As for A&G…I was less than impressed.
That may sound harsh, but it is how I truly feel. After having gone to Sugoicon for six years now, and now Ohayocon this year, I have had my fair share of con experiences and am confident that I know what I am talking about when it comes to a “good con.”
This was my first time at Animation & Gaming Ohio. I had been forewarned that it was a smaller con, and that also it was not based solely on anime as were the other cons I was used to. Honestly, I was incredibly excited for that aspect – to see what con life is like outside of the Japanese fandom that is the Anime con scene. I will now break down A&G and explain my less than overwhelming impression of the con:
A&G this year was held at Mason, OH’s very own Great Wolf Lodge right next door to King’s Island. The place has its own INDOOR waterpark. THAT was pretty sweet. So, naturally, we were all incredibly excited. It’s a very well known resort with great reviews, we had no reason to ever expect it wouldn’t be an awesome place for nerds to gather. The place itself was incredibly impressive from the outside and completely GIGANTIC. The convention center was on one end of the building while all the rooms, waterpark, and lodging were on the other. So, unless your room was right next to the convention center, you were left walking the endless corridors through the hotel to get to the other end of the building where your room was (ie. our entire group of Con Sluts). Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, unless you were cosplaying a certain character with a huge ass weapon and blood dripping all over you. Then your pilgrimage to the other end of the building was filled with small, impressionable children running around the hotel as if it were a theme park. Accompanied by their judgemental and misunderstanding parents. Come to find out, the Great Wolf Lodge is a family resort that has its own little roleplay thing called “MagicQuest” where the children wander the halls in costumes with magic wands in search of adventure. WHO THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO PLACE A CONVENTION RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO SMALL IMPRESSIONABLE CHILDREN WITH OVERPROTECTIVE PARENTS?! It got to the point where the hotel would not let anything that remotely looked like a weapon outside the convention center and into the hotel. This, as you can imagine, is incredibly inconvenient to a LARGE chunk of cosplayers. Furthermore, anyone in costume or a badge found lurking around the lobby were promptly discriminated against and asked to leave the lobby. I myself was a victim of such judgment (I wasn’t even in costume at this point, just jeans and a Mario shirt) – I got the BIGGEST death stare from some bitch in line to get her picture taken with the lodge’s mascot.
Bottom line: The venue was a big problem for this con. I have found out that they will not be returning next year (thankfully) due to problems such as these. Only good can come of this.
Could have been better. There were both good and bad, but my biggest issue was that I could not find a panel description booklet ANYWHERE. It didn’t exist. So I had no clue what was going on or where. The panels run by the guests were phenomal, of course. DC Douglas’s Sobriety panel, Steve Downes’ panels on voice acting and Q&A, and Richard Epcar’s Outtakes were all both informative and damned hilarious. That being said, none of the other panels I knew a damned thing about because the schedule only displayed the title. I was thoroughly disappointed by the Fatal Frame panel – after sitting there for half an hour I figured out that the little girl running it had only played the game once. NEVER would I EVER run a panel after only having played the games through once. Fatal Frame is incredibly intricate and has multiple endings. I personally haven’t played it, but my friend DJ Z3r0 informed me that she missed some very key points and so I was incredibly disappointed. After that, I kinda skipped the panel scene except for the guest-run ones. Not to mention – Panel room 2 was THE HARDEST panel to find. You literally had to walk halfway through the hotel to get to it. Which, is more of a venue problem but still very inconvenient when you are trying to find your panel.
These were the main redeeming quality of the con. A&G booked Micheal McConnohie (The Lich King and various others in WoW), Richard Epcar (Batou in Ghost in the Shell and Ansem/Xehanort/Xemnas in Kingdom Hearts), Melodee Spevack, Steve Downes (Master Chief), and DC Douglas (Wesker in Resident Evil and Legion in Mass Effect) as their main guests. And they were phenomenal. Their panels were very well run, and they were just the nicest people to talk to. They pretty much hung out with the attendees the entire con. DC Douglas even asked my friends cosplaying Mario and Luigi for a photo with them. Also, I legitimately had a conversation with Master Chief about his cowboy boots. THAT. WAS. AWESOME. And D.C. Douglas is fucking hilarious. I’ll let Tingle cheese about that in her review – he was the main event for her as far as she was concerned. I didn’t find out until later that he was voice actor in my FAVORITE GAME (.Hack//G.U.) and so I didn’t get his autograph. Which I am incredibly pissed about. But, he seems to be a returner so I intend to be prepared next time – game in hand.
I have been to my fair share of raves. Mostly Anime cons, but I also run the DayGLOW scene and am starting to branch out more. And I must say this rave was the SORRIEST little piece of electronic fandom I have ever had the opportunity to witness. I couldn’t spend more than ten minutes in there. There was ABSOLUTELY no hype. I wandered in about an hour in, video camera in hand ready to do some vlogging. And there might have been fifty people there. Maybe. They were all branched off into their own little groups of two or three people, playing with their glowsticks or whatever. Now, don’t get me wrong. Glowstick twirling and LED gloves and the like are a BIG part of the raves and I embrace that. However, thats should not be the ONLY thing going on at the rave. There needs to be a crowd at the front of the stage! Head banging and people having an absolute fucking bast with very little room to move or breathe. I’m a dancer. The dancing in front of the stage with a COMPLETELY jacked crowd is my scene. If that’s not there, I’m walking out. Which is what I did. The music was alright, but no one was doing anything to hype up the crowd and get them going. Which makes me very disappointed in whatever DJs were running this thing. I’ll explain more about my criteria of a good rave in a later post. Maybe I’ll talk about that next week? Bottom line, either A&G doesn’t handle their raves right OR its just not a big enough con to support a suitable rave.
After deciding the rave SUCKED, Tingle and I went to loiter around like we do every Saturday night at a con. This led to interesting experiences with the nerd rappers that were running the lobby at the time. I have never been exposed to such ignorant crap as I was that night when some guy started rapping about cumshots. And he had all of like, five people jumping around hyped up around him. It was truly a sad sight to see. I caught it all on video though. You can bet that shit is going on YouTube. Tingle and I eventually just went to sleep because the nightlife of the con was simply so lacking. Which is NEVER the case.
One good thing was the way they handled registration. You could pay online and pick your badge up at the door. Easy stuff. They also only sold 3 day passes – there were no 1 days. Which isn’t terrible unless you’re my friend DJ Z3r0 and only have time to stop by for a day. Also, if you pre-regged it was only 25 bucks for a basic badge. 5 more got you a t-shirt, which is the CHEAPEST I have ever seen a T-shirt at a con in my entire life. Usually they are close to 15 or 20 bucks. So I went ahead and bought the 30 dollar badge. They also had this really expensive badge where you could meet with all the guests and stuff, but the guests were so friendly and pretty much hanging out with all the fans the entire time so that buying that badge really wasn’t necessary.
The video game room was also INCREDIBLY impressive. They had so many tv screens hooked up to new and old games alike. I even got to play Super Mario World in my Mario costume. That game room was freaking awesome. It had everything.
The dealer’s room was actually quite impressive for how small it was. It had everything from quality weaponry to Pokeball stress balls (which I got one). I spent ALL my money in there. ALL OF IT.
Anyway, that’s my nerd rant about A&G. The only real reason I had fun was because the Con Sluts made it fun and we just derped around and did shit. It was an okay con. It had its good points and bad points, but overall the con aspects sucked and it was the people attending the con that made it awesome, such as the Sluts and the guests. Certainly not the best con I’ve been to, but it’s cheap, fun, and I have high hopes for the new venue next year. I would post the video mash up I’ve created of our stay there, but it’s going to have to wait until May due to certain… work conflicts I am having right now. More on that as it develops.
Stay tuned next week for something more exciting! I know con reviews aren’t incredibly interesting but its been two weeks and figured I should post it.