Play Expo 2018, a combination of the Colombo Comic Expo and the Sri Lanka Cyber Games (SLCG) took place a recently. Here, both gamers and geeks can come together and take part in a celebration of what they love, cheer their favourite teams and snap a pic with their favorite characters brought to life by [...]


Play Expo: Where Gamers and Geeks mingle


Play Expo 2018, a combination of the Colombo Comic Expo and the Sri Lanka Cyber Games (SLCG) took place a recently. Here, both gamers and geeks can come together and take part in a celebration of what they love, cheer their favourite teams and snap a pic with their favorite characters brought to life by a group of talented cosplayers.

The IGE South Asia Cup 2018 kicking off at Play Expo 2018. Pix courtesy

Held last month at the SLECC, Play Expo 2018 saw almost 3,000 gamers and geeks within its premises for the duration of three days.

Walking into the halls of the SLECC, we were immediately met with a flurry of activity.

Bright, flashing lights, lines of gaming PCs, sponsor stalls and many more.

What we saw at Play Expo 2018

The left side of the hall was dedicated to SLCG which would have 10 titles being played.

Each game had their own section with PCs and/or consoles that were running the games in all their glory. Gamers were there bright and early. Why? To make sure they were ready to take on their opponents.

The first match to be played was the preliminary round of the IGE South Asia Cup. In case you missed it, the InGame eSports South Asia Cup is a 5-nation League of Legends championship with a prize-pool of USD 5000 (approx LKR 1,000,000) for the winners of the event.

Teams from Maldives, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh had already been selected to take part in the tournament.

The team to represent Sri Lanka would be decided at SLCG itself. While a majority of the attention was dedicated to the of the IGE South Asia Cup, other titles too were gaining their fair share of attention.

Matches were getting hot and heavy across all three days of SLCG 2018

Gearing up for 3 days of intense battles

COD4, for example, had a whopping total of 114 teams taking part. Over the course of 5 rounds, these teams were whittled down to 8 teams, who then faced off against each other till 4 teams were left. These faced off against each other in the semifinals. The finals had PnX|iMex facing off against nA.Team Archon. After a brutal fight, nA.TeamArchon scored the win and won the COD4 title for SLCG 2018.

CS: Go saw a total of 19 teams battling it out across three rounds. From there, the top 4 teams faced off against each other and the winners of those matches went on to the finals. These teams were x3 Xiphos CSGO and PnX Heroes Esports. Coming out on top and claiming the title for CSGO at SLCG 2018 was x3 Xiphos CSGO.

League of Legends had a total of 46 teams registered. Over the course of 4 rounds, they too were whittled down till only the strongest 4 teams survived. They too faced off against each other until only 2 teams remained. They were PnX| Lanka Lions and PnX R[E]D. It was a win for PnX either way but that didn’t mean that either team went down without a fight. But in the end, PnX| Lanka Lions proved superior and claimed the LOL title at SLCG 2018.

A snapshot of the cosplays we saw at Play Expo 2018[

Geeks Assemble

While SLCG was in full swing, the Colombo Comic Expo was also happening at Play Expo 2018. Essentially, the right side of the hall at SLECC transformed into a geek’s paradise. You had vendors such as Yamato One, Red Dot Geek, Jollys Toy Shop, and a host of other vendors selling everything ranging from t-shirts to funko pops, die-cast toys, medallions and chains, and everything in between.Located in the right corner of the hall at lay Expo 2018 was the Artist’s Alley. This was where budding artists could come and showcase their fan arts, illustrations, and handicrafts. The location was not exactly highlighted and you could have easily missed it. The stalls did have their fair share of fan art and illustrations for those interested to look through and purchase.

Geek merchandise anyone?











(Left) Best original character - Malinda Jayasekera as Maxwell (Right) Best character portrayal - Shashyani de Silva as Hela

Best Kids cosplay - Indunil Tennekoon as Kubo

The Artists Alley gave artists a chance to show off their artistic capabilities

Additionally, we also saw the host a series of activities for attendees to promote Japanese animation. This included a game where those attending were asked to guess the opening song of different Japanese anime shows and also featured a live-band called Zettai Mk. II playing Japanese music. Interestingly, there was a sizable crowd demanding an encore from the band.

If that wasn’t enough to get your inner geek screaming, there were the cosplayers. We’ve seen the cosplay arena in Sri Lanka burst into life from around 2015 and each year, it gets better. Furthermore, among the famous names in the cosplay community, we also noticed newer faces appearing as their favorite characters as well.

Best makeup - Opula Fonseka as Pinhead / Best craftsmanship - Damitha Fernando as Nightingale

Making sure that the efforts of the cosplayers weren’t wasted, there was also a fully-fledged cosplay competition as well. The competition consisted of five categories. They were: kids cosplay, best original character, best character portrayal, best makeup and best craftsmanship.

Additionally, it was announced that there was a prize pool of  Rs. 175,000 for the cosplay competition at Play Expo 2018. This was for the individual cosplay competition that took place on the second day. Meanwhile, the group cosplay competition saw another prize pool of Rs. 62,500 in the form of cash and funko action figures.

Games, games and more games

Onwards to more nail-biting action

Dota 2, another hugely popular MOBA title in Sri Lanka saw an almost equal amount of teams at 49. It was a mix of old teams and new teams who battled it out on two sides of the river. The finals saw PnX Indomitus.MSI facing off against X3 Victorious Secret (I see what they did there).

Both teams showed no signs of backing down. But after the dust settled, X3 Victorious Secret came out on top.

Overwatch, an FPS game that has taken the world by storm had a total of 22 teams taking part. Rather than the usual 5 person team, Overwatch pits a team of 6 members against another team of 6 members. Matches were played without much hassle at first. But the semi-final rounds were delayed due to unforeseen technical difficulties. As such, the remaining teams came together and decided to play the matches online on a later date. The final match had nA. Blackwatch going up against x3 Nitro Zeus. After a fierce, nail-biting battle, nA Blackwatch secured the title of Overwatch at SLCG 2018.

Play Expo 2018 was educational too

While people were either gaming or buying geek merch or snapping selfies with cosplayers, there was also an educational aspect to Play Expo 2018 as well. This took the form of a number of panel discussions.

We gathered a few interesting tidbits from the panels. For example, Anish Wijesinghe – Founder/CEO of Motion Miracles spoke about building games in Sri Lanka. In order to do this, we would need to have suitable educational courses in Sri Lanka. Speaking of gaming, the folks from GameForest were showcasing their developments in their FPS game Unbroken.

Pruve Comics spoke about their work on Marine Drive. No, it’s not the road. Rather, it’s a Sinhalese Sri Lankan Thriller consisting of 10 episodes.

There was also a guest appearance by Chris Burgess. In case you didn’t’ know, Chris has worked on movies such as Star Wars: Episode VIII, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Batman Begins, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Chris shared that he’s hoping to shoot a movie in Sri Lanka because the scenic locations are underutilized and have a variety of colorful locations.

Great event with greater challenges

No event is perfect. The same holds true for Play Expo 2018. There were delays with regards to some panel discussions, cosplay ramp walks and delays in matches from the SLCG 2018 area. But that being said, we do commend GamerLK and the others involved in organizing an event of this magnitude.

As Raveen Wijayatileke – Founder of GamerLK said, “It’s inevitable that there will be delays for some people. It happens every year and for every gaming tournament”. The same can be said for Play Expo as well. Some cosplayers argued that the prize for the group cosplay wasn’t initially specified. Opula Fonseka said, “There was never an announcement saying that there wasn’t a prize for a group cosplay. They mentioned initially on a post saying that the prize pool for cosplayers was going to be Rs. 175,000. Everyone was under the impression that the group category was included into this.”

In response to this, Raveen said, “We couldn’t announce the final values for group prizes because we can’t predict the numbers of winners for group cosplay”. Raveen went onto say that they had invested heavily in their efforts to create an amazing experience for cosplayers. Opula too added, “They grew by leaps and bounds with the Rs. 175,000 prize pool for singles on Day One.”

Play Expo did seem to be a bit chaotic across all three days. But once everyone got into the groove of things, in the end, it all came together and worked out for a really interesting weekend at Play Expo 2018.

(The author is senior tech writer for ReadMe a leading tech news provider. For more information log onto


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