Join us for an immersive gaming experience in our DreamHack Melbourne 2023 wrap-up!

Returning to Melbourne for its second time, DreamHack was held this year from 28th of April to the 30th. Originating in 1994 with its origins routed in LAN parties, it’s since grown into a bit of a tasting plate of everything to do with geek culture.

Dreamhack Melbourne 2023 logo

You’ll be treated to panels, cosplay competitions, meet and greats with streamers, LAN parties, an artist’s alley, arcade games, charity booths, etc. The focus was primarily on esports tournaments, sponsors showing off new gaming tech, and streaming culture. It felt like I’d been shoved into a techno kaleidoscope!

What featured at DreamHack Melbourne 2023?

The venue was split up into three areas that covered quite a lot of space, so to get to the various events hosted, there was a bit of walking to do. There was a dedicated app that helped you schedule which panels, tournaments, or meet and greets you wanted to attend, which really helped with keeping track of all the things happening (though I wished that app listed which building/area events were held).

DreamHack Melbourne 2023 eSports arena

There were plenty of esports tournaments, such as CS:GO, Valorant, Call of Duty, Tekken, Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter, so if that was your cup of tea, you’d have a blast! Also plenty of arcade games, and a tabletop gaming space, to sink some time into.

This is the closest I’ll get to ever riding a real motorbike.

DreamHack Melbourne 2023 – Expo Hall

In the Expo Hall there were plenty of sponsors who showed off the latest of their gaming computer technology on offer. Big brand names such as LG, ASUS, AOC, MSI and AGON all made appearances, with most of them offering prizes and giveaways, showing off their newest products via free-to-play games.

Meet and greets (where you could get autographs and maybe a brief chat with your favourite content creators) featured some big-name creators including Sidelogic, TSM, Attack on Geek, owldamone, and Trash Taste.

DreamHack Melbourne 2023 – Cosplay & Artists

What interested me most was the cosplay, artists alley, and panels. The panels had great topics, such as a beginners guise to posing for pics in costumes, building a community on twitch, gamergirls in streaming, a guide to streaming and content creation. It all was geared towards people trying to break into the digital creative world, which was seen such a explosion in the last 10-20 years, as technology and the capabilities of the internet keep advancing.

DreamHack Melbourne 2023 cosplay competition

The Cosplay Competition was a chance for cosplayers to show off all their hard work.

There was tons of amazingly detailed costumes on display. I was dazzled by all the flowing cloth, hairpins, corsets, fluoro eye contacts, and cape swirling and you could see how passionate each cosplayer was about their character, which was fantastic. Someone would catch my eye, and I’d find myself jogging down the hallway trying to get their photo.

DreamHack Melbourne 2023 cosplayers

I met characters like Spirit Blossom Ahri, Artemis from Hades (please give me a good boon), and even Yennefer of Vengerberg (felt like I was about to get stabbed and seduced at the exact same time).

Cosplay Interview with Hench and Scrap Foundry

I got to sit down and briefly interview two amazing and talented cosplayers: Clare aka Henchwench, and Oarin from Scrap Shop Props. They were both part of the judging panel for DreamHack’s Cosplay Competition.

As a creative team they go by Hench and Scrap Foundry, making props and cosplay for the gaming industry (such as Blizzard and Bethesda) together. It’s been their full-time job for the last 5 years. Clair was dressed as a Barbarian from Diablo 3, while Oarin as the Litch-King from World of Warcraft, made specifically for Blizzard.

Dreamhack Melbourne 2023 cosplay judges Hench and Scrap

So much detail! And clanking noises, lots of clanking noises.

Henchwench came from a prop-making family, her father working as a prop maker at Weta Workshop in New Zealand. She actually got her start at Weta as well, having done work for Lord of the Rings: “It was a really cool experience, and after that I was like I want make costumes, this is what I want to do with my life.” One degree in costuming later, she worked in film and theatre space, but video games are her passion, so she turned to cosplay, and met Oarin.

Oarin is entirely self-taught when it comes to costume construction. He was studying engineering and was part of a local LARP group, and made things for them. Through that experience he decided to make his first cosplay, went to comic con, and fell in love with it:

“I used to be extremely shy, and awkward, but wearing a helmet, and finding that community, being able to talk to people, it really changed my life… decided to really pursue it. Threw caution to the wind, largely. And got very, very lucky, met Clare, and we’ve been working together ever since.”

For Oarin’s Lich-King costume, he used a bunch of mixed techniques: “Things like the shins and belt here are a very traditional medium. Clair did a physical sculpt out of clay. Doing traditional sculpting isn’t something we get to do a lot, so it’s really fun to bust it out again. And then you take a mold in silicon and and put in neurofain plastic. The majority of the rest of the armour is FDM 3D printed, or Resin 3D printed.”

The shins and belt needed to be hand sculpted for them to be quite flexible, adding to ease of movement. Clair did all the intricate scales on the chainmail by hand. Oarin has a particular interesting technique where he takes a game model, and then reshapes it to fit his body, adding detail as textures in Blender. They then run it through their 3D printers, sand it, then throw a coat of paint on it. It was great to get this quick insight into how Clare and Oren got into cosplay, as well as a peek into their creative process.

DreamHack Final Thoughts

DreamHack’s strength was in it’s esports tournaments, panels and cosplay, with a focus on getting more people into close contact the cosplay and streaming community. The size of the expo was decently large, allowing for a variety of activities and events to occur simultaneously, so I always had something to do. This was DreamHack’s second time in Melbourne, and I look forward to it’s third!

A media pass was kindly provided for our DreamHack Melbourne 2023 coverage. If you enjoyed this wrap-up, be sure to check out more of our gaming event and expo articles, including our recent Q&A with Veronica Taylor, the original voice of Ash Ketchum! And join us on the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about upcoming gaming events.

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