Every June, indoor gamers descend on South Portland.
June in Maine means sun, sand, and the refreshing return of a long overdue summer. A perfect time to spend three days holed up in a spaceship-shaped hotel, dressed as Spider-Man playing PlayStation fifteen hours a day. So think the nearly two thousand people who are expected to attend the eighth annual PortConMaine, Maine’s largest Anime and Gaming convention, June 18 to 21, at the Wyndham Portland Airport Hotel in South Portland.
Julie York, the founder of the event, says the gathering might be HO scale by national standards (some gaming weekends pull in tens of thousands of nerds, geeks, and gawkers), but it is unique in its own way. “We pride ourselves on being something for all the hobbyists,” she explains. “We’ve got board games, card games, table-top games, video games, miniature events [think mini action-figure war games], Japanese animation, Japanese culture, costumes, lots of trivia contests, art contests. . . .”
The list goes on.
Participants can schedule their own events, too, via the PortConMaine Web site (www.portconmaine.com). Almost anything goes with this all-inclusive crowd.
“It’s kind of like a weird little family,” says York. Guests travel from all over New England and beyond for the event. “There’s one guy from Texas every year,” says York.
Most attendees range from about fifteen to thirty. And many come clad in elaborate, homemade costumes. This year’s theme is superheroes, so look for wonder women and supermen to abound. If a crime wave breaks out at the Maine Mall, we’re guessing the local cops will have plenty of mutant backups.