This past weekend I attended my first ever ConnectiCon and to be honest, I have mixed feelings about the event. In a lot of ways, it’s your typical convention. There were a lot of enthusiasts (some may call them “nerds”) dressed up as their favorite anime/comic/video game characters. There were a lot of people selling niche items, like foam swords, cat ears, Sonic the Hedgehog backpacks, “real swords” and funny T-Shirts. And then there were a bunch of fan run events like dances, Masquerades, panels and anime screenings.
But only several hours into my first day, I was complaining that there was nothing I wanted to see. I don’t read webcomics, I don’t watch nearly as much anime as I used to and if I bought a sword I’d only poke my eye out. New York Comic Con (sorry for the name drop) was the only other con I’d ever been to. And at first the only thing ConnectiCon did was make me wish I was there instead.
When I’m at the NY con I always feel like there’s something I have to see–whether it’s a Q&A with Stan Lee or a demo of a video game that isn’t anywhere else yet. I was actually griping aloud about this in the hotel bar (which is thankfully a stones throw from the convention center) when I was told it was unfair to compare the two. It was one of those bar conversations strangers will occasionally engage you in and you find yourself agreeing profusely just to get out of it. This guy went on to tell me it wasn’t fair to compare the two because the NY Comic Con was run by corporations and ConnectiCon was run by fans for fans. And I agreed with him at the time because, honestly, he was creeping me out. But, later on I realized he was right. It really wasn’t right to compare the two. At the NY Comic Con I always feel like I’m under the gun and forced to see everything I can. Most of my time there is spent in transit or standing in line as I go from one spot to another. But I realized that for me, ConnectiCon was less about seeing and more about doing.
It took a while but I realized it was okay to fight in a foam sword tournament and it was okay to play one of those weird RPG board games I don’t understand. And it was okay to be eliminated by two 11 year old children in Smash Brothers and be unable to scream obscenities at them because their father is right behind you.
I’m not saying there won’t be events or panels that you’ll want to check out but I feel that ConnectiCon is less of a “must-see” convention and more of a “can-do” one. And despite my initial reaction I’m looking forward to 2011.
Pictues! (this is what you all came for right?)