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Icon Durban 2018 has come and gone, and what an event. It has a venue worth boasting about as well as enough stalls to keep anyone, everyone, entertained and coming back for more. This is year 4 for Icon Durban, and they have definitely grown bigger from the past few years with more stalls, more cosplayers, and even The Nerd Zone coming in with the first LAN for the Icon event.

This article will go through the three days of Icon Durban 2018, with pictures from the weekend as well as interviews from some of the stall owners. Let’s get right to it then shall we?

Day 1:

icon-2018-what-happened-pic16Friday was a quieter day for Icon Durban, which is to be expected when it comes to the opening day. A lot of stalls were still setting up and getting ready for the next 2 days when most of the foot traffic would be coming through. The venue itself is large enough to house the stalls that were there, with a smaller hall for The Nerd Zone LAN where the gamers could start their 52 hour LAN session.

I caught up with Imagination Costumes, who had the catchphrase of “lastminute.com”, referring to some of the pieces that he put together for the Icon weekend as well as some of the costumes he had designed for customers at his shop. Imagination is owned by Nicholas, his interview is below:

FTT: Can you explain a little bit about yourself and what your business is about?

Nicholas: I was in South Africa, then moved overseas for most of my adult life. I then decided to come back to South Africa and help out with the Imagination Costumes shop. We do costumes, craft, create and manufacture them. We also like to manufacture Mascots, and this is something I’ve been aiming at for a while now. We cater to all types of parties and people.

FTT: Where can people find you?

Nicholas: We take walk-ins and cater for the public. You can find us in Durban at Suite 4, St Elmo, 369 Che Guevara Road, Glenwood.

DotNerd were present, they were the company hosting The Nerd Zone LAN. This is the first time they were hosting the LAN at Icon Durban, and like any first time event, there were some definite growing pains. The internet left a lot to be desired, with it being on and off. This was not DotNerd’s fault, but rather the owners of the venue, unfortunately, you cannot control everything. They eventually sorted the internet out, but it was constantly up and down.

I caught up with Matt from DotNerd and had a quick chat with him about DotNerd, have a look below:

FTT: Hi Matt, thank you for your time. What is DotNerd, and how did you get involved with Icon Durban to organize The Nerd Zone?

Matt: DotNerd is a Web and IT-based solutions company. We have just broken into the eSports market with our hardware and Agents. We wanted to be associated with an event like this with the brands we have. So we originally came on as the core sponsors of Icon Durban 2018 and realized that there was a need to jump in to organize the LAN. We are very passionate about the eSports industry, playing games like PUBG, Dota 2, etc. We wanted to make this event 1) Fun, and 2) grow our brands like LesTech, ASUS, and A4Tech.

FTT: With regards to the internet issues, I understand this is a first-time event for DotNerd, what would your plan be for next year?

Matt: We want to better this even for next year by getting the Fiber and the infrastructure setup sooner. The internet issue was fixed on day 2, and we are working to make sure that the internet will be sorted for the future events.

FTT: Anything else you’d like to add?

Matt: It’s definitely blown our expectations out the water. We did not know what quite to expect as an IT company. We were quite surprised by how well we were received at a Cosplay and Table Top event. We would like to send a huge shout out to our Sponsors and the community or this humbling experience. We plan to learn from this year and make it bigger, better, more accommodating and an all round better experience for the next Nerd Zone LAN to come. We want to grow the Durban gaming industry and create an event to rival that of rAge and the Nag LAN, that is our dream.
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Day 2:

Day 2 kicked off really busy, with a lot more foot traffic. The LAN side of the event had also picked up with over 40 gamers setup ready to play in the CS:GO competition that was supposed to start at 2 pm. There was even a Hearthstone event that was ready to kick off. The knight fighters ring was up, and there were people kitted out in their medieval armor bashing each other with swords and axes, because why not? There was even a crowd cheering the combatants on, hoping that their friend in the ring would win.

I spoke to Cleo about Cosplay, on the day when the cosplayers came out and really showed what they had. Cleo helped with all the design work and setting up the banners and the signs for Icon Durban. Cleo is really passionate about those who cosplay.

FTT: Cleo, can you explain why people enjoy dressing up as their favorite characters

Cleo: Cosplay allows people to fit in an area where they wouldn’t fit in anywhere else. In real life, they could be a person who is quiet and shy, possibly even an introvert, who doesn’t fit in, but when they put on their outfit that they worked so hard on, they can be anybody, they can be somebody.

FTT: Would you say that is the goal of Icon Durban?

Cleo: Icon Durban is a space for everybody to find their place. A place to have fun and make new friends. To be part of a very warm and open community. There is a spot for everyone!

I met Foxi Cosplay, who dressed up as Harlequin from the DC Universe, the ever crazy Girlfriend of most people’s favorite villain, the Joker.

FTT: How long did it take you to make your outfit?icon-2018-what-happened-pic15

Foxi Cosplay: If I had to take out the work hours, and the weekends of doing things, it would have been approximately two weeks worth of work.

FTT: Why Harlequin?

Foxi Cosplay: Why not? She is definitely my favorite character. I’ve been in love with the character for a long time. I’ve been wanting to cosplay her for over 4 years now, but I wanted to be in the right frame of mind and in the right place, Icon Durban 2018 just came at the right time.

Day 2 was busy, and I cannot possibly cover everything. I do need to add that the Dungeons and Dragons were off the hook, and the tournaments for Magic the Gathering also bringing a crowd. The section where people could pull out old board games and get a game going is what Cleo was talking about, a section where you can make new friends while possibly learning about a new game. This was busy and I’m sure that a lot of friends were made.

Today also saw the Tekken 7 and the Hearthstone competition, which was mentioned above earlier, the turnout was impressive which saw 15 players competing for the Tekken 7 prize, which was a Backpack. The winner of Tekken 7 was Shaun. Hearthstone saw 7 players competing for a pro-gaming kit and the winner was Sebastian.

The CS:GO Tournament was busy as well with 2 teams turning up for the competition. The rounds were close with Prestige playing against Old School (GhostR’s team) and it was a really intense matchup. In the end, Prestige won due to a forfeit from Old School, but it was a close few games regardless.

Day 3:

Today I had the chance to interview a few more people. On the list was Lara who ran the Console Competitions as well as the Hearthstone competition, have a look below:

FTT: How did you get involved with Icon and the console competitions?

Lara: DotNerd approached me via Icon to come and assist them to come and run the Hearthstone event initially, it grew to the console competitions which included Tekken 7 and COD BOP 2.

FTT: Would you look at hosting this type of event again next Icon?

Lara: Definitely!

FTT: Anything you would like to say to those who didn’t make it to Icon Durban 2018?

Lara: They should definitely try to make it next year. The organizers are definitely looking at making it bigger and better.

icon-2018-what-happened-pic18I decided to use day 3 to not work too much and to actually just enjoy the event. I honestly had so much fun! I took part in the Knight Fight. I didn’t dress up in the full gear, but I had the opportunity to swing a fake sword around. In the end, the Knight won, I got absolutely destroyed.

I also jumped into a game of Dungeons and Dragons. My character is still at level 1, but it was something I had to do. I met some really awesome people and had a sick time!

There was an award for the Last Man Standing, this was the person who stayed up the entire 52 hours during The Nerd Zone LAN. It came down to 2 players, Haron and Christopher. The decision was made to have both of them verse the Knight in the ring, a one-vs-one fight until someone landed up on the floor. Haron was unfortunately destroyed, which saw Christopher winning the trophy, and probably in SERIOUS need of some sleep.

Finally, I got the total numbers for those who made it to Icon Durban 2018, and the final count was 1500+ people. Shelley also answered a few questions with regards to the event.

FTT: What made you get involved in Icon Durban?

Shelley: Durban has always had a strong geek and gaming culture but was sadly under-represented on the event front. The opening and success of stores like the Unseen Shoppe and the Batcave showcased how strong the culture is in Durban. Grant Charlton, who has run ICON Jhb for 25+ years, generously offered to help us out with starting an event and that was how ICON Durban (Previously ICON By the Sea) was born. None of us realized how much the community would embrace ICON Durban and the event has grown from year to year.

FTT: How do you feel Icon Durban 2018 went in your opinion?

Shelley: We were overwhelmed by the success of ICON Durban 2018. Attendee participation in events and activities was at it’s the highest level yet and I think there was a very happy atmosphere throughout the hall. We had a lot of new faces joining us this year (Vendors and visitors alike) and it was great to see the community give them all such a warm welcome. The fact that we nearly sold out on ICON Mugs in the first hour of the convention gives an indication on how involved our communities were this year.

FTT: Will there be an Icon Durban 2019, and what can we expect?

Shelley: ICON Durban 2019 is already in the planning stages and our team is hard at work making sure next year grows and improves upon the success of 2018. The inclusion of new experiences such as the Escape Room, Craft Workshops, and E-gaming this year proved a hit this year and we are already looking into other events, activities, and communities that we can add to the roster for next year.

icon-2018-what-happened-pic19In all, Icon Durban 2018 turned out really well. The turnout was great and I hope those who had stall were happy with the amount of foot traffic that came through. I keep talking about it, but Icon Durban has chosen an incredible venue, a place that suits their event’s needs. The setup of the venue, the placing of the stalls and the signage was perfect, and I can’t say anything against that. The Nerd Zone had a few starting issues with the network, the layout was adequate for a LAN and it looked like that those who pitched up enjoyed their time. The startup issues are to be expected, and I look forward to a bigger and better Icon Durban 2019. If you didn’t make it this year, keep your eyes and ears open for when they release the dates for next year because you don’t want to miss that! As always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the article and your experience at Icon Durban 2018.