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GottaCon 2012 Interview (Part 1)

GottaCon 2012 Interview (Part 1)

If you haven’t heard of it yet, the GottaCon Gaming Convention is an up-and-coming convention held once a year in Victoria British Columbia, Canada. The convention runs 24 hours a day for three days. With contests, tournaments, developer demonstrations, and thousands of gamers attending, GottaCon 2012 is starting to look like one of the biggest Canadian gaming conventions this year.

We had a chance to chat with Evan Hatch, one of GottaCon’s organizing heads during Cherry Bomb Toys‘ “8th Annual Hobby and Toy Fair” where we discussed GottaCon’s beginnings, its trials and tribulations, as well as its upcoming 4th annual show. We asked him why the convention is important to BC, and to Canada; and why gamers should pay attention to this BC-born gaming convention.

Check out the Part 1 of the 2-part interview after the break.

Photo Courtesy of GottaCon

JTM Games: So Evan, what is GottaCon?

Evan Hatch: GottaCon is a broad spectrum gaming convention where we feature fantasy and hobby-based games that individuals can come out and play all weekend long. Our event takes place from Friday to Sunday, 24 hours a day, and it’s pretty much non-stop.

It’s a great place for you to go and experience the games that you love to play with new people or with some friends that you normally don’t can’t get together with.

JTM Games: What inspired you and your partners to begin organizing the convention?

Evan Hatch: There were three of us originally that started GottaCon and we were all big convention fans. I moved here from Ontario and one of the first things I noticed was that there was really NO gaming convention here (Victoria, BC). And then after experiencing events like GENCON, PAX and whatnot, my partners and I decided that this was something that needed to be here given the demographic here in BC.

There’s a lot of University students here, there’s large gaming communities here, it just seemed like something that was missing and that we wanted to deliver. But not just a weekend half-assed sort of thing, we wanted to deliver a professional, fun experience to those people like us that enjoy these sorts of things.

Photo Courtesy of GottaCon

JTM Games: In the beginning, did you face a lot of difficulties when you first started organizing the convention?

Evan Hatch: Actually yeah we did. We faced a lot quite a bit of difficulties, specifically there’s a different mentality on the island (Vancouver Island). If people don’t know you or are unfamiliar with you, they’re reluctant to be open to what you have suggested.

That was one of the big obstacles. The other one was that in the past there have been some events run here that didn’t work out so well and some people were burnt pretty bad and that impacted our ability to get through to them and get them to have an open mind.

In the beginning, we were much more successful in getting participation from sponsors and vendors from the mainland actually, which really surprised me and it was really too bad because we really want to promote a community, an island-based event because there really isn’t anything here like that.

The attendees and the communities were all for the convention; they were very supportive from the beginning. But it was really hard getting the businesses to come to the forefront, help out and make the event successful.

JTM Games: Has there been a better acceptance and recognition of GottaCon with businesses since you first started?

Evan Hatch: Over time, it has become easier to run our event because now people realize that yeah we’re for real, and that yes we deliver quality and professionalism. We plan in advance; people are always surprised by that. I find it really inspiring but at the same time surprising that people are so taken aback by the fact that we’re out pounding the pavement six months in advance promoting our event and recruiting staff, hitting the sponsors and vendors. They’re just not used to that so that makes us feel pretty good about ourselves sometimes.

Photo Courtesy of GottaCon

JTM Games: Could you tell us what attendees can expect to see and play at GottaCon 2012?

Evan Hatch: At GottaCon 2012, you can expect to see a lot of the same things we’ve come to deliver over the last three years. This will be our fourth show; so you’ll see board games, trading card games, role-playing games, miniature-based games, and video games.

Our video game area will feature approximately a 70-person LAN with a BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) component. We’ll have a lot of free tournaments that are geared towards more having fun with smaller prizes and then we’re going to have premium branded events like StarCraft 2, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Counter-Strike. So basically all these big-name tournament games. Then at the computer LAN that will be branded premium where you can get a video game add-on, which will make you eligible to play on any of those tournaments and win any of the prizes.

And in the console side of things, we’re going to have a dedicated 16-system Xbox 360 LAN where we’ll run more competitive tournaments that are also included in the video game add-on, as well as fun tournaments. And we’ll also have 8 or more public play systems where you can just walk up and play games that have already been plugged in.

We’ll also feature first person shooters and fighting games. If you’re into miniature-based games, you’ll also experience the biggest miniature-based tournaments that are run this side of Ontario. We specialize in Games Workshop, 40K, as well as Privateer Presses, War Machine, and Hordes events.

There’s also going to be our costume contests; this will be the third year for our costume contest and it’s getting bigger every year which is great.

We are going to feature guests, workshops, and panels. We do have some local web series people coming out like Loading, Ready, Run and Standard Action, who have both become quite popular in the gaming communities and are now receiving significant web hits and promotion. We’ll also have guests discussing various video game topics or role-playing topics.

Finally, we’re also going to do some special events where going to do a version of “Minute to Win it” which is a TV show, with guests from hopefully Loading, Ready, Run and Standard Action. We’re just finalizing our talks with them.

JTM Games: Could you talk about some of the sponsors, vendors, and exhibitors for GottaCon 2012?

Evan Hatch: Our sponsors and exhibitors this year? We have a variety of local-based vendors and sponsors. Some of our bigger sponsors this year include Games Workshop, Wizards of the Coast, and Kingston Technologies is supporting us.

We’re in talks with some of our sponsors from last year like Logitech, Steel Series, and Plantronics. We’re hoping to bring them back. We’re working with LANcouver and they’re going to help us run our LAN setups again this year.

EVO Games is going to be running our console-based stuff once again. We’re gonna be striving to deliver a more professional and organized tournaments in that area in particular.

*END PART 1 of the Interview*

The GottaCon Gaming Convention will be held on February 3 to 5 at Pearkes Recreation Centre in Victoria, British Columbia Canada. Ticket sales have begun on October 24th so purchase your tickets now while they’re still available.

There are different prices for each day as well as a full weekend pass price, family package prices, special packages which include entry into some of the major events as well as the option to add on a premium video game pass and/or a GottaCon 2012 t-shirt and dice set.

Check out the second part of our interview with Evan Hatch which will be published on October 30, 2011.

For more information on GottaCon 2012, please visit their website: http://www.gottacon.com/

Or contact Evan Hatch at: ehatch@gottacon.com

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About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming. http://jtmgames.com/

Posted on October 29, 2011, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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