A Sea Of Cosplayers, Comic Con Africa!
This past weekend, Kyalami Grand Prix circuit & International convention center was home to the first ever Comic Con Africa. For 3 days straight gamers, geeks, cosplayers and the general public got to experience the famous Comic Con. An event that is home to fiction/science fiction and fantasy films, comic books, gaming, gadgets, cosplay, clothing and much more. These 3 days were a scorcher which was a nice change to the icy cold weather we had been experiencing for the past few weeks. Friday morning started off with the GameZBoost team all dressed up and ready to take on Comic Con. Once we arrived at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, cones were spread out directing cars in the right direction so that there was no chaos and build up of traffic. As for parking, we ended up so far behind the race track, walking roughly 1.2 kilometers to the entrance in your cosplay outfit was both uncomfortable and tiring. let alone after an exhausting day of walking around and experiencing every bit of Comic Con and then having to walk back to your car in the scorching heat. There were thousands of people so I understand why parking was few, but surely a better plan could have been made by providing shuttles for groups of people especially with children. Finally, we reached the entrance and glanced upon the sea of cosplayers in their extravagant outfits ready to make the most of this experience. From the atmosphere to the music and the smell of many delicious foods in the air, we were ready to explore.
Standing at the entrance was a large CCA sign in different colors that stood for Comic-Con Africa, whilst a trail of food and beverage trucks were spread throughout grounds. The first structured tent that you enter through was packed with people trying to get a glance of each stall, some stalls sold comic books, artwork, gadgets and more while others were there to promote their company and what they do. The stall with the largest crowd and ques was the Comic Con Africa merchandise store. Many people wanted some sort of memorabilia as this was the first Comic Con Africa. The door at the end of the tent opened up to the outside where you walked up the ramp and into the Fear Tunnel! As you enter, the sides of the tunnel are covered in material with zombies all over, trying to give the illusion of a dark and scary tunnel. Throughout the tunnel there were only 3 scary zombies, personally I would have liked more zombies as the 3 were spread out far from each other.
Finally, you walk into the main building. The sound of the amping, upbeat music gets your heart racing with excitement as the building is lit up with colorful laser lights and decor. In front of you is a team tapping away at their keyboards trying to stay alive in their games, while a giant laptop structure and screen flashes with electric colors and images. The queue lined up against the laptop as each person wanted to get their hands on the VR set so they could slice cubes coming their way with 2 virtual lasers. Walking along their where some massive big-name gaming brands that had gadgets and equipment that you could test out and buy. There were large exhibits showcasing games with Screens attached to any standing surface so that you could grab a remote and play for free. While some exhibits ha a variety of different games to test out and play, others were purely for one game, such as Shadow of the Tomb Rader. Shadow of the Tomb Rader exhibit was put together in a way that made you feel like you were inside a cave. With an enclosed space and shrubbery hanging from the sides, there were 12 screens with remotes that you could go and play the game on. A truly cool experience. Towards the end just before the main stage was a VS gaming stage where teams battled it out in Counter-Strike: Global Offense while the audience could sit and watch in suspense. There was another VS gaming stage on the opposite end up the stairs that saw teams battle it out in Dota 2 while the crowd cheered, supported and encouraged them. Upstairs was home to more stall as well as a sit-down table and chair area where you could play gaming cards and board games.
The main stage was just outside the Counter-Strike Gaming station and was light and bright but very stuffy the moment an international guest was on stage. The crowds flocked to get a glance, all stuffed in one room just so that they could have the bragging rights to say they saw their famous icon and was in the presence of them. Myself being a shorty could only say I saw them on the screen at the top of the stage. Although Kevin Sussman did walk straight past me and I felt like I was in a scene of The Big Bang Theory! There were 2 structured tents at the back where you could go and get a photograph of your favorite guests as well as their autograph. Unfortunately they were not free and you did have to pay a price. Below the 1st floor was the ground floor that held even more stalls. All stairs varied from comic books to arts to collector's items and even 2 tattoo stands where you could get a tattoo. One of the biggest stands downstairs was the Funkopop stand as all Funkopops were being sold for R99 Rand each! I mean come on, if that's not a bargain I don't know what is. Outside in the beautiful sun was a huge bouncy castle and booth set up by Netflix promoting their new animated series called Disenchantment. I absolutely loved the series and binge watched it in a couple of days, so I was definitely on that bouncy castle and taking a photo by the poster. The really cool thing was that if you took a photo by the poster with the props and put it on Instagram with a certain hashtag, that picture would be printed for free. After a long day of exploring the GameZBoost team was ready to refuel and boy was there a variety to choose from. There was smoked beef, burgers, wraps, pizzas, Indian food, Mexican food, donuts, ice cream you name it and they had it. We snacked on some pulled pork burgers, samosas, nachos and then to finish it off, a round of delicious mini donuts. With some more exploring, we were defeated and ready to hit the road. It was an eventful day filled with great experiences and things to see and do.
As the weekend has drawn to a close, we hang up our cosplay outfits and starts planning for next years Comic Con Africa!