Thursday, April 27, 2017

LANtasy’s rising popularity brings changes

March 15, 2017 by Adam Boyle, staff writer

The world of cosplay, LAN (local area network) events, tabletop minis, board games, and RPGs (role playing games) might seem like a daunting and confusing place for those who aren’t familiar with it. But, with LANtasy, you don’t have to be familiar to get involved. One of the great things about LANtasy is that, as a convention, it’s incredibly accessible to both newcomers and experienced participants. Held at Pearkes Recreation Centre, LANtasy has become known as the premier gaming convention on the lower island.

LANtasy managing director Jeff Pedlow says that convention organizers are looking for ways to accommodate all skill levels of play so that everyone can do as their motto says: “Play games. Have fun.”

A scene from a previous LANtasy; the convention is returning to Pearkes Rec Centre this month (photo provided).

“One of the things that we’ve been keeping on our radar is breaking up the skill levels,” he says. “Yes, we plan on having extra brackets for those who are knocked out of the main event. Obviously, we want everyone to compete for the biggest prizes, but we want to make sure everyone can get in lots of games and have fun.”

This year, LANtasy is introducing a new game into its LAN lineup. Overwatch, a game released in August of last year, has seen great success amongst gamers. This year, the game has made its way into the lineup of LAN events.

“Traditionally, Victoria has had a huge League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive backing,” says Pedlow. “We’ve seen a lot of players going toward Overwatch, and we try to support one or two new games every year. With that, Overwatch is the new flavour this year. People were asking us about it; we had an internal discussion and clearly the answer was, yes, we do want to do it. The community has responded back positively in huge waves, and we will continue to make it stronger every year.”

LANtasy operates as a non-profit organization; Pedlow says that a lot of its success is very dependent on sponsorships and attendance.

“As a non-profit, it’s hard for us to go and, for example, pay out $5,000 cash or however many thousand in cash just because when you take the cost of the events, rentals, etc., all of a sudden, there isn’t really a lot of money coming from us, and that’s where sponsorship has been extremely important.”

A common misconception is that LANtasy is just a LAN event. Pedlow says that it’s important that people know that there is more than just video games going on at the convention. This year includes a new type of event in the form of panels, where people involved in the gaming industry talk about how to get involved in the field.

“A new feature that we have this year is our panels and spectators area,” says Pedlow. “We’ve got wonderful companies coming out and talking to audiences. Another section we have is cosplay. We have cosplayers come out and show off these amazing set-ups that they have. We look forward to seeing what it will look like for this upcoming event.”

Pedlow says there are many options at LANtasy for those who might not be the most experienced in the worlds of tabletops, gaming, or crafts.

“We hope that people who are interested can come out and enjoy it,” he says. “We do have a lot of beginner-friendly games. We have exhibitors who are doing demos and sales. It’s not just for the hardcore gamers; it’s for everyone who’s interested. We want people to come out and enjoy themselves. If that means coming out and getting their toes wet, that’s great. But if they want to come out and hardcore game, that’s also great.”

LANtasy 2017
Friday, March 17 to Sunday, March 19
$15 to $108,
Pearkes Recreation Centre
lantasy.com

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