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The Blue & Gray Press | December 11, 2017

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UMW holds first ‘washicon’

By TRICIA CALLAHAN

For the very first University of Mary Washington “Mary Washicon,” many students in the Renaissance Club wore traditional 1600s attire. Right beside them, a student from the J.A.D.E. anime club wore an orange wig and anime gear.

The idea to create a club exhibition at Mary Washington turned into an all day and all night demonstration with four UMW clubs—The Renaissance Club, the J.A.D.E. Anime Club, the Fencing Club, and the Orpheus Film Club.

The Mary Washicon, held in Great Hall March 16,  was an idea developed by senior John Bowers.

“This year we just wanted to see if we could pull it off,” Bowers said.
At the entrance, these clubs each set up tables to provide information and entertainment for students and onlookers.

Bowers said that the clubs had active involvement this year.
“They share a lot of the same members which made it easier to organize them,” Bowers said, explaining how the Sci-Fi fans and the Renaissance club ended up together.

“If you think about it, that is an odd combination,” he said.
Options for this event included a “Mario Super Smash Brothers” video game tournament, which students had to sign up for earlier in the day.

Besides information booths, there were two film rooms set to screen films provided by J.A.D.E.  and the Orpheum Film Club.  J.A.D.E. showed movies like “Cowboy Bebop,” while the Orpheum Film Club showed movies like “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

Zachary Whalen, assistant professor of English, also gave a presentation covering the basis of the cultural legitimacy of video games.

Whalen, who this semester is teaching courses electronic literature and graphic novels, received a warm welcome and shared new perspectives with the attendants.

At one point in his presentation, he talked about controversial games like the RPG (role playing game) called “Super Columbine Massacre” and “JFK Reloaded.” Whalen explained how these games force society to think about political and historical moments.

After the speech, approximately 20 people gathered around the Washroom television to compete in the “Super Mario Smash Brothers” afternoon tournament. Competitors battled with their Pickachu’s and Princess characters in hopes of becoming the winner.

Bower said he was very satisfied with the first UMW “Mary Washicon,” given that it was a rainy Sunday and the first event of its kind.

“We figured that a lot of students here would have no idea what an entertainment con is, so we tried to do and show things that you wouldn’t have to be a fan to appreciate,” Bowers said. “Our hope was to create an event which would allow other members of our community to experience our passions in a open friendly way.”