Conventions, Good God Y’all

Today, I feel like ranting about gaming, anime and fandom conventions. For those that know me or have read some of my earlier posts, you know that I organize two gaming conventions. I dont claim to know all the secrets of running one of these events, but lately more and more conventions that I monitor seem to be doing some of the craziest stuff.

One such convention is an anime convention that features a very small amount of gaming. The convention was this past weekend; right there is one issue. Why would you hold a convention on Superbowl Sunday? Beyond that stupid move, they didn’t even announce their dates or location until 7 weeks out from the convention weekend. What could be more detrimental to your event than piss poor planing  and a short notice? Needless to say, I think this year was this conventions last year. I suspect the organizer will be closing up shop, but I could be wrong.

Another  convention of the anime and video game variety just popped up on my radar in just the last week or so. It will be hosted in the same city as the failing convention I just mentioned above. This one is a little harder to figure out. They will not make public who the organizers are even when asked outright, strange! Looking at their Facebook chatter, one can easily determine who several of the principles are Avid they are a bunch of young twenty somethings. They seems to have some pretty grandious ideas, but lack a location even though they have dates already. That’s a huge mistake; the venue’s availability is the first consideration in date selection. They are already announcing special guests and bands. I hope they have deep pockets, because people and bands don’t come cheap and usually have special considerations or requests. I think I will sit back and watch this one crash and burn.

I see many conventions struggle with a lot of the same issues that I faced over the past few years. I find it amazing that some organizers have no clue what their demographic audiences desire and what motivates them to attend a certain convention. Recently, I watched a regional game convention try to bring in anime and larping. By all accounts both were an abysmal failure. This is a great example of organizers not paying attention to what motivates their guests. They believed their guests or new prospectives guests wanted this programming-Fail!

I appreciate organizers wanting their guests to have the best experience possible, but do we really need to have a code of conduct? Oh, wait, I guess we need to especially if you event features cosplay and/or anime. Just another reason why I run gaming conventions and not fandom or anime events. I want nothing to do I with the hassles that seem to be inherent in these types of events. Don’t get me wrong I like half naked women, but not when I am gaming!

Another thing that boggles my mind from a convention management perspective–I continue to notice year after year that many gamers loathe to preregister in a timely fashion. I am not sure why, especially when registering early usually translates into savings. Many times considerable savings. All the conventions that I run or attend offer early bird specials to try and generate early cash flow. When possible, I try to preregister as early as possible so as to take advantage of the discounted admission price. I understand that everyone’s schedules are different and some may not know if they will be available until much closer to time. If the likelihood is good that you will have the time off and will attend, why not take advantage of the discount?

The last thing I want to gripe about is the attitude towards conventions that some local gamers have and I am quite positive that this attitude is systemic in the united States and overseas. The attitude of  “why should I pay when I can play for free?” I can appreciate this attitude to some extent, but when a convention can bring you events, games and guests that you can’t necessarily get for free in your game club, why wouldn’t you go? I promise a well run and organized convention will be able to offer you opportunities that you will not get playing with your friends at the the local game club. For example, at BROGFest I had three well known game designers and one up and coming designer in attendance demoing new playtest games and gaming games with the attendees. Your not going to get that playing with your friends. Let’s face it, a well run convention is good for the local gaming scene so, why would you not support it?


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