Two lucky Screen and Film School Brighton students recently got the chance to go behind the scenes at the Brighton Anime and Gaming Convention, and we’ve got the inside scoop! Jump into Izzy Page’s diary below, where she reveals the day’s adventures…
Brighton Anime & Gaming Con Diary
Late last year, we were lucky enough to attend the Brighton Anime and Gaming Convention at the Old Ship Hotel.
The first thing we saw when we entered the building was a colourful array of attendees in cosplay. The lobby of the hotel was bustling with students, families, and people of all ages coming together to share their passion for games and anime.
Pokémon Cards and Mario Karts
Making our way through a labyrinth of stalls selling everything from Pokémon cards to geekdom themed cookies, we came across an indie game developer. He enthusiastically invited us to test his latest project, a roguelike RPG (which I was abysmal at). It was great to chat with the developer about his influences and how he got into indie development.
After this we explored the dedicated gaming section of the convention. The first room we found was filled with rows of retro games consoles, from the N64 to the PlayStation Classic. We took a moment to play Super Mario Sunshine and chat to the other attendees about their favourite games. A personal highlight was seeing parents introduce their childhood consoles to their own children.
There was a room dedicated to fighting games, and we took it upon ourselves to battle it out in Street Fighter 6. After several rounds of thoroughly unskilled button smashing, I came out victorious!
There was also space for independent artists to sell their wares. We chatted to each vendor and got to see each of their passions for gaming and anime. It was a real reflection of what communities can create surrounding the franchises they love.
We weren’t the only attendees relishing the competitive atmosphere, and we soon came across a room full of people crowded around a single TV. Shuffling behind everyone we were able to make out the most intense game of Mario Kart that we had ever seen. The victor was not only awarded with the glory of winning but also two free tickets for the following day of the convention.
Table-top gaming and interviews
By 1pm we had experienced a morning of intensive gaming and decided to regain some energy at the downstairs bar, which to our surprise was filled with an extensive range of board games: from classics like Monopoly to lore team-focused games such as Pandemic.
We sat down at our table and took in the vibrant colours, upbeat chatter and the occasional yell from a board game won.
Joining some seasoned tabletop players for a game, we started chatting about the best video game of all time, as well as their favourite video games. We found that would conjure up stories of emotion and nostalgia when talking about their favourite games. A good game, we learned, can be nothing short of instrumental to a forming a person’s identity and preferences from a young age, in the same way that movies and books can do.
Everyone we chatted to was incredibly open and eagerly listed a range of classic games and the occasional obscure entry. My personal favourite answer being a game called Imagine Dream Wedding for the Nintendo DS which, the player explained, provided a real source of childhood comfort for them.
The Main Stage
The highlight of the day was the main stage, which had a packed itinerary of events including dance, music, and talks.
We saw cosplayers dancing and lip-syncing to their favourite songs. There were also performances from an anime-inspired rap artist and a heavy metal artist who was influenced by traditional Japanese music.
All day we had been spying attendees dressed in all kinds of costumes. Joel and I spent hours marvelling at the craft, as well as testing our gaming knowledge, trying to identify the characters being cosplayed.
This all led up to the biggest event of the day: the cosplay masquerade. Cosplayers of all fandoms and ages lined up to display their hard work. When it was their turn to perform, they would step up on stage and sing, dance or simply give us a twirl. The most memorable performance must go to a cosplayer who was dressed as the puppet from Five Nights at Freddies, who treated us to a full-blown contortionist act.
Overall, our entire day was a joyfully surreal experience. It was so much fun to lose ourselves in the chaos and nostalgia found in every room. I would wholly recommend the convention for any fan of games, pop culture, and everything in between.