There is a saying that all good things must come to an end and it is with a very sad heart that I write this. Finally after waiting hours in Belfast airport I am home and writing this update. This weekend saw Belfast’s largest gaming/anime/cosplay event Q-Con XXV, an event that has been run by Queens University Belfast’s Dragonslayers for the past three decades and something that I have been involved with for many years.
Q-Con is a non profit convention run by a team of extremely talented and dedicated individuals who work extremely hard each year to bring a bigger and better show for the masses and this weekend saw the final incarnation of the convention at its home of the QUB Students Union as the iconic building is being demolished to make way for a new one at the end of the summer!
The convention has been growing almost exponentially since 2003, going from a couple of hundred folks per day, to several thousand, and is for many (myself included among that number!) one of the highlights of the year! Covering all aspects of gaming from board and wargames and roleplaying games, right through to computer and console games as well as anime and cosplay. There is literally something for everyone at Q-Con.
The event is now so large that it has in recent years had to be split among several parts of the campus and often on several floors, from the huge trade hall, to the large area hosting the computer games and consoles, and of course the rooms playing host to the other events, including a cinema, and much more!
Running from Friday evening, through till the closing ceremony on Sunday evening, the event has been getting busier and busier for the past ten years solid and though this is the last Q-Con at its home, it may have actually outgrown it!
Over the years there have been many guests at the con, from comic book artists to games designers and more. This year one of the highlights for hundreds of gamers was that of John Romero, a legend in games design and one of the founding fathers of the modern computer games industry. John was more than happy to sign any of the vast number of games he had worked on in the past for his eager fans, and even managed to go one on one with many of them on one of the games he is most famous for, the classic computer game DOOM! Needless to say nobody managed to win against John, though one lucky punter did give him a very good run for his money!
The games hall had its traditional run of both wargames and roleplaying games over the course of the weekend, and I helped out with demos of Modiphius Entertainments excellent Fallout: Wasteland Warfare on the Saturday, which was great fun and very well received. My many thanks to the very talented Martin Toney for all his help. Click on the photo to see all of the images.
As already mentioned, there is something for everyone at Q-Con and always something to do! Click on the photo below to see some images taken around the convention floor!
I have been extremely lucky enough to have been able to run the quiz for the last two decades now, seeing it grow from just a handful of people in a room, to one of the largest pub quizzes in the UK if not the world! The quiz has become one of the focal points of the convention for many and it has now come to the point that we need to use a full pa system in the large Speakeasy bar to be heard (though trying to be heard over around 700 people singing the Pokemon theme tune can be really difficult, even with a microphone!). This year was the largest we have ever done with around 700 players taking part and once again I ran the quiz with my dear friend and fellow quiz master Andrew Gordon for the twelfth time together (only missing out last year when my other good friend Len Prescott stepped in). The heat on the stage this year was almost impossible to bear but we survived, just! Many thanks to all the wonderful team who marked the answers for us and the very lovely Ms Alexandra McCusker for inputting the details and looking out for us! Click on the photo to see images from the quiz.
Like many conventions these days, Cosplay and Cosplaying is a very important part and the Belfast crowd sure love to show off how great they are at making costumes. The entries into the competition were amazing and I am very glad that I was not one of the judges as it was so difficult to pick out winners among the excellent costumes, but they did and you can check out the results below. Please note that I have not had the time to edit these images and as a result some may be blurred. Click on the photo below to see the full competition and its winners
So sadly all good things do come to an end and as I said at the start of this post, it was with a heartfelt farewell that we bid goodbye to the old venue and the hundreds of amazing memories it has given so many over the years! What will happen in the future for Q-Con? I don’t know to be honest, but if fate allows and the gods are willing there will be a great future for this amazing convention, though not at the historic SU location. A bigger venue is needed given the size of the con and how fast it has grown and I can say hand on heart that it may not be the biggest convention in the UK but it is by far one of the best and then some! I have seen people grew from young adults into having their own families, get married and more over the years and I am sure that a new venue will only add to the vast bank of memories that we cherish forever!
I feel honoured and humbled to have been just a small part of Q-Con for so long and would like to thank Jonathan Glover, Richard Philips, Ben Harrison, Killian McKeever, Craig Stafford, Paul Fletcher, Keith Frizzell, Niall Bole, Jeremy Bennett, Darryll Nichole, Christina Lauro Pollock, Nadine Reading, Tasha Montgomery, Chris McWatters, Tory Hogg, Mickey Donnelly, Colin Man, Alexandra McCusker, John-Joe McCorley, Asta Hewitt, Holly Grimes, Eunan Marley, Jennifer Johnson, Caro Odinson, Sammy Stewart, Louise Croft, Richard Boyd, Richard Kyle, Rick Knell, Tracey Gibson-Quigley, Ellen Murray, Andrew Carson, Andrew Shepherd, Paul Taylor, Alyssa MacPherson, Benn GrayBeaten, Joe Arnoud, Jan Stanek, Bill Heron, Robert Stewart and the hundreds of convention volunteers who have helped out over the years (sorry if I have missed anyone out its late and this is from memory). Without you amazing people, Q-con would have just been a convention like most others, you breathed the very life into it and made it so wonderful to attend.
Finally I would also like to thank my amazing family Scott and Karen Charrington, Len Prescott, Phil Whice, Ryan Hamilton, Lee McGarrell, Katie Kat, Alice Robinson, for decades of laughter, fun and craic and above all else friendship. You my friends are Cthulhu Team.
And with that I will utter the final clarion call
CTHULHU TEAM DISASSEMBLE!
June 26th 2018