By Felicity McKee, Contributor
If you were anywhere around the Student Union over the weekend you would have been hard-pressed not to notice the magical event that is Q-Con. The convention is organised and run by the Dragonslayers Society and is the largest annual gaming and anime convention anywhere in the UK and Ireland. Having returned for its 22nd year Q-Con has seemingly beaten last years attendance of 7000 people, the Dragonslayers proving they can run the source code for a successful event.
Q-Con always promises to bring a multitude of colourful characters to life and this year was no exception, with many in attendance cosplaying as as their favourite characters. Also on show was new and rising talent in the indie games industry (both local and further afield) as well as more traditional and classic games. This ranged from board games and live action role playing to computer gaming across all platforms (with no HAL 9000-style hiccups). And for those who didn’t feel quite like gaming there were manga workshops, treasure hunts and a cosplay masquerade.
This doesn’t give justice to the numerous other events on offer at Q-Con however. Music, gaming, comedy nights, film screenings art and shopping were all available in what was a thoroughly family-friendly and accessible weekend. Catherine Rafferty attended her first ever convention with Q-Con and found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable and friendly experience, though warned that it can easily become quite expensive with so much on offer at the stalls to buy (it’s a trap!) and like many others in attendance vowed to return the following year.
Many of those stall-holders regularly set up shop at conventions across the UK and elsewhere and those in attendance said that they found the professionalism of the staff and the friendliness of fellow stall-holders to exceed their expectations, and stated that they would happily return the following year.
The Q-Concert showcased performances from the Irish Video Game Orchestra and the Voice of the Dragon Choir, whose pieces from popular video games such as World Warcraft, Mass Effect and Final Fantasy were greatly appreciated by the crowd of game enthusiasts. It was a lovely way to finish up Friday and Saturday, with first year Clara McCourt stating that she felt that this year had surpassed others with the Q-Concert being the best event ever put on by Q-Con with hopes to see it return next year.
Friday nights highlight was a comedy showcase compered by local comedian Colin Murphy, further evening shenanigans including the Pub Quiz and Club Q-Con sponsored by Yo!Sushi. These evening events combined the joy of sharing niche knowledge with fellow gamers and anime lovers as well as helping to raise money for the QUB RAG selected charities.
It wasn’t all fun and games however. Q-Ed talks brought professional and semi-professional talent to Queens to share their wisdom on a number of different ventures such as how to sell art professionally, create interactive story games and port from iOS to PC, all kindly supported by NI Screen. Feel Good Hypnosis were also seen around the union in brief flashes of green as they educated people curious about accessing the innermost aspects of their unconscious mind. They provided a fun diversion and were a welcome relief after a busy day and the end of exams for many students.
All of this was brought to a climax on Sunday evening at the Q-Con Closing ceremony where the Spoony bards played out the evening in the Mandela Hall, bringing this annual event to a triumphant end with plans already afoot for next years event. So don’t panic, grab your towel, and they’ll be back before the next season of Sherlock.