A unicorn-clad daughter on her dad's shoulders and a boy with a Pokemon Pikachu hat and green "Creeper" sweatshirt clapped their hands excitedly as they entered the doors to Minefaire, a world of wonder for kids and parents who enjoy Minecraft, the sensational Lego-style adventure video game that has more than 33 million users worldwide.
Created as a traveling fair for fans of the popular game in which players use pixelated cubes to build their own worlds, Minefaire draws thousands to each convention. The one at the North Charleston Convention Center this past weekend was no different. The space was transformed into every Minecrafter's dream, featuring live Lego stations, a virtual reality playing center, a puzzle-oriented escape room and more.
Charleston-based video game creators — such as Travon Santerre, who just released dungeon-crawling RPG game "Infinite Adventures" — were on site with stations for kids to take a crack at their games.
Gaming zones, battle stations, learning labs and crafting corners took over the floor, and kids with parents in tow were wide-eyed and wandering from booth to booth.
Zurie Wood, a 6-year-old Minecraft fan whose online name is RainbowCat217, was most excited about meeting some of her favorite YouTube stars, like OMGChad, who was on site signing autographs, talking with gamers and leading workshops and build battles.
Zurie made it up on stage for one build battle, in which she created a virtual volleyball court in five minutes for the "beach" theme, winning the challenge.
Her dad Thomas also is a Minecrafter, and the whole family had traveled down from Conway for the one-of-a-kind weekend. In fact, Thomas (CaptainMot) was going to be speaking at a YouTuber panel later in the afternoon. Both father and daughter are part of the 77th Combine, an online group of gamers whose members were meeting up for the first time at the Charleston Minefaire. One of the members had traveled from Vancouver.
Elsa Mullen, dressed as a shy Minecraft jungle creature called an ocelot, came with her dad and brother from Charlotte for the occasion. The 8-year-old had been playing Minecraft for about a year on PlayStation 4. Though her favorite animal in the game is a llama, she had decided to dress as an ocelot, making her costume from leftover felt pieces of her dog costume for Halloween. Her dad, Pete Mullen, had helped her make the boxy head to emulate the Minecraft character.
"When I was in college, back in '92, '93, I was the first person in my class to use Windows," said Pete Mullen, who is new to the Minecraft world. "My best friend's laptop needed two floppy disks to even turn on, and I had the Sears version of an Atari. Now, my kids don't know how good they have it. They have a PS4. It's a whole different world."
He had promised to take his kids to Minefaire as part of their Christmas present. They previously attended Lego Fest in Raleigh. Face painting, Plinko, purchasing plushes and playing with pixelated swords were all on the agenda, along with participation in the afternoon's costume contest.