Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Game over

And so the adventure ends.

CamCon 2014 came and went. I attended, fully enclosed in my suit of home-made power armour.

Unfortunately there's a staggering paucity of photo documentation of it. A lot of people asked me to stop and pose for photos, including a few people with very professional looking kit, but only a handful of photos have emerged (along with one YouTube video where I make a brief, 10-second appearance).

Here's a few photos that did surface.

On stage with my armour.
Credit: Dan Arthur Jackson on Facebook

I'm Commander Shepard. Organiser does not look remotely amused.
Credit: UK OTAKU

I didn't win any contest - didn't even place*. That went to an incredible (and very deserving) Klingon warrior; her costume was straight out of TNG, to the point that it was only through talking to her I realised it wasn't store-bought. It had layers! LAYERS! There was also someone who had made a papier mache Ironman which had taken eight months to make, which was a really amazing effort, and probably as hot and sweaty as my armour. 

And that's only the surface. Bioshock's heroine, steampunk Judge Dredd, a 40k Commissar, and a plethora of anime characters and creations populated the convention. The effort people put in - the hours of dedication - were really on display.

And that's because, for almost everyone there, the competition was never the point. It was to celebrate their love of something else, or to achieve something for themselves. Personally, the point was that I said I'd do something for a friend, and threw my spare time and effort into making something I hope she liked. I made a promise to her, or at least to myself, three months ago while staring at a fridge.

Where did I park my spaceship?

You may think that's a staggering amount of effort - weekends of work for months - to be spent up in five hours, or even five minutes with the friend in question. I don't see it that way. The investment of effort was the purpose of Operation Mass Effect. A purpose that saw me apply myself to something I never thought I could achieve, and excel in a way I could not imagine. A purpose that forced me to a way of living - healthier, leaner - that saw me drop two stone. A purpose that channelled my enjoyment of a computer game into a project that produced something meaningful and worthwhile.

And, at the end of the day, that's that. The costume has now been retired to my games room, where it's going to sit, taking pride of place. I've always wanted to own a suit of armour. I just never thought I'd make it myself.

Final resting place.

* I assume I didn't place. We were never told how well we did. We were taken out of the arena when the judges announced the winner, and only told later what happened when the Con organiser came in and told the Klingon she'd won; after that I got a distinct 'surplus to requirements' vibe and went home. It was all a bit of an anticlimax to be honest, but hey ho.