Malik Rahili

Gamers, cosplayers and nerd enthusiasts gathered in Plemmons Student Union on Saturday for The Appalachian Nerd Network’s fourth annual Nerdcon.

The Nerd Network hosts Nerdcon as a place for nerds to come together, event coordinator Aaron Scott said.

“Nerds in general, I hate to say this, they’re not the most social people in the world,” Scott, a senior anthropology major, said. “This is a great opportunity for people to come out, meet people of similar interests and socialize and do things like make these amazing cosplays, show their creative side.”

One of the main events of Nerdcon was the cosplay contest held in Linville Falls. Cosplay, short for costume play, is a type of performance art where people buy or make homemade costumes that resembles their favorite video game, movie, television, anime or manga character.

Twenty students and community members came to show off their costumes and compete in a contest for various prizes in front of a large audience that was overflowing out of the door.

Ben P’Simer, who cosplayed as the famous villain Pyramid Head from the “Silent Hill” series, won the prize for the nerdiest costume at the contest. After competing in three cosplay contests, P’Simer said he loves the attention he receives during them.

“[Cosplaying] is just awesome,” P’Simer said. “[It is] a giant ego boost when you make good stuff and people say ‘Man, that’s really awesome’ or ‘That’s really cool.’”

Many Nerdcon attendees were dressed up as popular characters such as Thor and the Ghostbusters, as well as less popular characters like Pyramid Head or Ruby Rose from “RWBY.”

The cosplay contest was one of the main attractions, but it was not the only event.

Grandfather Mt. Ballroom hosted a large video game free-play for the entirety of the event. Attendees could play games like “Super Smash Brothers” or “Call of Duty” against one another.

Card game enthusiasts also had a place to have a Magic: The Gathering Journey Into Nyx prerelease tournament and tables set up to bring their own card games to play.

Roan Mountain was the center for tabletop gaming, where attendees could come and play games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Pokemon Style RPG. There were two tabletop sessions for each half of Nerdcon.

The Nerd Network in conjunction with F.A.R.M. Cafe hosted a charity auction with items donated by members, vendors and local businesses

Throughout the student union, there were panels and discussions on topics ranging from Marvel vs. DC and which Pokemon generation is the best. At some panels, there were special guests like the Carolina Ghostbusters and the Appalachian Apparators Quidditch team.

The cosplay contest was not the only competition at Nerdcon. There was a  drawing contest – Comigeddon, cooking contest – Buffet the Food Slayer and Heta-lympics, where participants represented their favorite country or fandom and competed in Olympic style events. The Nerd Network also hosted a trivia match.

In the Blue Ridge Ballroom, vendors from across the state sold a multitude of items to the Nerdcon attendees. Items ranged from jewelry, stuffed animals and hand-crafted wands.

There was also a party called the notRave where participants gathered in Parkway Ballroom to dance.
Nerdcon went from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and was open for anyone to come and participate.

Story and photos by  Malik Rahili, Visual Managing Editor