The Cape Gate Shopping Centre in Cape Town recently played host to the second (I guess that means Annual) Cape Gate Gaming & Tech Expo that aimed at focusing on showcasing some of the hottest trends from the gaming and geek world, including cosplay, some gaming competitions, virtual reality and general technology and geek culture. This sounded like something that I couldn’t miss, and with this kind of mall expo becoming quite commonplace it represents a small but important step in the direction of geek culture being pushed more and more towards the mainstream consumer and less kept in a shop in the corner of a shopping mall.
Naturally, the most noticeable thing at any expo are the cosplayers and this event was no different. When we arrived, clusters of cosplayers (that’s the collective noun right? Can we just agree on clusters? It has alliteration going for it. This is a really long bracket now) flanked the stage which was situated in the centre court of the mall awaiting the judging part of the cosplay competition schedule. We spotted the now obligatory Tracer and Harley Quinn as well as Minecraft Steve amongst an impressive turnout of incredibly well crafted and creative cosplays.
The competition itself, MCed by KomboKitten, had 4 categories – Experienced, Novice, Bought and Kids. The experienced category boasted a R5000 first place price, R2000 to second and R1000 to first with the Novice and Bought categories both awarding R1000 first place and hampers for second and third and the Kids category offering up hampers for first to third placers.
The winners as follows: Experienced –
1st Place – Lisa as Poison Ivy frmo DC Comics
2nd Place – Zayaan as Sakuya from Persona 4
3rd Place – Keir as Cable from X-Men
1st Place – Chene as female Predator
2nd Place – Sam as Vulpix Gijinka from Pokemon
3rd Place – Chanelle as Saturn from Sailor Moon
1st Place – Megan as Mario gender bend from Mario Bro’s
2nd Place – Erik from Watch Dogs
3rd Place – Evan as Hidan from Naruto
1st Place – Josua as Ash Ketchum from Pokemon
2nd Place – Dean as The Flash from DC Comics
3rd Place – Maia as Anna from Frozen
Just next to the stage, from which came much excited chatter, was the Fifa 17 competition (presented by Xbox), whic hwas just one of a number of competitions to take place both in the dedicated area and on the main stage – the winners, who all won an assortment of prizes sponsored by Raru, Apex Interactive and Computer Mania were:
1st Place: Yazeed Dollie
2nd Place: Grant Engledoe
3rd place: Aidan Demink
1st Place: Grant
2nd Place: Jaquin
3rd Place: Aslam
Street Fighter V
1st Place: Jonathan Abrahams
2nd Place: Garth
3rd Place: Peter Jooste
Also on display were racing simulators from TGN Racing Simulators, an interesting looking VR experience which put you in a moving pod (it claimed to be 9D, which are just too many dimensions for me to fathom), and an assortment of board games and other tabletop games, including some (Like X-Wing and Magic the Gathering) demonstrated by the Battle Bunker.
Mall expos in general are an interesting creature – they differ from regular gaming and technology expos because the audience is so very different and varied that appealing to everyone means having a wide variety of displays and the Cape Gate Tech and Gaming Expo delivered. The expo overall was well attended and offered visitors a look into a world they may be unfamilair with – and a world becoming more and more visible.