A while ago...
Jeroen den Hartog (one of the organizers of CampZone) asked if I wanted to compete in the cosplay contest during CampZone. This year there would be two competitions. Knowing Jeroen he would do his utmost to gather as much cosplayers as he could for the competition. I have never been to CampZone. I’ve heard about it of course, for example it’s been around for 18 years! It didn’t take long for me to say yes. I’m always up for an adventure filled with cosplay, competitions and games. Some months have passed and it was time to pack my bags and off I go to …. CampZone!
CampZone in short
CampZone is an annual event … with tents, who would have thought (insert sarcasm module here). Big army tents, filled to the brim with game setups brought along by the attendees. Where they will stay the next couple of days to do what they love most: gaming! There were also regular tents available, when you wanted to get some sleep in between games. During the event there were various game contests ranging from, Hearthstone, Mario Kart and various First Person Shooters. If you wanted to take a break from video games there were various other things to do. Like, live action Duck Hunt and a inflatable Whipe-Out track! There was something for every gamer. Let’s not forget the delicious kebab stall and other food trucks that where lifesavers to many who were peckish.
Cosplay contest in short
The ‘craftmanship’ contest would be held on Saturday. During this contest it’s all about your skills as a cosplayer. The points they watch out for are; how your costume and props are made, how your represent your character as well as how meticulous you are doing this.
On Sunday CampZone would host the Cosplay World Masters for the first time. This is a high-competitive contest where the winner gets to represent the Netherlands during the championships in Portugal in 2019. During this contest, they don’t just look at your costume, they also take in account how much of the costume you made and how much you bought (which is a pretty big deal during this contest!). The accuracy of your costume as well as your overall act are scored.
I had to laugh. I’m always up for a challenge, but this would be the first time I would perform an act. with my schooling I had some practice with standing in front of the class and just winging it, acting like everything is alright, while I really want to wet my pants ‘cause I’m that nervous. I’m the type that usually just needs an half hour of prep time, and my acts usually goes smoothly due to improvisation. The more I prep, the more nervous I get, thinking I might forget something. Anyway, this time around things went differently, but more on that later!
After the road trip to Kronenberg we got out of the car. Along with the BF we gather my two costumes out of our teeny weeny Peugot 207, after some surprised looks by passers-by (all that fits in that car?!), we were of to the main entrance. I went to the ‘Tentless-Nerds tent’ to stash my cosplays after which I went to set up my ’sleeping’ tent. The ‘Tentless-Nerds tent’ turned out to be a place where attendees could stash there game setup if they didn’t rent their own tent. I was excited! And almost game to attend next year but this time with my game setup.
The first thing I noticed was the mellow vibe. You could basically do what you feel like. What made me at ease was the fact that people didn’t think you were a weirdo if you’re a cosplayer. Normally I would get some dumb remarks about how we celebrate carnival 365, which is a remark I’m never fond of hearing. Over at CampZone everyone knows what cosplay is or are so caught in their own bubble playing video games.
Saturday Game Time !
Today I would be wearing my Roadhog cosplay from the game Overwatch. Nice, simple and pretty casual due to the heat, it was a blazing 34 degrees Celsius (or 93 degrees Fahrenheit)! Prior to the contest there were photo and video ops, where professionals photographers and cameramen would capture you in your costume. After the judges took a look at your costume and asked a couple questions, you could get ready to go on stage. Bob ‘the fire man’ dropped by to ask when you wanted the fire to blaze on stage. He also pointed out where the fire pits were, you know ‘cause you don’t want to set yourself on fire.
Just before I’d hit the stage I could hear the crowd. Cheerful, laid-back and a tad bit tipsy. Love it! That’s the kind of crowd you want, not that stale hardly up for it type. After my introduction I hopped on stage, let’s go! I came on sweeping and swooping my massive hook (that was linked up to a chain) and stomping all over stage. Dropped my weapons and … WHOOOOSH! Fire! While I took my last striking pose. That noise of the crowd, love it. That alone makes it amazing!
At the end of the contest the judges gave me an honourable mention for my act. Good to know I did something right!
Game On Sunday!
It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m changing in to my Monster Hunter outfit. This one thought keeps running through my head, why the heck did I enter this contest? I mean, my cosplays aren’t nearly as good as the other contestants, and don’t get me started about my acting chops.
So here I am, an insecure cosplayer about to compete in an international competition. Like yesterday we had our photo and video ops before we had to appear before the judges. I took the time in between to prepare my act. I took this time to glue myself in my suit. Yup, some magnets, had lost their ‘stickyness’ and didn’t attach like they should. Which resulted in my chest plate popping open all the time. Solution: glue it all shut till the end of the contest. Challenge accepted!
Remember how I said that I don’t need that much prep time? That everything would run smooth as butter? Yeah well, not this time hehehe. During rehearsal I head a loud CRACK in my foot, which I could also feel. While turning with this massive hammer, the tendon in my big toe decided to not cooperate. The big toe popped out of its socket. Ouch! I had to hit the stage in 25 minutes, the first aid post was a bridge to far, and I wasn’t going to take my shoe of, I mean I felt that my foot was getting bigger by the minute. I would get that toe taken care of after. I took a sip of water and a moment of zen before I had to go on. I was cheering and clapping every time someone came on or of stage, this helps me relax.
All my props were prepped and good to go. I sat down on stage and was ready for the show to begin. My foot kept on aching more, but I chose to ignore it. My accompanying music started, something didn’t feel right. Where all my props there? Inconspicuous, I was checking all the props, all this while doing my act. And then … I realised my biggest weapon was still outside. Luckily my friend was close by backstage. I quietly yelled ‘WHERE’S MY HAMMER!?’ She dashed off to get it.
Allright, I said to myself, act ruined. So, I improvised, halfway through the act I got my hammer. All in all I had a great time with my ‘Old Skool Gameboy act’ and received an awesome response from the crowd.
After I came off stage I wanted to go straight the first aid post. Remember I
glued myself in my costume? I went full on Hulk mode and ripped the chest plate off. Put on a casual shirt, and when on to the first aid post. While the nurse was setting my toe, the winners of the contest were announced. I didn’t win, which I was alright with me. I had my moment. The crowd’s reaction during my act was my reward. Even though I was in pain those two minutes.
When my toe was set, I wen to congratulate the winners and gave them a hug. One of the cool things of the cosplay community is that we help and support each-other. Who knows, the next time I could be the winner. Until that time I will enjoy this thing called cosplay to the fullest. The preparation , the creating, the wearing, and the enjoyment of it all.
We’ll see where this journey leads me. On to the next event, the next adventure!