On Jan. 14, 2012, the University of Florida hosted a multi-genre convention for anime, gaming, and science fiction fans of all ages.
This is known as SwampCon.
According to the creators of SwampCon, its main purpose is to give anime, gaming, and sci-fi fans a place to come together to share and express their love of their hobbies and possibly learn about other people’s interests.
They also seek to "bring the anime, gaming, and sci-fi communities together in North Florida for many years to come."
Another friend of mine, Donovan Mullings, was one of many UF students that attended the conference.
An avid player and former regional champion of the Yu-Gi-Oh card tournament in Orlando, Fla., he competed against other gamers at SwampCon.
"What I like about Yu-Gi-Oh is the combination of creativity and strategy to make a competitive, fun and interesting deck," said Mullings.
"It's a friendlier and less stressful form of competition."
Here he is playing in one of his matches at SwampCon.
The conference had everything from live action role-playing game sessions like Dungeons & Dragons, to PC gaming sessions to costume contests and more.
There were several people, from the UF student population and the Gainesville community.
These individuals dressed up as their favorite characters, whether it be from an anime or a favorite game they play.
"SwampCon is not only for people who love gaming," said Dianellys Encarnacion, a junior majoring in sociology at UF.
"It's also for people who are new to the whole scene that may develop a love for it."
Here she is posing with another SwampCon participant, who dressed up as the main character from the Sailor Moon anime/manga series.
Another student who attended GatorLan this year, anticipates its return next January.
Though he doesn't attend UF, Daniel Collins, an engineering sophomore from the University of Central Florida, says that SwampCon was the first gaming conference he had ever been to.
And he is glad that he can attend a conference that is closer to home.
"It's nice to have something like SwampCon for local gamers to meet and compete against each other in tournaments," said Collins.
"Orlando needs to have more things like this."
Look out for SwampCon on January 12th to January 13th in 2013!