It’s Not the End of the World

It’s been well over a month since the fact, but the biggest New Zealand Armageddon, Auckland Armageddon—aka Auckgeddon—has come and gone for the year. I meant to write this the week after the fact, time sure got away from me!

This year was just as busy as last—if not moreso—filled with truly lovely people and spectacular cosplay. Saturday was absolutely packed, it felt like being stuck in a can filled with sardines (note: I’ve never been stuck in a sardine can, but I imagine it’s smelly.)

My favourite part of the con, as always, was the cosplay. Every year, and I’m not exaggerating here, I get to the con and I say, “man, the cosplay community has really raised the bar this year.” Every year! And I’m never wrong when I say this.

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Actual photograph of the bar being raised

As I said, Saturday was unsurprisingly packed—much the same as last year. I appreciate how much more positive attention nerd culture has gotten recently, but I don’t appreciate being constantly crammed up against strangers. Even worse, I missed getting photos of an awesome Dredd cosplayer because of the crowd!

I arrived pretty late on the Saturday, but that’s not all that bad on the one day where it feels like moving a few steps takes half an hour, and it actually did take us nearly that long to get to the V360 camera that I fell so in love with at Wellygeddon earlier this year. You get a cool animation AND free V? I call that a win/win.

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They’re not even paying me to say this, I swear!

I went to the spectacular Static Cosplay‘s panel about thermoplastics. What I found especially interesting was just how many types of plastics can be used for crafting and the different ways they can be manipulated with just a bit of ingenuity. I only really knew about wonderflex and worbla before the panel, turns out there are quite a few more options!

Sylvie’s costumes are always stunning and I adore hearing her explain her crafting in a simple way, because I am a child who doesn’t understand many things.

BAM have some Sylvie!
Basically a cosplay goddess

I do have a small complaint about the panels though—certain rude people interrupting with their opinions when it’s not the time. The keyword is panel, not discussion.

Apart from that, I loved the cosplay stage and cosplay pitstop that Auckgeddon had this year, they’re both good places for people who find they get exhausted easily during the day (e.g. people like me who have chronic illnesses) to go and chill out in. The panels at the stage were super informative, and a room with hot glue guns, needles and thread, and mirrors? A godsend.

Saturday is also the day of the Cosplay Parade, a chance for all cosplayers, including those who aren’t entering the Cosplay Competition, to strut their stuff on the main stage. I’m usually a helper offstage, checking weapons and giving instructions, and I was hugely impressed that every single person I talked to had con-safe weapons. No metal, no real bows, nothing! Prop and costume safety is probably the hill I will die on, so it definitely cheered my day to see how considerate everyone was.

A huge problem with the way the main stage is run on Saturday is that panels or events will always run over time, which means that the Cosplay Parade always gets cut short. Why the eating competitions can’t end early is beyond me, and the cosplayers always getting shafted by this is something that never fails to frustrate me. Considering it happens every year, there should be some steps taken to fix this.

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And speaking of con-safe weapons, my blaster was too!

This was a very short day, or at least it definitely felt it! I spent some time with my buddies at their hotel room after the con, at which time I was reminded of my “take photos with people’s props” thing I did at Welly. There was only one thing for it…

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Thus I became the dark queen

Sunday was finally my chance to show off Leia, after working on her for a few months. Some things were rushed, but I was surprised by how comfortable the costume was, and how good it actually all looked as an ensemble.

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I found my little buddy!

My main goal for Sunday: get my Mass Effect artbook signed by William Salyers. The book was a gift from my friend who managed to go to the Mass Effect Cast Cosplay dig over at PAX in the States, and is signed by a few cast members and Bioware devs—but it didn’t have Mordin yet. This was my chance.

While in line for the voice actor signings, I sort of befriended two girls cosplaying as Daenerys (Game of Thrones) and Alice (Alice: Madness Returns) which made the long wait a bit more bearable. Every voice actor was super sweet, and I got to meet the voice of Lux Bonteri (The Clone Wars) and Wally West (Young Justice), Jason Spisak. We briefly bonded over The Clone Wars, and he even said a quick Lux line for me. I love voice actors!

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Their costumes were both super rad! AND they were so lovely! Double whammy

Salyers was a little secluded at the end of the table, and he seemed heartened that I was so excited to meet him and talk to him. Thanks to him, my book feels even more special now. I know voice actors, and con guests in general, are always so busy and exhausted and thus I’m always blown away by how lovely they are to their fans. (I know how grumpy I can be in similar situations!)

As is mostly tradition, Sunday is the day of the Cosplay Games, this year renamed Cosplay: The Gameshow. During the faux battles my friend cosplaying the notebook from Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared stabbed me with her giant pencil. So rude, and not an innuendo!

I always have a blast helping out with the games, though there was some genuine criticism of the show this year after the fact. I spent a good while snort-laughing at the Star Wars puns written into the script, so I was at least pretty happy (it’s not hard to please me.) I’m constantly impressed by Jess and Kylie for the amount of work they put into supporting cosplay events at Geddon, so I look forward to seeing what they put together in the future.

Added bonus: I didn’t hit anyone in the head with candy by accident this time!

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Group shot!

After the con we drank a little and played the Battlestar Galactica board game to wind down, in which Kylie kicked our asses as a super sneaky Cylon, and I played a pilot that barely flew. Fun game!

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Less fun: dealing with wig hair

And finally: Monday. The final day. The Armageddon of Armageddon. It was probably my favourite day of that weekend, as I had a ridiculous amount of fun wandering around the con as Leia—I was finally on the con floor for much of the day, so I finally got to chat to people and take photos.

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When I found him he told me I was grounded. As if!

And speaking of photos, my favourite moment of the day was when Mac Cosplay and I were asked to be in a photo with someone, when suddenly I hear the cantina music off to my right. I look over, laughing, and who else do I see but Artoo wheeling up beside us? It’s one of those moments where I remember why I love Star Wars and its fans so much.

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The moment I hear the music, captured by Alex
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The little shit, also captured by Alex

I love, love, love, cosplaying Leia, she’s my favourite costume to wear to date. At some point I encountered a pretty cool Boba Fett (Mando helmets always impress me, I’ll be honest) and asked for a photo with him. We were promptly swarmed by folks wanting photos of us. We were trapped for at least five minutes, smiling—well, who knows what he was doing under that bucket—before I finally got a chance to break away from the crowd.

There are probably at least 20 unflattering photos of me not realising there was a camera pointed in my direction.

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Where did my trigger discipline go?!

But enough about Star Wars! Something I always love about the Monday of ‘geddon is that it’s comp day, and thus the day people bring their cosplaying A game. Seeing my friends in the costumes I’d only seen progress photos of in the months leading up to the con is always amazing. You get the general idea of what they’re working on, but to see it all together? It can be literally breathtaking.

One day I’ll be one of those guys with the impressive competition costumes. Until then, I’ll just bask in their beauty.

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What the hell is this, Rowan??

The Halo: Master Chief Collection multiplayer drew me in eventually, something that everyone saw coming. I rarely play games at ‘geddon, but how can I resist Halo? We played the map Lockout, which is funnily enough the first Halo map I ever playedHowever, I realised two things as I approached my given screen:

  1. that I would not be able to fit the headphones on over my cinnamon buns, and
  2. that I am not a silent gamer, unlike apparently everyone else playing the game at that time.

I ended up spending the majority of the round swearing under my breath, the headphones shoved awkwardly under my wig. Despite that, I enjoyed the retouched Halo 2 immensely. The graphics were gorgeous, the map nostalgic. If only I had an Xbone, so I could actually get the game myself!

If anyone’s curious: I came third in the match.

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Unrelated: look how full the rubbish bin at the cosplay pit stop was!

Later in the day I spent a good while waiting in a signing line for Lucas Till—AKA Alex Summers in First Class—with Kylie. In all honesty, I don’t mind waiting in a line as long as I don’t have anywhere to be (which would prove to be useful come PAX Aus.) I got yet another chance to take photos of cosplayers, and to chat to more people. Till was super lovely, letting fans take photos with him despite the “NO PHOTOS” sign above his head.

We rushed from this signing to the  main stage where they were showing Dragon Age: Inquisition footage, something we’d all been anxiously awaiting all weekend. ‘Geddon never really has much from Bioware, unlike other cons overseas, so we weren’t really sure what to expect.

It was just a trailer and some gameplay footage on the main stage screens, but it sure got us excited and talking as we waited for the BodyFX competition and Cosplay Comp to start. There was much excited yelling, as always happens when someone brings up Dragon Age around me (I’m told I can get a little terrifying.)

Sidenote: one of the runners-up in the BodyFX Face Off-esque competition was someone I went to some special effects makeup classes with earlier this year. She was already impressive there, and I’m glad her skills are being recognized!

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How cool is that? Pretty damn cool

The Cosplay Competition was a-freakin’-mazing. So much talent, and so many entries! The amount of work the Cosplay Comp team put in to get it all together and judge everyone, as well as the work that the cosplayers themselves put into their costumes astounds me! There were over 30 entries at Auckgeddon!

Eveychu‘s skit absolutely blew the crowd away. It’s better just to watch it:

Though, of course, that doesn’t at all capture the audience reaction when the dress was revealed. I’ve never seen a crowd more stirred by a performance in my life; people were on their feet doing the District 12 sign from the films. The energy was intense, feeling as if we were actually in the film, and it was no surprise that she took out the entire Trans Tasman Competition, even beating the winner that flew over from Australia.

Everyone looked spectacular, and I do not at all envy Michaela for having to make the choice of who wins what. While she may no longer be the judge starting next year, I’m 100% positive she’ll forever have a place in everyone’s hearts for how wonderfully she handled the competition.

After the prizes were all given and everyone began to congregate for congratulations I hurriedly rushed around to get photos of whoever I could before they left—knowing that I probably wouldn’t see many of them ’til the next con. The woes of being friends with cosplayers from all over, I guess.

And then, the worst part of every con: heading home after the final day is done. I’m sure I shed tears, mourning the loss of mini donuts and cosplay hangouts.

It has taken me far too long to write this post—I say, sweating nervously—and it was bed time three hours ago. Will I write a post for PAX? Will I ever actually upload photos from PAX? Only time will tell!

On to the next con!

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Time to start procrastinating on my next costumes!

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