Hehe, I don’t know, made me laugh… although I have no idea what the ‘wai’ in ‘waicon’ actually means, but I think in this case ignorance is somewhat blissful.
So anyway, an old tradition I had on the old blogs was to write a daily con report for everyday I attended, but alas most of those have been lost to the ether which is a shame as I would love to get back those reports in some form or another. One of the tragic ironies of volunteering for a convention is that so much stuff was going on, but sadly I was so extremely tired to write much of it down, although there was sadly very little things of note that would be report worthy (I didn’t meet any celebrities, get autographs, etc) but I think I should at least restart this tradition by presenting an overall reflection of my experiences with this convention.
Friday – Setup
Most of this day seemed to revolve around sitting or driving around in my car. I picked up my
co-conspirator friend Jon and we drove
to our friend’s (and Gamezone manager) Adam’s temporary residence1
to go grab all the gear. Unfortunately when we arrived we were informed the
truck that was supposed to picking up the large and heavy gaming rigs was going
to be delayed by 2 hours. So it was decided that we would load up my car and my
other co-conspirator friend Toby’s car with all the rest of the gaming
gear so we can get it all to the PCEC (where the con was being held) and unload
whilst we wait. We finally got to the PCEC after a, at times arduous, convoy as
I didn’t know how to get into the back around of the PCEC to the loading bay,
and offloaded all the equipment when we were informed that that truck was on
it’s way to grab the rigs. I volunteered to drive back to the house and
supervise the loading and rushed to get there to tell people what to do. We
finally arrive back about 15 minutes late, but the truck didn’t arrive… the
truck itself was running late. So we waited around in the car for almost an
hour until it finally arrived, loaded it up and sent them packing.
The rest of the evening was spent procuring supplies for both Jon and me to finish fixing or completing our costumes ready for the next day. In fact I was so busy trying to get stuff done (including a part that I completely forgot about which I should have finished weeks ago but alas), that I went to bed at 2am... with a 6am alarm call…
Saturday - Day 1
I awake to find that Adam, Toby, AJ (another friend who I didn’t mention earlier who helped with the move) didn’t finish what should have been a very simple setup until late the previous night… apparently the truck that picked up the rigs took a couple more hours to get to the PCEC, delaying most of the setup, meaning things were still needed to be finished when I got there. Thankfully we had some awesome volunteers2, and extra tables and chairs arriving, and we managed to get everything ready for the influx of people into the gaming area… Then we ran out of AA batteries for a console and printer ink for registration applications. So I went and bought some batteries with the very little money that I had, because I couldn’t find anyone in the Waicon committee that would tell me how to get funds to get them, which would eventually come to bite me in the ass when my fuel almost ran out from all the extra trips I had to do (I filled up my car three days beforehand). I also eventually managed to get the extra 100 registration applications printed out by the co-ordinator at the PCEC, which thankfully lasted us until we stopped registration for the day (about 5 seconds after the last application was filled).
Most of the first half of the day was spent just keeping an eye on the crowd and helping out around the gamezone… until I had to start the tournaments!!! I must admit I had some of the most fun I’ve ever had a con, despite some of the headaches inherit with herding Gamers and physical toil it came with shouting over an entire con floor trying to announce things (we have no microphones or amplifiers). It was pretty exhausting trying to shout so everyone could hear me, especially as people had applied but didn’t turn up (or turned up incredibly late) and I still had to call their names out, then setting up each player going over the basic rules, but I did get to have a few minutes respite during gaming… or at least I would have if I didn’t become a focal point for people to latch onto for asking questions or just talk gaming. It honestly was fun but it did get really draining. When I wasn’t announcing I was helping with fielding answers for the Registration Desk to give the registers a chance to input everything or give me the lists of applicants for the tournaments.
After we finally finished the tournaments for the day, I was given about 20 minutes to walk the floor with (or more accurately by dragged around in a stupor by) Jon, where I was heartbroken to find a Derpy plushy that was $200 (which was approximately $200 dollars more then I have), which was thankfully(?) sold on the next day so I couldn’t pine for it. Saw and met an awesome Handsome Jack, who we are now grouping together with some other cosplayers as a Borderlands costume group for Supanova3. Ultimately I only had a small handful of pictures taken of my costume that day…
Oh yeah… I was dressed up as Big Macintosh from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
That evening after a small pack down and closing up shop, we all filled into the theatre to watch the brilliant John Robertson perform live on stage his interactive show ‘The Dark Room’. If you don’t know what this is, stop reading NO NOT RIGHT NOW?!?! How would you know what to do? After I’ve finished with the instructions, go open up YouTube and yes on a separate browser window, I still want you here don’t I? Next, do a search for “The Dark Room”, when you see a face on a black background staring at you go watch it. When you get frustrated with [REDACTED] come back here and keep reading. Okay, you can go now… *whistles innocently whilst twiddles thumbs*… okay so you’re back and probably wanting to simultaneously kill me and (hopefully) laugh your ass off. Well imagine that but done live with 1,800 people, most of which were jumping and screaming to be picked, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic night of hilarity. It’s one of those “you really most experience this!” type of deals, but it possibly won’t be as big as that one at Waicon4.
I got back home and crashed pretty hard... to once again have to wake up at 6am.
Sunday - Day 2 and Pack Down
If anyone thinks that this day would have been a little bit easier (especially considering I wasn’t wearing shoes that were actively trying to kill me), then you’d probably be a tad wrong. I was still exhausted from the previous day and it was more of a job to keep the energy going. Right early I had to go get more stuff printed out, but after that I was helping once again with registration (mostly because I wasn’t sure I could stand guard at the door without keeling over and possibly knocking someone out), until the first tournament occurred. Now it probably wouldn’t have been that big a thing, but I practically ran all the Fighting Game tournaments, and to give some context I haven’t really played a whole lot of hardcore fighting games since Mortal Kombat 2 on the Mega Drive (except Super Smash Bros, but I don’t count that)5. So I’m tying to run these tournaments, whilst fielding questions about games I’ve never played, whilst trying to herd gamers, whilst experiencing technical difficulties, whilst trying to not collapse. After one really long tournament (at one point it looked like I had to try and get nearly 20 people to play on one console 2 at a time), I took a little break and went to my car for 10 minutes to decompress. I then practically didn’t rest until about 10pm(?)... and no I don’t count driving or waiting in my car resting (which some might, but I don’t as it wasn’t exactly restful).
Apart from the technical hiccups and some personal financial crisiseseseses involving fuel and parking, the rest of the day went really well, but I was thoroughly exhausted. I know I wrote something yesterday on my mobile but I really can’t recall anything but that my mobile internet and blogger hate each other’s guts, although I did find there out is a blogger app so I’m guessing they prefer you use that. The only I posted when I did was because a blog post I wrote a few days ago didn’t sync in my Dropbox on my other computer so I was unable to schedule a post of it (I don’t like accessing it with my laptop as it has a tendency to crash). My mental faculties also severely deteriorated by the end of the day due to sheer exhaustion and I found it difficult to put sentences together without stuttering or stumbling over words, it was actually somewhat distressing as I don’t think I’ve ever been that truly exhausted before.
Anyway this is now officially my long post, running in on just four pages long, and if you’ve made it this far you probably deserve a medal. If you haven’t, you’re probably still cursing at John Robertson, so it’s all good.
1 - Which in context is about a 45-60 minute drive away from my house, plus the roughly 15 minute detour to grab Jon, makes for one long ass drive, especially twice in one day and at 9pm after a exhausting 10-hour day with little sleep, little food, and some hydration… I’m lucky to get home in one piece, shame about the other drivers.
2 - Whose names I sadly never learned but would have promptly forgotten anyway due to my horrendous memory for such things, and yes I feel like a bit of a schmuck.
3 - I think that’s officially my third costume group, or at least I’m counting it as such because of the member variances… well for now as both Jon, Toby and myself are members of all three at this time, we can always add more.
4 – For that don’t know, John Robertson was the official presenter for the Madman Cosplay Competion for both Waicon and Supanova, and is quite rightly regarded as the best presenter of these shows in the country (hell possibly the world), but this Waicon is to be his last as he is moving to England to further his stand-up career. The crowd at Waicon absolutely adores him, so it’s was a somewhat more emotional and involved crowd then you’ll ever see anywhere. Hell the ‘Dark Room’ concept evolved from as a random gag in his stand-up performance the previous year. I don’t envy his replacement for the cosplay shows, he’s going to be missed hard.
5 – Compounded by the fact that the group that was supposed to turn up to run said fighting game tournaments… didn’t. We still had their equipment, but I wasn’t technically proficient in their usage or troubleshoot, nor do I know the games that were in fact running.