in ALL the colors! Check them out in Gilbert if you’re close by: Desert Sky Games and Comics Warehouse, 2531 S. Gilbert Rd Ste 106, Gilbert AZ 85295. 602-615-5214. www.desertskygames.com.
Just around the corner I met the crew of The Gaming Zone. Based in Tempe these guys were friendly and introduced me to the owner, Alejandro. Located at 930 W. Broadway Rd. #15 Tempe, AZ, this is more than a store. It’s also an arcade and game lounge. They have both a website and a Facebook page, just look for The Gaming Zone.
Walking through the hall I saw the beautiful Princess Peach.
She kindly posed for a photo and told me about SOCAL Retro Gaming Expo scheduled for Jan 30th – 31st, 2016 in City of Industry, CA. The promo card she gave me says free admission and parking. Watch their Facebook page for more info and details.
Further in I met Jeff Rosenberg, co-owner of Terrasect LLC. He and his colleague (John Wisniewski) were great guys, promoting their new game Wizards 1984. Traveling all the way from North Carolina they were handing out cards with QR Codes good for a free download! Go to www.terrasect.com for more info about them and their games.
Every now and again, we all stumble across someone who takes the familiar and gives it a great twist. That’s what I love about the geek crowd: creativity, thinking outside the box, and passion for what we do. Check out Retro Nerd Studios Mayan influenced gaming art by Sita Navas;
and Marsartwork by Suemei Mar.
These talented ladies bring a breath of fresh air to gaming art. It shows not only in their work, but also in their faces. As we spoke, they each lit up and the energy rose. They both have Facebook pages, and Etsy shops. Check them out, and get something unique before the winter holidays hit.
Collectors Marketplace. The STUFF! In addition to the merchandise, this Phoenix store also has a swap meet every Saturday (unless there’s a con). The staff member I spoke with was friendly, and eager to talk about the store. Check them out on Facebook.
One of the last business booths that really caught my eye was Dusty Lion Crafts. Dressed for the occasion, these Tucson based Ladies hand make all the little stuffed plushy cuteness that surrounded their booth. Sea creatures, dinosaurs, dragons, oh my! They were so friendly and patient. I overheard them talking to some of their younger customers about the merchandise. You can find them online, Facebook, and Etsy, just look for Dusty Lion Crafts.
In the main hall, I saw these two cosplayers. They very kindly let me take their photo. Silly me, I forgot to get their names. (Note to self- bring that pen and paper of which you are so fond next time).
Right after I put the camera down, this guy caught my eye. After getting his picture, he told me about MyUGW.com a geek social networking site.
Even though I am still new to cosplay and the con scene, I have already seen a variety of Sailor Moon twists. This trio, however, was a first! The pastel colors, and the hair! I had to know more.
After posing, they told me their booth was in the cosplay hallway, and they’re Arizona’s Premier Maid Café. Inspired by Meido kissa in Japan, Sugar Pink mixes the ‘traditional’ Maid Café experience with Thespian flair. Facebook? Yes. YouTube? Oh yeah. Twitter? Yup. Tumblr? Sure thing. Look for Sugar Pink Café and find them at upcoming events.
This premier con was full of firsts. Ever hear of a cosplaying Corgi? Neither had I until I met Kiba! Unfortunately the adorable four legged Link was exhausted and napping on the table, but I spoke with his ‘thumb monkeys’ (aka Humans). They were full of smiles and positive energy. Check out Kiba’s Facebook page and follow his adventures on Instagram.
Umbrella Corporation Arizona Hive – not just a bunch of hunky guys wearing awesome combat gear posing for photos- this group also helps raise money for the Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA. They are on ALL the social media- twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and probably more. Let’s see: awesome gear, good looking, and they help animals too? Wow, what a combo!
Aside from World of Warcraft in the last few years, I haven’t done any RPG’ing since high school. That said, if I were in a party I would definitely want Tephros’ Cosplay and Rainbow FX Cosplay on the team! Being in the Society for Creative Anachronism I can be critical of fabric costuming, but I was impressed. Both cosplays were well done. I look forward to seeing what they do in the future. Not only did they pose together
a friend of theirs took a shot of me with them! (I always forget just how tall I am until I see photos. Yikes)!