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Tuks Anime and Gaming is a society on campus that offers students interested in anime and video games a platform to discuss and engage with other like-minded individuals about their favourite activities. Perdeby spoke to Thami Phakathi, secretary of Tuks Gaming, to discuss the society’s plans to bring back UPCon in 2017, as well as their plans for the rest of 2016.
Tuks Anime and Gaming would like to bring back UPCon in 2017. For those who do not know, could you please explain what exactly UPCon is? UPCon is the University of Pretoria Convention. It is pretty much like rAge and Geekfest, but [is hosted] at the university. The last UPCon was in 2011. Almost one thousand people attended, which was a great turnout. There were stands for comics, card games, gaming stands for PC and console, as well as LARPing (live-action role-playing) and cosplaying.
What happened to the convention that led to its discontinuation? It was discontinued mainly due to funding issues and getting people [interested enough] to support it. As of now, we are trying to send out surveys to all gaming groups across our university as well as other universities in South Africa, as well as non-university related gaming societies, so that we know if this is actually feasible or not. A good number of people are responding to the surveys, so hopefully we can get this [convention] up and running by 2017. Student feedback in regard to the survey is the most important part, because as a result we have decided different prices for UP and non-UP students, with the latter price being a little more expensive. This is to attract a lot of UP students, which will mean a lot more people joining the [gaming and anime] community, which in turn means that the community will stay alive. We’re just trying to make Tuks’s name more known in the gaming environment.
Why does Tuks Anime and Gaming want to bring the event back? We as a community know that there are gamers and people oncampus who love anime in general, but they don’t really have their own place or events to really [show off their interests], socialise and communicate with people. The wait between Geekfest and rAge is so long that we thought something in the middle, something that is Tuks’s very own thing, would be able to bring everyone together, and in addition to the [anime] screenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we feel like there is more we could do. We wanted [to do] something huge for our community, and it’s the one thing the university will allow us to do, provided we get the numbers needed so they don’t waste too much money on it.
How does the society plan to bring this event back in 2017? In addition to the surveys, we also plan to get sponsors, which we have already, but I can’t exactly give you their names as of yet. Another thing is just advertising the whole event itself and trying to get a good design for posters, so that when we put the posters up around campus people will be attracted to it, as well as the fact that we’re trying to revive the Tuks gaming mascot, which is going to be similar to rAge’s mascot, as well as trying to incorporate anime.
UPCon is set for March 2017. What events does the gaming side of the society have planned for the second semester of 2016? We have a draft of events for the rest of 2016. The gaming side of the society will be using Tuesdays and Thursdays for our meet-ups. We will be having card game matches every second Tuesday, and every Saturday we will be having what we call scrims, which are basically practice matches to [increase] their skills. We have also arranged dates during August, September and October, using holidays and any other days off from school where we will have a braai and gaming party. I will be [overseeing] League of Legends and Overwatch, and the gaming director will be [overseeing] DotA 2 and the card games. We will also be having one-on-one matches in games like Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, DotA 2 and Overwatch, where players who feel like they are up to the challenge will challenge each other one-on-one, and the winners will then
Photo: Ciske van den Heever