Platform 2012: Gamers and cosplayers gather in Hull (pictures)
STORMTROOPERS, comic characters and gamers are gathering in Hull for a weekend of digital entertainment at the Platform 2012 expo.
In amongst stalls and displays showcasing the very latest technology in the gaming industry, wander the likes of Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle, Call of Duty's Ghost and and Roxy Lalonde from the web comic Homestruck.
The characters are all there to show off their "cosplay", a form of performance art where people dress up as their favourite characters from computer games, cartoons and science fiction.
Up until the launch of Platform 2012, cosplayers would have to visit conventions in London or the Midlands to show off their costumes and acting abilities.
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But the event now gives Northern cosplay fans a chance to participate in the art on their doorstep.
Rachel Conroy, 20, from Leven, and Hannah Coote, 19, from Driffield, chose to dress up as Sophie and Howl from the animated film Howl's Moving Castle in costumes they made themselves from scratch.
Rachel explains: "I have been involved in cosplay for about four years. It is just acting in public really, like a form of role play.
"A lot of cosplayers are quite introverted really but you always find that no matter who you are you are automatically accepted by other cosplayers. We are really pleased there is now a cosplay event in Hull."
Katherine Coates, 17, of Leconfield, who was dressed as Stein from the anime Souleater, agrees.
She says: "To take part in events you usually have to sit for hours on a train to go to one of the conventions or expos. It is great that Platform 2012 has a cosplay event.
"The expo, which has been running for three years, also gives people involved in the digital sector in chance the chance to showcase their talents and devlop business opportunities.
Michael Tierney, of the Hull-based apps design and development company The Triune, believes the platform is an ideal opportunity for businesses and individuals in the digital sector to network.
He says: "There are three of us involved in The Triune and we all met at Platfrom last year. The event brings people together and we need something like this in Hull."
Exhibitors include international games company, Ubisoft, which is hosting a Just Dance 3 stage and bringing 'live' Rabbids from Rayman Raving Rabbids, while Hedon retailers Game People are showcasing demos from PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Speakers include Charles Cecil, MBE, of Revolution Games, Mark Estdale of OM, the UK's most experienced dialogue production team working with video games; Steve Ince, an award-nominated writer and designer with 18 years of game development experience; comic artist and illustrator Sonia Leong; Arif Majothi of Arif Games, and Missy Tetra, an award-winning cosplayer.
Platform 2012 takes place today until 6pm and on Sunday March 18 from 10.30am to 3pm at the University of Hull, Cottingham Road.More information is available by visiting www.platformexpos.com