Attention all fans of all fandoms!
With the upcoming spook-fest that is Halloween, New Zealand Geek girls and boys have been getting out their costumes, glue guns, sewing machines, and crafting gear in order to participate in the biggest Geek / Nerd / Freak / Llama Festival for the year (in my opinion anyway) which is delightfully named ARMAGEDDON!
What is Armageddon?
Well for all those of you not living in New Zealand (or parts of Australia), Armageddon is a smaller scale version of something like San Diego Comic-Con – same deal but done in ratio to size of the country. Still, it manages to pull massive numbers, with an average of 75,000 people visiting over the 3.5 day event.
It begins with a 6pm – 9 (or 10)pm “preview” evening on the Friday before Labour Day, and continues of the long weekend. Amongst the actual convention are the special events such as a night with the stars of Supernatural out at the Haunted Kingseat Mental Asylum “Spookers” in Karaka, Auckland, and the Masquerade Ball held either the Friday or the Sunday night.
During the 3 main days there are Magic: The Gathering tournaments, Pokemon TGC and Video Game tournaments, and then random competitions put on by the stall holders for various prizes.
More importantly, there is the meeting of some our favourite comic book writers and artists, Anime voice actors and actresses and TV show actors and actresses. Periodically we’ll get a big name who comes all the way to appease their fans in the last place on Earth. This year, the highlight name was Natalia Tena better known as Nymphadora Tonks to all the Harry Potter fans on the planet.
Though I didn’t get a chance to do so, my friends over at PokeCollection were one of the few people who got to interview Special Guests like Natalia Tena as she cancelled a number of them due to time constrains. I encourage you to check it out here!
I did thoroughly enjoy myself there as a standard attendee, though; I queued up for an hour in order to get into the event and spent the first 15 minutes upon opening speaking to a couple of very avid Supernatural fans who made my day by asking for a photo with me in my Attack on Titan Scout Regiment Uniform. This was quickly followed by a few comments from fans for my partner who was dressed as Makoto Tachibana from Free! Below is the photo taken by the team from BigPipe Broadband who were putting everyone in the draw to win a 55″ TV and PS4 combo.
Apart from the photos and dealing with the masses of people, I stood in line for 45 minutes and patiently waited to meet Christina Vee (the most important person for me this year) who is none other than the voice actress for Sailor Mars in the Sailor Moon Crystal TV series. I got her autograph on a couple of photos of Rei, one for me and one for my sister who is like Rei in real life, minus the pyrotechnics, but I was sooo starstruck I forgot a photo and could not be bothered trying to fight back to get one or waiting another hour and 45 minutes in line to get back to her. Lessoned learnt for next year I assure you.
What have I learnt for next year?
Next year, I intend to apply earlier for a Media Pass to get some interview time with the special guests for +5 Charisma, and failing that, I intend to get a VIP pass in order to jump queues and get the all important photos of EVERYONE there.
Another thing is going early to gaming zone, the photo above and the one below this paragraph are taken about 1pm during the day and you really cannot move meaning I missed a few stalls and gaming events from PlayStation 4, so I feel this is a case of going in early, leaving about midday for an hour then completing the rounds in the afternoon.
Lastly, I need to save additional funds, it is way too easy to go broke at this event and even on the budget increase this year from last year, I was still broke with about 2 hours of arriving.
Hints and Tips for Tourists and First-Timers
If you decide for some unfathomable reason that you wish to join in the never-ending sea of cosplayers, gamers/gaymers, geeks, freaks, nerds and Llamas here are a few things to remember:
- Always pre-purchase your tickets; waiting in line can lead to you waiting for space in the convention centre (Wellington Armageddon is a great example where they reached maximum capacity within 3 hours of opening)
- Bring your own lunch – if the venue allows it (Hamilton Armageddon was held at Claudelands Arena and they enforced the rule of no outside food to be brought into the venue) – and a large bottle of water. Energy and Hydration are key to surviving 8 to 10 hours in a crowd.
- Carry some cash as well as your cards; not all stall holders will have EFTPOS machines and therefore cash is better. Cash is also wiser for budgeting and paying for smaller purchases.
- Take note of your personal hygiene levels throughout the day; BO is a killer, not only for your social life, but for the lives of all those around you. There is nothing worse than posing for a photo whilst holding your breathe due to the hindsight of deodorant.
- Get there early; not only to the venue but the autograph and panel queues, too. You don’t want to miss out because you needed to buy that Sailor Moon plushie from the stall at the other of the Showgrounds.
- Charge your phone/camera; contacting your cosplay crowd, convention buddies and taking photos is the whole point of proving you went! How else can people on social media provide you likes?
- Have fun! Don’t be afraid to ask people for a photo, or to stop when asked to pose for a photo. Yes those new boots you bought to complete your cosplay outfit are killing your feet, but no-one needs to feel your wrath for it.
- Lastly, please avoid bring your pram-confined children to such events, there is nothing worse that a mother ramming her pram into your ankle expecting you and the 10,000 other people to move any faster. Find a baby-sitter!
Luckily for Auckland fans there is another Armageddon coming to us in February 2016. And I’ll be sure to check it out.
Until next time!