CowboyTV, master organizer of videogame conventions & events in Greece, talks to us about GameAthlon, eGaming, its many events, Cosplay and its work!
LIVING THE DREAM !
CowboyTV! 10 years full of dozens of videogame themed events in Athens and Thessaloniki! 29 Cosplay events among them! A master in its field, with the biggest number of Conventions in the videogames & Cosplay scene in Greece, and the 4th place in general as a organizer, by Cosplay event total in Greece!
Starting on May 14, 2012, as far as Cosplay is concerned, CowboyTV hosted 9 GameAthlon, 8 eGaming, 3 game launch events and 9 other videogame events on behalf of others, which included Cosplay as part of their themes too!
Every winter and summer, twice a year, 27.500+ people gather for 2 days at the Tae Kwon Do Stadium in Athens for the top gaming convention GameAthlon! Every September up until 2017, and then again from 2021 and onwards, 100.000+ visitors of the Thessaloniki International Fair were present for 9 whole days at the north’s huge gaming convention, eGaming! Videogames, eSports, technology, unlimited merchandise, dozens of youtubers, influencers, artist, exhibitors, and generally whatever the soul of a gamer wants, are there to be found!
Among them our favourite Cosplay, with GameAthlon in Athens gathering the 2nd highest number of Cosplays in Greece during its 2 day run, reaching 410 Cosplays during its last event, GameAthlon Winter 2020! Respectively, eGaming 2017 continues to hold the 2nd largest number of Cosplays in Thessaloniki during its 9 day run, with 124 Cosplays, with it expected to return probably again in the future!
Multiple speeches, presentations, tournaments, shows and much more, create a very extensive program, not giving the public any chance to get bored even for a moment, and bringing an experience to life comparable to respective huge videogame conventions abroad! Among them, the big Cosplay Parade and Cosplay Contest, which gather the biggest number of participating Cosplays on stage in Greece! The Cosplay Alley at GameAthlon provides people the opportunity to check out the work of various cosplayers, while at the same time, Cosplayers//GR was present until its last event with its own booth, providing a Cosplay Photo / Video Booth, Cosplay Photo Albums / Galleries & Videos, Cosplay Repair Station, Cosplay Materials Presentation, Giveaways, Freebies and Cosplayer Luggage Storage! Finally, the free admission for all Cosplayers and gift bags for all Cosplayers going on stage complete the set!
The big Outdoor Mass Cosplay Photoshoot by Cosplayers//GR, on eGaming‘s last day, also provided the opportunity for all Cosplays present to be photographed at HANTH Park by the team, but other Cosplay photographers too!
Naturally, among so many years and so many events, many “firsts”, as far as Cosplay is concerned, could not be missing!
The 1st Cosplay Contest at a convention in Thessaloniki, as well as the 1st appearance of Cosplays at a Convention in general, but also at a Videogames Convention in Thessaloniki, at eGaming 2012!
The 1st Videogames Convention with Cosplayers in Athens, GameAthlon 2013!
The 1st Cosplay Show / Parade in a Convention in Athens, as well as the 1st Cosplay Photobooth, by Cosplayers//GR in Athens, at GameAthlon Summer 2018!
The 1st dance act with Cosplays in a Convention in Athens and Greece, by The FullHouse, as well as the 1st opportunity to check and learn about Cosplay creation materials in Athens, by Cosplayers//GR, at GameAthlon Summer 2019!
The 1st online stream of a Cosplay Contest consisting of Cosplay videos submitted by Cosplayers in Greece at GameAthlon Online in 2020!
Let’s talk in detail about everything, with the boss of CowboyTV, Andreas “Cowboy” Derdemezis!
Find CowboyTV on the following media! Page - Facebook - Youtube - Twitter - Instagram Page - Facebook - Facebook - Youtube - Instagram Check out the organizer's profile and events, with all their info and thousands of photos & videos, on our website, HERE!
THE NEXT LEVEL OF GAMING !
1) Tell us a few words about CowboyTV! What do we need to know about you?
CBTV academy, that says it all and pioneering is part of our DNA. Besides joking, we are the oldest and only company that has been continuously dealing with all aspects of gaming and pop culture for the last 11 years through media, events and influencers. We were lucky and happy to have over 600.000 visitors at our events, to work with all the local contributors and at the same time mark a new era in modern culture by bringing sponsors and paving the way for a disintegrated economy. It’s no coincidence that our organization, despite the difficulties and obstacles that our country has had since 2010, has offered, by a huge margin, the largest amounts of prizes and gifts, both in gaming and cosplay.
2) Tell us a few words about GameAthlon and eGaming, their history and contents! When and how did they start? What themes are they about? Are those themes based on the organizers’ personal interests, and if so, when did you start taking an interest in each of them, before your first event?
GameAthlon, like us, is a pioneering project with gaming at its core. It started as a collaboration with the Hellenic American College ( HAEC ) in 2013 and paved the way both in terms of proof of concept, but also as a pole of attraction. Truly EVERYONE has passed through GameAthlon … influencers, cosplayers, eSports athletes, casters and of course communities like you.
eGaming is based on the same principles and the first Gameathlon’s success provided us with the experience to be able to do eGaming when we were asked to.
Networking is also one of its unique advantages, since, as we said before, everyone comes over to talk, to get to know each other and get inspired. The dynamic created by GameAthlon is unparalleled.
3) What led you to proceed with organizing GameAthlon and eGaming? How long and what exactly did it take until the first GameAthlon and eGaming were possible? How did you arrive to those two after so many smaller events and how are they different from those? What can one find at GameAthlon and eGaming and how do you think they differ from other events of similar type or theme?
The truth is that due to us pioneering at that time we worked with a lot of organizers. We were essentially the only casters and streamers with a unique perception about the gaming scene. I quickly realised that our vision had nothing in common with the general view on the subject and that if we wanted to do things the way we believed in, we would have to do it ourselves. You see, for the last ten years it’s our central profession, not a hobby or secondary work. We’ve really put our souls in it, all the guys on the team.
After a while, the size of the event got so huge, that not many things were able to fit in between, at least not without cuts in quality people expect from us.
I won’t say much about the “competition”. First of all, I’m very happy that the industry is developing and people have things to see and do ( or better said they had, because corona virus ). On the other hand, due to the size and quality of production, there isn’t exactly any competition. One thing is certain, there is no event that hasn’t come around for a walk to our events to see how things work and find people, before taking its first step … in the past it used to bother me, I won’t lie, but now I see it as a compliment and additional synergies for our partners.
Our main difference? That I’m also 666 lvl at Call of Duty!
4) What were the biggest, but also the most difficult GameAthlon and eGaming you have done so far? What defines them as such?
The most “difficult” I would say would be the first eGaming, due to limited experience and extremely adverse conditions, both in the budget and the place itself. Counting the degree of difficulty, definitely Gameathlon Winter 2020, we are talking about a real beast. 25.000 people, 5.500 players, 500 systems, 7 projectors, 2 stages, 400 influencers, 12 acres and hundreds of members from communities. All those had to run in parallel through a program, stage, livestream, without any disaster!
5) How much effort, time and money does it usually take to set up GameAthlon and eGaming? What is the usual preparation plan that you follow?
GameAthlon is like an iceberg, people see it set up and ready or almost ready! When the doors open on Saturday. Planning and setting up takes at least 4 months and then definitely another 6 for the resulting requirements of the event. Beyond the hunt for sponsors, contributors, and safe execution, a huge volume of transactions comes after, which is really a bureaucratic hell. Every time GameAthlon happens, thousands of payments have to be made, as well as hundreds of monetary collections, which unfortunately takes time.
As for money, I’ll say that GameAthlon is an event that, due to its size, if we put the money spent in transport on trains, buses and subways by visitors, the money that companies spend extra for their booths, even the fuel for the transport trucks or the random canteens that appear outside the stadium, every time this event happens, a few millions are circulating in the Greek economy for hundreds of people.
6) How did you feel during the first GameAthlon and eGaming and how after their end? Describe these experiences to us.
A roller coaster, but these are successes that make you happy. The difficult ones!
7) You have hosted events in Athens, but also in Thessaloniki. What are the differences of your events and the mentality of the visitors between the two cities?
Look, Athens is interesting because of profit and population … but THERE’S NOTHING LIKE Thessaloniki! We really had to fight to bring companies up north and managed to make eGaming the biggest event in the Balkans. Things in Thessaloniki are much warmer and Greek, you feel like you’re among company. I still remember guys who came in their 11-12s and we talked about that, when they had become men! In Athens, things are more “sterile”.
8) Your plans include organizing of a GameAtlhon event in Larissa as well. How did it come about, what is its purpose and what can one expect from it when it’ll take place?
Yes, everything was ready and then corona hit us … it was a perfect miniature of the event at the Indoor Basketball Gym. Rest assured that once conditions allow it, we’ll make it happen!
9) What’s your opinion, in proportion to Greece’s size, about the size and level of the audience of the scene towards which GameAthlon and eGaming is addressed? Are you satisfied with the people’s response to GameAthlon and eGaming during all these years, as well as with the number of Cosplays attending?
I think we couldn’t ask for anything more, by any chance! As an event, the last GameAthlon was the best in terms of a production with multidimensional character, excessive participation of people, contributors and sponsors. As for Cosplay, I think our national competition has a lot of people who see and enjoy it, while the stage gives the opportunity for some of the most extreme photos due to lighting and 360 ( even if we throw a little more smoke and make it difficult for photographers ).
10) When and why did you decide to include Cosplay in GameAthlon and eGaming‘s themes? What more do you think does the presence of Cosplays provide to GameAthlon and eGaming?
I have a lot of love for cosplays. We started their integration in the Gaming Forum 2012 with the veterans Cosplay Corp, and Eva Kotsou ( Bullet Witch Cosplay ). Fore me, Cosplayers make an event come to life and that’s why they have free admission and free space for their activities, for so many years.
So, this part was from the beginning among our plans and it’s the first time this scene came out in the field of below the line marketing. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think this is another one of our firsts.
11) What can one find related to Cosplay at GameAthlon and eGaming? Are there any specific activities and events related to it? Do you think they are sufficient or is there something more that you would like to provide regarding Cosplay? Do you think that Cosplay as a theme will continue to be a key part of your events for a long time?
Cosplay is very special, and so are people who spend their time to bring their character to life. GameAthlon has a lot to see and to do related to cosplay. From contests and parades to merchandise, photobooths, stands and side events from the community. At the same time, with many of the guys, we try to set up some commission with for a sponsor ( what we mentioned before ).
12) Is there a long term goal or personal dream you want to achieve through your events?
Those events are the dream! We are really sad that our plans and progress have been put on the ice due to quarantine, but it doesn’t matter, be healthy and with some luck we’ll all return to “normality”. Maybe we’ll appreciate simple things even more, like going for a walk to Faliro for GameAthlon.
13) Is there any important or funny experience that happened during GameAthlon and eGaming that you will never forget?
At eGaming 2017, the PPC power substation had broken down, leaving the entire Thessaloniki International Fair without electricity. This happened during the time of the contest, resulting in the universe crashing and war breaking out, because a very lively character almost sidekicked the screens on stage due to his nerves.
14) What is the first thing you would tell to someone who seriously considers visiting GameAthlon for the first time? And what can he expect to see there in the future? Is there hope for a possible return of eGaming in Thessaloniki in the future ( its return happened at last on September 2021 )?
The first thing I would tell him is that we’re talking about a “spaceship” and there’s nothing else comparable to an image of 400 lit screens in the Tae Kwon Do areba and the main stage in the middle! If you want to check everything out you’ll need at least 2 hours without wasting much time here and there. As for the future, bring a mask along and we are definitely looking for the return of the good old orthodox eGaming!
15) Is there anything last you would like to share with our readers?
Stay Safe, Stay Positive, Stay Different… We will make it!
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