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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggiecon
Photo by Graphic by Sarah Bannon
Aggiecon

Whether you’re a dice roller, demon slayer, button masher or binge watcher, this weekend was full of opportunities for excitement and adventure.

From Friday to Saturday, the Brazos County Expo hosted the 48th annual AggieCon, the world’s oldest student-run multigenre fan convention, an event during which fans and creators of animation, comic books, games and other genres of entertainment come together to meet each other and celebrate a shared passion for these pastimes.

AggieCon is organized by Cepheid Variable, a student organization devoted to the support of fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, science and technology genres. This year’s AggieCon included an array of creators, performers and panelists, and offered hours of entertainment through games, live shows, animation and more.

The convention brought together fans and enthusiasts from across a wide variety of activities and media, according to nuclear engineering sophomore and director of AggieCon 48 Andrew Hoertt.

“We try to touch on a little bit of each bit of nerdom,” Hoertt said.  “We have anime, video gaming, tabletop [gaming], we have dealers selling comics, dice, jewelry and all kinds of art, so we really try to get every little bit of the spectrum, so we make sure everyone is included.”

For the first time at AggieCon, attendees also had the opportunity to experience various virtual reality (VR) video games through systems like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, courtesy of the Texas A&M VR Club. Engineering freshman and vice president of TAMU VR Alex Arze said AggieCon provided a great chance to show how this technology is impacting the world of video gaming.

“It adds an extra dimension in the sense that you’re physically moving around your space,” Arze said. “You’ll see that people who are in the HTC  Vive or the Oculus are walking around their space, physically grabbing for things and interacting with them in ways that you would never be able to in other video games.”

The theme for this year’s AggieCon was “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone,” a popular phrase from the 1986 video game The Legend of Zelda that, according to Hoertt, helps truly explain what AggieCon is all about.

“‘It’s dangerous to go alone,’ so come here and make friends,” Hoertt said. “Everyone here is like-minded, they have similar traits, they have similar interests and this is where people can make friends. That’s really what I want people to get out of this — I want people to come out here and make memories and make lifelong friends.”

In addition to fostering interactions between fans within the B-CS community, the convention also included an assortment of special guests, including voice actors, artists and internet personalities. Biomedical science sophomore and guest relations officer Mallory Morris said AggieCon offers fans the potential for closer interaction with guests from their areas of interest.

“One thing I like about this Con is it’s a really small convention,  so you really get to be kind of personal with the guests and it’s different from the big conventions where you see them on a stage from way back in a room and then they leave,” Morris said. “Last year we played Cards Against Humanity with [Funimation voice actor and producer] Aaron Dismuke. We sat in a circle in the hallway just chatting with some of the guests.”

For many attendees, AggieCon is an opportunity for cosplay — a shortened term for costume play, which refers to the practice of dressing as a character from whatever media the cosplayer is enthusiastic about. Sammy Berzoza, Class of 2012, hosted the “Cosplay Dating” show as well as “Cosplay Jeopardy” and said cosplay as a form of self-expression has become a hallmark of conventions like AggieCon.

“People have their favorite characters from what have you, whether it be anime, video gaming, books, comic books, even tabletop games, people have a real connection with these characters,” Berzoza said. “That’s why people cosplay and I think that’s why it’s such a big part of the convention community.”

The convention featured dozens of discussion panels covering topics ranging anywhere from the current state of the voice acting industry to creating props and armor for costumes. Texas A&M project administrator Roni French was part of RPG 101, a panel designed as an introduction to the world of role playing games, in which players act as their own unique characters within a story and setting created by a gamemaster, or GM.

“We answered basic questions, gave tips on being a first-time player — basic things that you should know before you get involved in RPGs and also how to get involved in RPGs,” French said. “Tips for finding groups to get involved with and even for GMing on your own, in case you have a group of friends but nobody knows the rules.”

Although the tradition of AggieCon has changed and evolved over the years, Hoertt said the Cepheid Variable club maintains a connection to the past through its previous members — referred to as “Elders” within the club — who often return to the convention to catch up with friends and enjoy the festivities.

“I know for a lot of Elders this is the time they get to meet up with old college friends once a year,” Hoertt said. “That’s a really big part of AggieCon for us is allowing these people that started this tradition to enjoy time with their old friends so that we one day can do the exact same.”
 

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  • Cosplayers Porsha Taylor, Megan Hipchen and university studies ag leadership sophomore Andrew Truong attended AggieCon this weekend.

    Photo by By Brian Okosun

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