The Entertainment expo, ARMAGEDDON, returns to the ASB showgrounds this October 24th to 27th!
An amazing long weekend of events not to be missed! Starting with a special opening night from 6pm to 9pm Friday 24th then three full days of action and adventure from Sat 25th (10am to 6pm), Sun 26th (10am to 6pm) and Mon 27th (10am to 5pm).
Auckland biggest entertainment event featuring Massive gaming displays, a Burning man, Comics, Wrestling, Music, Animation, Amusement rides, TV and Movie stars, League of Legends, Costume events, Screenings, contests, collectibles, zombies, Special guest stars RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON and JENNA COLEMAN, plus so much more!
There are three things Armageddon Expos have become known for - Celebrities, Cosplay and Games. This year was no exception... with extras!
Spread across four days, the expo started with the preview day on Friday. This opened at 6:00pm and it was well worth getting there early if you wanted to avoid parking miles away. Getting to this event half an hour before the gates opened still had me risking a lengthy walk, but I was able to grab one of the last on-site car parks available. At 7pm there was a special movie-length screening of the sci-fi series "Defiant" - which was worth sitting down for! Especially as it ended in time to head outside and enjoy a cool breeze and the start of Burning Man shortly afterwards. While brief, the Friday is good for those wanting to avoid the stunningly monster crowds that presented themselves on the weekend.
Saturday rolled around, and I was grateful for the Media Passes, because the queue to get in was even longer than years previous. I later found out that over 70,000 bods passed through the event, most of whom were multi-day attendees like myself. The biggest drawcard of Saturday, bar none, was the celebs. With around 30 famous faces - some more famous than others, depending on your genre-of-choice - all attending so patrons could get their photos and autographs, ask them questions, hear their stories, and basically find out more about the people behind the characters. The two top-ranked drawcards though were Richard Dean Anderson - famous firstly as MacGyver, then later as Jack O'Niell in Stargate SG1 - and Jenna Coleman - The " Impossible Girl" from the most recent seasons of Doctor Who - but they were simply the choc-dipped tip of the celebrity iceburg. You had stars from sci-fi, fantasy, literature, animation, TV and the big screen... all rolled into one stunning expo.
For those who prefer a little more personal interaction in the event, there was of course the Cosplay, Fear Factor, Eating Contests and the outdoor fairgrounds and amusement rides, including the "Live Gaming" crew from Laser Combat Auckland who put on some great action for the kids (of all ages. ;) )
Then, of course, you had the hands-on card and video games from all the big brands - Microsoft Xbox, Sony Playstation, Activision, Ubisoft and Warner Brothers, even League of Legends put on a heck of a stunning showcase stand, with huge screens to show of the tournament they were running. Even Frucor were there with their "V 360" rig so you could get a "bullet time" style shot of yourself.
Retailers also made a stronger appearance this year, with an increased amount of space making it a lot less hassle to move around, except in a couple of key spots where huge bottle-necks built up quickly and wouldn't break down. I got trapped in one, and it took me nearly an hour to travel a mere 50m in a straight line. In the end, it was quicker for me to move across the flow - easily done since it made room for someone else to get half a step closer to their goal - and walk around the OUTSIDE of the buildings, to approach my goal from another angle. Still... these things are par for the course at any event such as this, so while I see it as a major frustration, I can't lay it on the doorstep of Armageddon organisers, who somehow managed not to go utterly insane throughout the chaos. "Dedicated" doesn't even begin to describe them, I think.
While it would be easy to say "the crowds ruined it for me" - I would be lying if I did. In so many cases, attendees went out of their way to try and be pleasant, courteous, patient and above all decent folks. Over the course of three days, I only encountered one "total jerk" who thought he was more important than he was, and declared - when told he would need to move along and return to queue for Richard Dean Anderson's autograph later, once lanes had been set up - that "...they can call the cops if they want, I'm not moving! I'll knock down anyone who tries to make me leave!" Of course, since I know the organisers, and had been asked to watch out for anyone acting like a... erm... socially unpleasant person, shall we say... I did as asked and reported him to the authorities, who quietly reminded him that such outbursts are risking his immediate ejection from the event.
Three hours later, when I returned to collect my autograph from RDA for the KIWIreviews #Movember charity auctions, Mr. Aggressive was still standing in line, waiting none-too-graciously, about an hour from the front of the line, after having to wait for all the VIP pass holders to go ahead of him. Strangely enough... there were a LOT of them in that queue! From 70,000 people, only one really "visible" jerk was a stunning success, and I hope future events are as quiet. (Relatively speaking.)
What do I consider my personal highlights? Simple: Getting a quiet moment to hang out with RDA and let him know how much MacGyver meant to me growing up, how I learnt to problem-solve by lateral thinking at all times, taking what I have around me and using it - in unexpected ways if need be - to make what I needed at the time to get the job done. How often can someone say they got a chance to thank someone who reshaped their world so totally?
Downsides of the event? For me, there were only two:
1 - I couldn't be everywhere, so I missed so many wonderful photo opportunities this year.
2 - I couldn't stay for the Monday events, which would have given me time to solve at least SOME of Issue #1.
Overall, a most excellent event. Even if the crowd-flow issue can be solved, I think next year is going to have a hard job to beat the bar this year set... but I know that the organisers and their crew will put in a tremendous effort to do just that!
This was my second year heading to Armageddon and having first hand experience of how hectic it can get from the last time, I was able to spend twice as long this time around.
When we got there, the line was short and sweet, getting in within minutes, though looking at where the line was set up, this isn't always such a quick wait (it took us an hour to get off the motorway and find parking, ending up parked on the racetrack!) so a quick walk into the expo itself was a big relief. Getting in, there was one building, not too busy but we didn't spend long, heading into the next area, which was jam packed, so much so that you were pretty much stuck going with the flow or getting smacked in the shoulder by people going past.
There was a large range of stores but as most of them sold similar items it turned into a bit of a hunt to find a stall selling it cheaper, ie. there were Doctor Who t-shirts all over the show ranging from $30-$50, I managed to find a stall selling one for $10. Score!! So make sure you wander around before just grabbing the first one you see. The lines for food can get horrendous and don't look like they make any sense, you could easily end up in the wrong area, and cash is recommended as eftpos kept crashing and the line is crazy big too.
Out the back there were a couple of nicely shaded areas that had almost no people at all there, so great for a rest area. The best thing about the expo has to be the range of costumes people were wearing, and it's always fun to see females cos-playing male characters and vice-versa. Traffic was crazy, the rooms were hard to move about in and shops hard to get serviced at times but I'd go again (my husband wants to go each year), maybe next time I'll dress-up.
Armageddon is one of those events that you have a love/hate relationship. For me, I enjoy figuring out what the cosplayers are dressed as, and checking out the gaming items and collectables. What I hate about it, is how spaced apart the special events are, and the crowds. I spent most of my time just wandering around following the general direction of the crowd that I was trapped within.
I did have fun though, I decided to dress up myself, and as a Stormtrooper, I found myself getting high-fives, fist-bumps, and being asked for photos all the time, which was great fun. I even ended up getting pulled up on camera and interviewed for a new Sky channel.
But compared to previous years, I found myself slightly disappointed. There was few actual special items. No "Assassin's Creed" robes, to limited edition figurines. It was just the same as if I had walked into an EB games store (with the difference that I can actually move in an EB games store). There was little to catch my eye beyond admiring the cosplayers outfits. I even stood at the wrestling stand for over half an hour and saw no wrestling. Events were too spaced out.
It seems that the days are gone where things are revealed for the first time at expos. Now they just put in a stall to sell 100's of the same item that has been released for months. It was by no means a bad day. I enjoyed myself. But at the end of the day, I accomplished nothing, and I didn't get anything from the experience (beyond wanting to make a better outfit for next time)
My husband is the biggest nerd you will ever find and he loves Armageddon Expos. He starts going through the guest lists as soon as released to figure out if it is worth seeing. This year I won tickets to the Saturday show and I was just as excited to see Richard Dean Anderson live. I considered buying a photo with him but decided against it, and they were all sold out anyway.
The first thing I can say about Armageddon Expos is if you do not like crowds stay away. Its like herding cattle there are people everywhere. Also if you do not like costumes this is not the event for you. There are stalls everywhere set up which covers basically everything fan fare. Comics, DVDs, Gaming you name it there will be a stall somewhere around.
There are the celebrities panels were you can ask them questions or declare your undying love for them or ask them silly questions like what colour underwear do you find the luckiest??? You can get photos with them and or signatures. There are also carnival rides, Zombie attacks and you can pay to get make up on. Think Americas Comic Con this is just like it just on a smaller scale. Mind you, whoever says New Zealand is small and no one lives here needs to visit the expo on a Saturday I swear most of New Zealand must of been there.
My favourite aspect is the costumes. You could easily find a place next to a wall and just sit there and watch random people walking past. My girls love it. They were running up to strangers and getting pictures taken left, right and centre. Next year they are insisting on getting dressed up. Star Wars and X-Men seem to be a favourite for most people. It is a fun event and by late afternoon the crowds start to die down. Worth visiting just once if you get the opportunity. Venues throughout the year include Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland. Mind you if you hate the crowds go the last day but by then a lot of things have sold out.
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When Noah meets Alison, they begin an affair. For her, he's a welcome escape; for ... more...
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