Tell Us Dammit: Conventions

As you probably know, PAX Australia is just around the corner. It's safe to say it's one of the biggest, if not the biggest, gaming convention on the Australian calendar. But it's also a good opportunity to have a chat about conventions more generally.

Conventions can be a great opportunity to see new products and things you haven't encountered before. That's especially the case if you're not up to date with the day to day minutia of what happens in gaming, entertainment and so on.

I always viewed cons as a bit like a national tournament for esports though; an opportunity for people who all shared the same hobbies to meet up in one location. A chance to hang out, see old faces, laugh, banter a bit, and then go home with or without the spoils.

But Australia has a lot more conventions than it used to ten years ago. There's Comic-Con. There's Supanova. There's the Haven expo up in Queensland's Mackay. There's AVCon. Canberra does its own thing. There's EB Expo and GX Australia. Comic Book Day basically turns each city's comic book store into a mini convention.

Put simply, there isn't a lack of opportunities to meet friends with similar hobbies. Or see the latest and greatest things on display.

So I want to put it to everyone: how do you approach conventions in general? Do you make it a habit to attend every day? Are you a meticulous planner? What are you looking for from a convention before you buy a ticket? Are you a major cosplayer, and does your decision to cosplay (and what you cosplay) affect your approach to the convention?

And just for shits and giggles: best convention you've ever attended. I want to hear about it. Was it PAX? Comic-Con? Or something not on people's radar entirely? Let us know!


Comments

    Long-time loather of Penny Arcade, so was pessimistic about PAX. I'm happy to see it's more and more it's own thing nowadays, it's almost completely separate to PA in many ways. The Americanisation/AAA circus is part-in-parcel with it, but the community that's sprung up is truly something to be proud of.

    Never actually been. It should rove around the country. PAX: Port Augusta has a nice ring to it I'd say.

    The first Australian PAX was trash. Low capacity, too many tickets sold, badly organised.

    Even now, PAX didn't release the schedule (or even the content) of the panels etc until under 2 weeks before the event. For me, that is pretty much the biggest disincentive to attend. Sure, going along and playing some games is cool, but the meat and potatoes is going to panels and events. So yeah, less than two weeks to organise time off work, buy tickets, organise accommodation and, most importantly, clear it with the family, is just not feasible for me.

    I've been to Supanova in Sydney once, and it was OK. Nothing spectacular, but got to meet Jennifer Hale, so it was probably the best convention I've been to :-)

      Agreed.
      First PAX AU was a joke.

      Back then I WAS still into Penny Arcade, and I was incredibly disappointed by how little of that pulse seemed to run throughout the show.
      This entire empire was built upon the back of Gabe & Tycho...yet PAX felt like it wanted us to ignore PA or not care about the fact that Mike & Jerry are "Mike & Jerry".

      Pretty damn weak all round, I found.
      Horribly overcrowded...
      Overpriced...
      Weak panels and such...
      Poor organization...and just a general sensation of "Is this it?" everywhere I went.

      I no longer care about PA and I'm in no hurry to return, but I'll probably see what's up in a few years when PAX AU has become a more efficient, impressive machine which is worth the money and effort.

    After attending a few Supanovas and OzComicCons on the Sundays I have found they are a lot more relaxed and less hectic. Does wonders for my social anxiety.

    Unless there is something specifically I want to see on the other days I opt for the quieter days.

    I no longer get the point of con's.

    Everything news worthy is streamed
    Everything new is available usually only a month after a con.
    Cosplaying has stopped being about fandom, and is now both an event upon itself, and a professional industry.
    And the actual original main focus of a con (getting together and playing) seems to have taken a further backseat.

    I'm happy to just be called an old man on a rocking chair, but fuck cons these days are pathetic.

    I used to like going to Manifest and Armageddon years back, when the former was more of a grassroots endeavour by university anime clubs, and the latter was a great way to score deals on games and miniatures because smaller interstate stores wanted to dump stock... I stopped going though when they all became the same sort of event with the same sort of merch and the same RRP stickers when there was no distinction unless you wanted to meet particular celebrities.

    PAX is my sort of thing though cause I can spend a day looking through any new Reaper minis and grabbing a freebie for painting, and then spend the rest of the weekend chatting with devs whose stuff I followed or backed on Kickstarter and get to see their demo and prerelease builds.

    Haven't made it to PAX yet but I go to EB Games Expo every year. I usually go all 3 days. This year I could only make one day so I bought the express gamer pass. Some games I still had to wait over an hour in the express queue. Talked to some non-express gamers that had to wait up to 6 hours to play a game. Some queued up for games for 4 hours only to be told that they couldn't play 'cause the session was coming to an end.

    Probably caused due to lack of games available. There wasn't much there this year. Hopefully some year soon I will be able to make it to PAX to see how that compares.

    I'm not going this year, but things I have enjoyed about PAX:
    - Getting to play Dragon Age Inquisition a little early and get hyped (I still have my Proof of Dragon Age card)
    - board games with lots of different people
    - getting to meet the people that make games (board games and indie games)
    - getting to try out indie games that are being released on platforms I don't have
    - meeting up with other people who I've known from KotakAU
    - meeting a whole bunch of enthusiastic Dragon Age cosplayers and taking their photos
    - occasionally, going to panels but that's not the main draw for me.

    Im part of cookie brigade (say hello and ask if its senno), so i get much joy from that. i collect pins as well, and theres a community around that. I go for everything, just to experience

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