Second Escapist Expo begins Friday

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

Visitors who venture to the Carolina Theatre, Durham Armory and Durham Convention Center this weekend might see cosplayers, a humans vs. zombie battle, and displays of comics, new video games and other merchandise.

Speakers and panels will discuss topics like the impact of science on game design and the rise of online streaming.

The second Escapist Expo begins Friday and continues through Sunday. Last year’s first expo drew about 5,600 attendees, said Alexander Macris, organizer of the expo and founder of the Durham-based Web site That success prompted organizers to try again.

“We’ve made it roughly twice as large,” Macris said. “[We’ve] action-packed all sorts of content into the weekend.”

The Durham Armory is a new venue for the expo this year, Macris said, and the expo’s presence in the Carolina Theatre will expand.

“I’d like to break 7,000,” he said of attendance for this year’s expo.

Macris started Escapist Magazine in 2005. The online magazine has news and reviews about games, comics, anime and technology as related to the gaming world.

As participation from regular columnists and contributors grew, “we decided we wanted to take the experience to the real world,” and the Escapist Expo was born, Macris said.

A number of guest speakers and panelists are scheduled to appear this weekend. Among them is Lisa Foiles, who is known for her work on the Nickelodeon show “All That.” She also is a game enthusiast, and contributes a weekly video titled “Top 5 with Lisa Foiles” at Escapist Magazine. Other panelists include Paul Saunders, one of the founders of LoadingReadyRun, an Internet comedy company in British Columbia; and Yahtzee Croshaw, author of the fantasy novel “Mogworld.”

No gathering like this would be complete without a cosplay contest in which attendees dress as their favorite comic, anime, fantasy or science fiction character. Finalists in this Saturday contest will appear on the Fletcher Hall stage at the Carolina Theatre in the afternoon. A humans vs. zombies contest will go on throughout the expo weekend. (Both the cosplay and the humans vs. zombies battle require sign-ups.)

Game enthusiasts can learn and play board and console games in two open-play areas. Gavin Dunne, the creator of the “Miracle of Sound” music videos, and other expo guests will perform during the Saturday Night Shindig at Motorco Music Hall.

With companies like Red Storm, Epic and Funcom in the vicinity, “the Triangle area is an East Coast hub for video games,” Macris said.

Durham has the same feel that the South by Southwest festival in Austin had in its beginnings, Macris said, “and I would love to see Escapist Expo grow to similar proportions.”


For a complete schedule of events, visit