BREAKING A RECORD in their lifetime? I remember as a kid - the Guinness books were the ones most often checked out at our schools library, so when the chance arose to finally be in the book itself, I was more excited than a fat kid in a cake factory (no offense to any of you fat kids ;p ).

Every year thousands of people gather at the Dallas based anime convention, A-KON in a weekend that can only be described as PEACE, LOVE and POCKY. This year's convention though seemly the same, had one major difference - Guinness Book of World Records was there to witness our world-record breaking skills at work!

The people at Guinness Book World Records, along with the help of Ubisoft, published a separate title this last march of Video Game Records. Not a week later it was announced on the A-KON site that we as a convention would be challenging the recent "Most people dressed as video game characters in a single gathering" at this years con. And we did without a sweat...well at least until the water ran out.

- - - - THE CONVENTION - - - -

I arrived at the convention prepared to build a sentry and get my game on. I chose the RED ENGINEER as my cosplay for the event, and after a few costume adjustments the week prior I was ready to rumble. Almost instantly I ran into fellow TF2 cosplayers. I remember getting ecstatic and running over them yelling "HOLY SHIT!! I'm cosplaying as TF2 TOO! I'll go get my costume on!!" etc. etc. It was breathtaking. As the convention went on more and more people started showing up in costume. I ran into red scouts and blue spies. People would yell at me from every direction "Spy sapping my sentry" or "Dispenser goes here". Just being surrounded by the sheer Valve-whordum was enough to make me tear at the eye.
By Friday afternoon, our group of just a handful of TF2 cosplayers grew from 5 of us chilling by the escalators to 9 or 10 of us stuck in a pose. We would be approached for a picture and before we knew it, 20 people would come running pulling out their cameras. It would get so bad that we had to to a 5-4-3-2-1 countdown to take a break. People even took our pictures when we weren't posing. Constantly we would be applauded for our efforts, cheered at and quoted. If the developers of TF2 were there, they'd think they had fallen into a real life 2FORT match.

We would get so excited every time a new class appeared. We would hear rumors of a Pryo or a Heavy but wouldn't believe it until we found them ourselves. I remember when me and Veyerus (a blue female scout) and I found 2 TF2 peeps standing in the registration line. We rushed them and of sheer excitement found ourself yelling our character's taunts. Every Class was present in most of the colors. We had 2 Heavy's, a ton of Spies, a ton of Scouts, a bunch of Engineers, 4 Medics, a Soldier, a Sniper and a Pyro. The only class not present was the Demoman. We also encountered many Portal Cosplayers and a Terrorist from Counter-Strike Source.

- - - - OH THE HUMANITY - - - -

Waiting in line to be judged.

Saturday was the designated day for the breaking of the world record. After 2 hours of a regroup and gathering of TF2 cosplayers down on the first floor, we separated for lunch and then headed to the 4th floor to check-in and get judged. Among the judges was the infamous Fatal1ty, who was actually quite cheerful considering the amount of CON-FUNK that filled the place. Upon entering the Remington Room, we were confronted with endless lines that at first moved quickly and later seemed to last for ever. Not 10 minutes went by and already we were hearing complaints from the Fire Marshall. Apparently the hotel's private room had reached well beyond maximum occupancy. To lift spirits myself and the people around me started to sing-a-longs. "Still Alive", "Gotta Catch 'Em All", "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "The Ultimate Showdown" were among the few we sang to pass the time. We got to "63 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" until the crowd finally grew bored. Water was a constant cry in the line as the A/C had no where near enough power to cool the room full of sweaty otaku in the Texas heat. Finally after about an hour I found myself being pushed quickly through the front, picture taken and shoved down the hall to the Terrace. "TERRORIST?" no the Terrace!

- - - - THE TERRORIST - - - -

"Everyone go find the Terrace" "The Terrorist? "No the Terrace!"

Finally outside and number 153, I regrouped with my fellow TF2 cosplayers in a fit of JOY! "ORANGE BOX HERE" we began to chant, constantly looking for the rest of our friends to catch up and chill with us. Quickly everyone began to return and just as fast people were pulling out cameras to take our picture. Now on the 4th Floor Balcony (you know...the terrorist) it was much more relaxing and gave us the chance to focus on each other.

To pass time, chanting - like the singing - began to emerge from our section of the crowd. "ORANGE BOX! ORANGE BOX! " filled the area, quickly being countered by "FINAL FANTASY! FINAL FANTASY" followd by a chant of "Orange box SUCKS! Orange Box SUCKS!" from their direction. We of course countered with "F F SUCKS" and a loud wave of "BOOOOO" filled the balcony. It was obvious we werent going to win this round!! Before it could escalate the song "Why can't we be friends?" spread through like wildfire in a Koombaya-style sway of campfire bliss and eventually people started chanting "USA! USA!" for reasons I was too exhausted to even question.

- - - - THE RECORD - - - -

Eventually the time was done. The last of the lines had made it through and we fit as many people as we could onto the terrace. 15 more minutes of standing still as a whole, a quick flailing of our hands up in cheer and we were through. We did it! We broke the RECORD! 669* of us went through sweating lines, dehydration, epic battles of meaningless proportions and a long line leaving the Terrance back down to the 2nd floor.

That weekend was a weekend I'll never forget, because not only did I get the chance to break a world record, but I got the chance to meet and hang out with the biggest group of people I'm glad to now call my friends. We danced and posed and caused mayhem throughout the city. Though sad to see it end, I can say that it was a huge success!

Next year let's double this number. Maybe then we'll finally have us a Demoman ;)

- My FLICKR album of our TF2 group's pictures.

- A-KON Website
- A-KON 19 Galleries