Three for One: Northwest Fan Fest 2014

written by Mackensie Baker (@MackensieBaker)

The three-for-one convention collaboration that was Northwest Fan Fest took place recently, June 27th-29th. What do I mean by three-for-one? Well, this brand-new con was a mash-up of Anime Evolution, Cos & Effect, and Vancouver Gaming Expo which took place during one whirlwind weekend, and all at the price of one. But was it hyped up just a little too much? For many, the thrill of three fan favourites in one weekend was a showstopper unto itself. I mean, with anime, comics, gaming, and more cosplays than it was possible to count, how could they go wrong? Well for starters, there was almost too MUCH to do!

First of all, NWFF took over two whole buildings at the University of British Columbia, as well as McInnes Field (for the many photo shoots). The first of these was the Student Recreation Centre, which was transformed into the glorious-to-behold Gaming Pavilion. Because this part of the Fest deserved its own building, I feel it deserves its own section here. Throughout the day, this was the place to be if you wanted to play just about any kind of game. For instance, it was where an assortment of card games were played, like the hilarious Cards Against Humanity, or everyone’s favourite, Magic: the Gathering, for which there was an epic draft tournament from 10 to 10 on Saturday.

Just look at all them tables

The proud winner of the LoL Tournament

LAN gaming got a lot of hoopla over League of Legends (there were two LoL photo shoots as well), but there was also a fair share of love for DOTA 2, Starcraft 2, and a few others.

Naturally, there were also a number of good old-fashioned video games (and yes, Tetris was amongst them), as well as a variety of party/board games. The Pavilion even had their very own gaming-oriented vendors’ area.

Meanwhile, everything else took place in the Student Union Building, or SUB, where we had the artists’ alley, main vendors’ hall, ballroom (where the majority of main events took place), some panel rooms, and even a courtyard where people could hang out during the day, or wait until nightfall for a concert or DJ-inclusive rave.

I spy with my little eye, many awesome things to buy!

I spy with my little eye, many awesome things to buy!

As misleading as the hoop may be, basketball was one of the few things not being played…

So while the options were seemingly endless, were they too much to handle? With so much to do, how’s a geek to choose? I, for one, made the difficult decision Sunday afternoon to attend the second, and final, round of the Walkoff. But what was I missing out on? Oh, just the debuting Homestuck Musical, a swordsmanship class offered by Vancouver’s own Academie Duello, and the Duct Tape Cosplay Contest. I know, all sound equally amazing, but as somebody left hanging after the first round on Friday, I just had to find out who was crowned King of Bishounen (and why). 

Hint: it was this beautiful boy right here.

However, there were many other incredible goings-on I had the pleasure of participating in, such as Friday’s 70’s-style Dating Game (18+) with contestants ranging from the Mario Franchise’s Wario to Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service. 

The event that took the cake though was the Costume Contest on Saturday. By far one of the most stunning displays of costuming skill I have ever had the good fortune to see, everything was thoroughly impressive, from the amateurs to the masters, and had the attendees screaming for more.

So little time…While it’s true that the tough scheduling choices didn’t take too much away from the overall convention experience, it felt at times that they were in over their heads with this one. Yes, there was something for everyone, and you could tell there was significant effort and time put into making this “three for the price of one” deal both exceptional and memorable, but there was definitely some room for improvement. And with that said, I think I will definitely be returning next year, looking forward to much more from this shiny new trio, and hoping for the best. G33k, out.

photo credits: Brydan Clough-Smith