This weekend saw Q-Con XXVI at the Whitla buildings of Queens University Belfast, a convention I am very proud to say I have been involved with for the past two decades!
Held Friday August 30 through to Sunday September 1st, the convention returned to former stomping grounds of Whitla as the former venue of the SU building is about to be demolished to make way for a bigger and better venue.
Held as always by the largest games club in Northern Ireland Queens University Belfast’s ‘Dragonslayers’ the show attracted a huge crowd, despite having moved to a much smaller venue.
With everything from Cosplay competitions to cinemas and of course gaming, the show had something for everyone, and Sunday was given over as usual to the families who could take advantage of easier parking and get a family ticket with a reduced entry price, something that more cons should think of doing!
Special guests included John Romero the co-founder of id Software and designer for many of their games, including Wolfenstein 3D, Dangerous Dave, Hexen, Doom, Doom II, and Quake, along with his wife and fellow games designer Brenda. The couple was always ready and willing to pose for photos and sign things for people and John once again proved he is the master when it comes to Doom in the challenge set down last year, played to a packed theatre.
Dozens of traders packed the trade hall which had a lot easier a ccess this year being on a lower floor, and trade was brisk due to the sheer volume of people coming through the doors. Many of the regular traders who I spoke with and who have been coming to the show for years said that this was one of the best shows for them to date!
The Artist Alley this year was beyond compare and had a huge selection of amazing artwork from hand made soaps too bespoke sketches and paintings and many wonderful artists willing to carry out commissions. The room was busy throughout the weekend and again had a lot of footfall.
Computer games and console games are a huge part of Q-Con and each year they seem to get bigger and better with many tournaments taking place, with very fierce competition and this year was no different, apart from the fact that the events took place on a thirty foot screen for everyone to see! Lots of crowd interaction too as they cheered on the players.
A full-floor of roleplaying games, with dozens of games being run throughout the weekend, was topped off by a very large area given over to board games that could be borrowed for free from the vast library of Dragonslayers. This was one of the busiest parts of the convention with dozens of people playing a whole host of board games over the course of the three days and even spilled into the cafe area once it was closed.
Cosplay is a big thing at conventions these days and nowhere seems to take it as seriously, yet with a real air of fun, something that a lot of other cons could pay attention too. Lots of amazing costumes that covered a lot of styles and genres, with most being anime related but a lot of games and movies too. And it was great to run into those legends Justin and John from On Table Top in their hand made Cadian Imperial Guard uniforms they looked amazing!
Of course its not just about gaming and anime, there is music, dance, comedy and much more at Q-Con and it is difficult to take everything in as there is so much going on each day! The cinema showed cult movies, and John Robertson brought his highly praised show ‘The Dark Room’ to the convention and went down a storm
Add to this live music and you are onto a winner!
As usual, on Saturday evening I ran the Q-Con quiz though this time my partner in crime was not available so I had to do the whole thing solo. Things were going okay till we had a really bad technical issue with the sound (again I must apologise) but were brought to a head when someone hit the fire alarm and we had to leave the building, not much fun when you have over 400 people involved. Thankfully the quiz was all but over by that point, but it did mean that the next event, a late-night showing of the cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show couldn’t go ahead sadly.
Before I knew it the weekend was over far to quickly and it was time to head back home! I would like to thank all of the hard-working volunteers at Dragonslayers who give up their time to help run this well organised event, and especially to Ben Harrison, Richard Philips, Paul Fletcher, Craig Stafford, Johnathan Glover, Louise Croft, Tori Hogg, Sophie Mullholland, Michael Wolfie McLoone, Alyssa Macpherson, and everyone involved in making Q-Con the best show in Northern Ireland and possibly one of the best in the UK once again!
Here is a link to the gallery of images taken over the weekend, please feel free to use them but if you do so on social media please tag me and don’t remove the copyright from the image, thanks.