Fans flock to 5th GeekU.P.

Fans flock to 5th GeekU.P.

HOUGHTON — For seven hours Saturday, fans of gaming, science fiction, anime, cosplay and other interests congregated at the Rozsa Center for the fifth annual GeekU.P.

Throughout the day, fans browsed vendors in the lobby, met with their favorite actors or ran into people who loved the same games and shows they do.

Keira Kaiser of Houghton came to get the autograph of voice actress Colleen O’Shaughnessey, who’s voiced Sonic the Hedgehog’s friend Tails in a number of games and cartoons.

“It’s nice,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of my friends here.”

She also picked up a scavenger hunt where people can do challenges and solve riddles to win a prize.

“There are geocaches throughout the area, so you follow the instructions to get to a treasure-type cache,” said her father, Wade Kaiser.

As for his experience at GeekU.P., “I like it all,” he said.

The move to the Rozsa Center enabled a bigger stage for some audience favorites, including the annual cosplay contest. Entrants dressed as Luke Skywalker, Spider-Gwen and other favorites walked onstage in the auditorium and down the length of a catwalk to cheers from the crowd.

Georgia Labyak of Ontonagon, who dressed up as Princess Zelda, decided to enter the cosplay contest for the first time after seeing it last year. Hers took about two hours to put together, with most of that devoted to getting the crimps and matts out of the wig.

“I was a little nervous, but once I got onstage, it wasn’t so bad,” she said.

She had fun getting to be at a convention with local people.

“I go to a lot of cons that are five, six hours away … it’s really nice to be here,” she said.

She chose Zelda because of her love of the character, she said.

“I really enjoy the character and she is here, so I’m hoping to get an autograph today and take a picture with her,” she said of Patricia Summersett, who’s voiced the character in several games, including this year’s “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.”

Labyak and many other fans waited in a line stretching back to the auditorium for the chance to get autographs from Summersett, as well as voice actors Roger Craig Smith and O’Shaughnessey.

The three also sat down on the Rozsa stage for an extended question-and-answer session, where they discussed favorite roles and the ups and downs of show business.

One questioner asked if they sit down and watch or play their works once they’re released.

Summersett still has “Tears of a Kingdom” sitting on her kitchen counter, but has played through “Breath of the Wild” and the “Assassin’s Creed” games.

“I also watch cutscenes when they come out, all the compilations that people put up,” she said.

O’Shaughnessey doesn’t play her video games, but has watched a handful of things she’s worked on.

“It’s just neat to hear you come out of a cartoon character,” she said.

Smith is slowly but surely turning in his “gamer card,” dying quick deaths when he tries playing modern games, he said. But he still wants to see how it comes together.

“We’re in a process where sometimes you don’t even see the artwork, you don’t know what you’re a part of,” Smith said. “And then this thing comes out that people have worked on the music, and the graphics and promotion of it and the game design overall … so I always tried to fire something up and see what it was that I was sort of getting to be a part of, and whether or not my vocal baby was ugly or pretty once they’ve plugged it into the game.”

The spirit of collaboration could also be found on the mezzanine level, where gaming groups played throughout the day.

Michigan Technological University club Gamers Anonymous, had multiple games set up, including the board game Terraforming Mars. The club has more than 30 active members, said Ben Boelens. About two hours into the event, 15 to 20 people had stopped by to play, he said.

“I’m out here to help everyone else have a good time and raise money for charity,” he said.

Proceeds from Saturday’s GeekU.P. went to Unite Mental Health and Wellness of Houghton.

The Husky Amateur Wargaming Club had Warhammer 40K set up for anyone who wanted to check it out. The club, which has about 10 to 12 active members, meets in Fisher 325 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

This is the club’s second year helping out with the gaming.

“We’re happy to help out and provide a space for people to try out a fun game, and it’s a good social experience,” said club member Dolan Moles.


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