It was a cold Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg. The cold front had hit the Highveld, but it did not discourage thousands of gamers, comic book fans and Cosplayers from attending one of South Africa’s largest gaming conventions, ICON.
Currently in its 21st year of existence, ICON has become one of the largest gaming events in Johannesburg that features a vast array of stalls and activities to enthral its many fans. ICON’s core focus has always been on comics, role-playing games, board games and the like. Some of the more popular franchises at the event were Warhammer 40k, Magic the Gathering and Pokémon. We set out to find out what it was all about, and boy were we surprised.
Upon arrival we were met by the event co-ordinator, Grant Charlton, who filled us in on the various activities and displays at the convention. We then proceeded to the Cosplay area, which showcased various ladies and gents dressed up as their favourite anime or video game characters. The Cosplay event was held by AI-Fest, a Johannesburg based company focused on bringing Anime-related entertainment to the people. Additionally, ITF Gaming had a chance to chat further with Grant Charlton regarding the starting point of ICON and its inner workings (The interview can be viewed in the video below).
While taking a look around the expo there was quite a large amount of stalls available to consumers, which specialised in role-playing items (swords, hammers, etc.), board games, card games, action figures, comic books, DVDs, t-shirts, the list goes on. There literally was something for everyone.
A tuck shop was set up that provided all the self-professed “dodgy” food served at ICON 2012. Proceeds made from the food sales were then donated to Lory Park Zoo in support of the upkeep of the animals. A very noble cause indeed.
Some of the more exciting activities held at the event included a Cosplay competition, role-play tournaments and intense Magic the Gathering games held across numerous rooms throughout the event location.
There was a lot to behold, and quite frankly, not enough time to go through it all; fortunately, ICON is held over a full weekend, so anyone in attendance could return to the event the following day, provided they had a weekend pass.
For those of you have not had the opportunity to attend ICON 2012… We have included an awesome video, which includes a brief walkthrough of the main hall and interviews with local and international Cosplayers. Additionally, the dynamic duo responsible for A.I Fest tells us a little bit more about the concept behind their brand.