Zombies, cosplayers and humans invade downtown

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 07:06 PM

Outside the Durham Convention Center Friday, humans and zombies, wearing orange head bands that designated their respective loyalties and armed with Nerf guns, began a battle that will continue through Sunday during the second annual Escapist Expo.

The humans-vs.-zombies battle is all in good fun.

Matthew Moiczek of Virginia was volunteering at the Expo and was waiting his turn to play a zombie. The game is played on college campuses worldwide, Moiczek said. Moiczek was working his volunteer shift at the entrance to the Carolina Theatre.

“As soon as I’m off [duty], I’m running toward them,” he said.

Ryan Snyder of Goldsboro was at his first Escapist Expo, playing the part of a human. “This is fun, I gotta say,” Snyder said. It’s also a good community builder, he said. He was playing with team members he had met for the first time.

A number of cosplayers, clad in costumes portraying their favorite characters, were also out and about. Cara Alexander of Denver, N.C., and her friend Zac Hegwood of Asheville were dressed as characters from the Skyrim video game. Their friend Josh Doub of Asheville dressed as the character Amon from “The Legend of Korra” animated television series. All three made their costumes from scratch.

Doub made his mask using papier-maché and acrylic paint, his first effort at mask-making, he said.

Hegwood, a literature major at UNC Asheville, also had academic reasons for coming to the expo, to study games from a literary perspective.

“I’m actually here on undergraduate research to study the emotional reaction gamers have to the medium,” Hegwood said.

Cedric Hurst is studying video game design at Wake Technical Community College, and came to the expo to explore some of the new games on the market.

Courtney Armstrong of Charlotte, dressed as the Peppermint Maid from the cartoon “Adventure Time,” also made her own costume. Armstrong was with the North Carolina Chapter of the group D20 Girls, a national group that promotes a positive image for young women who are costume and game enthusiasts. (“We are nerdettes of the highest quality and love it,” their Facebook site states.)

The organization volunteers at events like Escapist Expo, animal shelters and other community events and is open to women ages 15 and above, said Momo Soto, assistant manager of the D20 chapter for eastern North Carolina. The D20 Girls will judge a cosplay costume contest during today’s events.

This year’s Escapist Expo has expanded to include the Convention Center, the Carolina Theatre and, for the first time, the Durham Armory. Vendors with games, clothes and other items had their goods for sale in the Convention Center, where participants can play new video games. At the Armory, participants were learning to play Magic the Gathering, a story-driven playing card game.

The Escapist Expo is an offshoot of Escapist Magazine, a Durham-based online magazine of news and reviews about games, comics, anime and technology. The Expo continues today and Sunday with contests, panel discussions and more.

For information on this weekend’s events, visit www.escapistexpo.com.