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Unread 05-30-2013, 12:12 PM   #1
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A-Kon 2013: Feedback Thread

This thread is for posting your thoughts/opinions on A-Kon 2013!

From your experience this year, what were the pros and cons? What were the highlights and lowlights? Would you return again next year?

Also, you can discuss the particulars of the convention, such as the events, panels, masquerade, dances, etc., as well as what you thought about the con and hotel staff, the guests, convention space, food, dealer's room, attendees, and whatever else pertaining to this year's A-Kon!

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Unread 06-03-2013, 01:39 AM   #2
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My participation was pretty limited, as I showed up late on both Friday and Saturday, but here are some things that I noted from the weekend:

1. The hotel is simply gorgeous. I absolutely loved the spacious courtyard with the pond, fountain, koi fish, statues, etc. Very lovely, and it made for a nice on-site location for cosplay photos. The large yard also provided a lot of room for people to take a break outside, and thankfully the weather was nice enough for us to take advantage of this.

2. The food services was a great idea. It's frustrating when a hotel/convention center doesn't have any options for food besides driving to something or ordering delivery, so I was highly impressed to see what A-Kon did to provide food options for the attendees. I didn't get a chance to try the ticket system food, but I heard good things about the prices being reasonable and the selection good. The food trucks were a little pricey, but still a good option. A++ for these ideas!

3. It goes without saying that the atrium was a lovely part of the hotel, and I thought for sure that it would be cram-packed all the time and wouldn't be a very good place to hang out. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was so much seating, I was able to claim a place to sit at almost any time. This kind of thing isn't something you really think about until you find you're exhausted at a con from the moment you arrive, lol, so this was a big plus for me.

4. There seemed to be staff just about everywhere at all times policing the art on display and making sure people weren't standing in the middle of halls and blocking traffic. Most of the staff I saw did a very good job at balancing politeness and being firm and quick about resolving things. This helped out a lot, so thank you to all of them for helping keep things flowing smoothly and preventing things from getting damaged. I only encountered one power tripping volunteer, so I think I experienced a good rate of friendly staff. Most of them seemed to enjoy doing what they were doing and were eager to help when I had a question.

5. There were water stations EVERYWHERE and I never came across one that was empty.

EDIT: 6. There were information counters and prop check tables in multiple locations, which was convenient and good to have when the convention was all on one floor (it would suck to have to walk all the way to the opposite end of the place just to get a prop checked if you were on the wrong end).

EDIT: 7. The elevator organization was terrific. There was always a line, but it moved pretty quickly with the staff there to keep people in a line and even prevented cutting. I witnessed a staff calling for two more people to fit into an elevator, and two passers-by half jokingly said "We'll take you up on that offer!", and the staff, without missing a beat, replied, "You will need to get in line." Hahaha. I really liked that they tried to cram as many people in as they safely could, but did it quickly and efficiently. I think this approach also helped prevent people from riding elevators up and down, as I'm pretty sure that once you reached the lobby, you had no choice but to exit. I know a lot of cons that could benefit from this kind of service! *COUGHT*OhayoCon*COUGHWHEEZE*

1. The lines. The liiiiiiiiiiiiiines! I don't think A-Kon staff needs to read this to know how chaotic the lines were, but I can't not mention it. I always expect registration lines to be crazy, but I have never seen a line for a dealers room that long before. I know the room it was in was suited for it because it was so big, but with the room being at the far end of the hotel, it was just a really bad place to have the major hot spots that are registration, dealers room, and artist alley. The hallways leading to it were the narrowest parts of the hotel that I saw, so it was no surprise that it got so congested.

2. This is more of a hotel thing than a con thing, but while I loved the hotel itself, I did not like the linear layout of it. I'm used to cons having events on different floors, rather than (almost) everything on one floor. This hotel was basically one long hallway. It required lot of walking to get to places, and I think that's mostly what made it so crowded, despite how large the hotel was.

3. The dealers room seemed more overpriced than usual. I know the vendors always upcharge everything, but when things are 4x their normal retail prices, I think that's going a little far. Not everything was that bad, but I did see some things that were 3x~4x their normal prices. Everything else was closer to 2x retail prices. For example, I know some figures normally go for $30~$40 and I saw them there for $59.99. My friend bought a figure at another convention for $30 and saw the same one there for $80. One of the Japanese bread snacks, the red bean donut, is normally $1-something from the bakery it came from, but was priced at $4 each (I know because I go to Mozart bakery sometimes to get that specific donut, and the packaging was Mozart Bakery's. Part of me wondered if they just bought the donuts from the bakery and re-sold them at a higher price at their booth). I don't usually go into the dealers room expecting to have a fun shopping trip, because I know I can almost always find the things I'm interested in online for half the price that I'd see in a dealers room, but I was curious to see this one since it was so big. Still, I walked out of there with nothing. :T

EDIT: 4. While I appreciated prop check tables being in more than one location, I thought the zip tie PLUS the white circle tag was a bit excessive. I'm used to cons using zip ties for prop clearance, and they are fine because they can be easily covered for photo-taking. However, that circle tag was bulky and impossible to put my hand over entirely. I know the point of the tags is to make it obvious to passing staff that you've been checked. When I'm not posing for photos, my zip ties were perfectly visible (my props were guns and I wore them in a holster, so when I wasn't holding them for photos, the zip ties were in plain sight). The zip ties alone should have sufficed. Also, The people working the table did not have scissors to cut off the excess zip tie plastic, so that made it even more difficult to hold and cover. So next time, just the zip ties, please!

EDIT: 5. Has A-Kon ever considered mailing pre-reg badges like some other cons do? This is a WONDERFUL option to offer. It gives attendees another good incentive to pre-reg and it cuts down the pre-reg badge pick up line considerably. With A-Kon being such an old convention, I am surprised this system is not already in use.

Overall, from what I saw, I felt like A-Kon staff did a good job and were proactive with situations as they came up. I liked the hotel, though I feel like it would be more suited for a smaller convention (like Afest, perhaps). I know a smaller convention probably couldn't afford a hotel like the Anatole, but the hotel (or at least, the chosen setup) seemed crowded in most places most of the time. I might like to see it there again if they could utilize upper floors and spread the programming out upwards instead of keeping all of the traffic on the one floor for the most part.
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Last edited by Starlit Rose : 06-03-2013 at 01:38 PM.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 09:01 AM   #3
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Man I am worn out but I wanted to post this while everything was still fresh in my head.


1: Food trucks, they were amazing they offered a bunch of reasonably priced food and a great variety I hope next year they know how much we like them and come with more food as well as show up on Sunday as well. Snow cones truck was my favorite nice cold treat for all that hot weather.

2: Hotel Staff, I have to say the staff that I ran into from the hotel were always super pleasant and helpful. Never treated like less of a person whether I was in street clothes or painted blue. They always smiled and helped to the best of there ability.

3: The Hotel it self, It was simply gorgeous and so spacious I loved all the great places for photos and just how much there was to explore, I am still sure there are spots of it that I missed.


1: The lines, I seriously felt like I was in line for 80% of the con either a line to get to another part of the hotel, a line to get to something. And most of the time I felt like the lines where not as well organized as they maybe could have been. I actually missed a few panels because of line mix ups. It isn't anything too life ending but it was frustrating to wait in what I thought was a line for almost an hour to find out someone else managing a different part of the line had not coordinated with the end of the line organizer and so we were actually not in line.

2: Registration location: This may not be possible but I feel like it would save on a lot of congestion if this was moved to another less used part of the convention space the atrium's were mostly empty for the better part of Thursday and Friday and Maybe the registration/weapons check could be moved to there for the next year. That long hallway is already going to be packed with people going to see the artist ally and dealers room its even more congested with that there also. I feel it's kind of silly to have to wait in another line just to get out of the area or to go in there to get to the food trucks. Especially sense there was so much unused space, or at least it looked unused to me, elsewhere in the convention.

3: signage/map: I found them very confusing. Part of it being I had never been here before and it was so big I found myself getting turned around a lot even using the map so maybe next year hang banners or something kind of like road signs on the high way to let everyone know they are moving in the right direction? I don't know how realistic it would be but I thought it might be helpful.

4: Yelling: I feel like this had to do with out crowded some spots were but every time I would try going to the dealers room it was just a bunch of staff yelling to try and get everyone to the right spot. I understood why they had to do it but it made for a very uncomfortable wait. I am unsure how to fix that issue itself it was just something I was not a big fan of not to mention the poor staff having to yell all weekend probably have no voice this week.

5: Tempurature, I found that if I was past the long hot hallway and in the area with the dealers room and artist ally I was fine, sometimes a little cold which I like better as a cosplayer. But if I was anywhere else in the hotel I was sweating especially in the atrium's which were no where near as crowded. It may not be a fixable problem but if it could be even a little cooler over on that side that would be awesome.

All in all I felt it was okay this year. I had fun getting a few pictures in the nice new locations, I also did enjoy the panels I got to go to, and the dealers room and artist ally were awesome, best so far! However I felt that I missed a lot not being able to find my way around and endless waiting when I was on the way somewhere. I feel like a lot of this will get better as the con settles in and gets more familiar with the area. Hopefully this is helpful and next year will be even better!
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Unread 06-03-2013, 09:20 AM   #4
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First, I would like to say a HUGE thank you to those who attended the Costume Armor and Altering Patterns panels. Hopefully they proved useful to people.

If you enjoyed either of those panels, please let A-Kon know so that we can return next year. Also, if you have suggestions for content, let us know.

I honestly didn't experience much of any of the convention due to press duties, but from what I did see, some commentary:


1) Press: A-Kon is always wonderfully polite and accommodating to their press. THANK YOU for that; it makes our job much easier. Also, thank you for the communication about interviews and making the guests available to us.

2) Food court: kudos to the hotel for running a smooth operation. There was a good variety of food, and the ticket system worked well for me. The hotel had plenty of food and lines moved quickly.

3) Signage and panel schedules: I'm glad these were posted in large friendly letters out front; it made finding the panels I was filming much easier. Staff were also helpful the times when I had contact with them. (Sorry again Maegan!)

4) Cosplay contest: the process was run smoothly, even if it took a lot of time. Also, I love Kyle Hebert doing the announcements.

5) Hotel staff, especially valet staff, were very friendly. Kudos to them.

6) Panels: for the most part, the panels seemed to be a huge success. Most were well attended and had good content. Also, a HUGE thank you to the A/V staff, A-Kon TV staff, and panel/programming staff. They were an incredible help to my panels.

7) Water stations: God bless you for having well stocked water stations everywhere.

8) Con funk: there seemed to be a distinct lack of this. People used soap and showered. WAHOOOO!!!!!

9) Cosplay: the level of cosplay was happily high this year. Fantastic costumes. Also, people seemed to be actively using the photoshoot locations outside every time I looked.


1) Parking: I know this was all covered in the How Did We Do? panel on Sunday. Basically, a nightmare. I know we at CosPod tried to put out a basic parking map so that people could see their options, but it's far, far better to have an official A-Kon produced map.

2) Elevators: also covered in the feedback panel. As a cosplayer with a large costume and as freelance press who had to carry a LOT of equipment around, I had trouble getting in elevators simply because a) they were always full or b) they never stopped at my floor. Stairs were infeasible for me most of the time, though once I did have to attempt the escalator stairs since I would have been late for the cosplay contest otherwise. Also, even if there were lines at the elevators, if a particular elevator opened on the other side of the hallway, those people standing nearest it jumped in it instead of allowing the people at the head of the line to go first. It was impolite at best and disrespectful/rude at worst.

3) Crowded hallways: I made extra effort to stay to the side with my costumes/equipment, but even then, it was difficult to move through the hallway between Tower and Atrium. There should be a tacit rule that, just like driving, traffic should move in one direction on the left and the opposite direction on the right--no crossing 'lanes'.

4) Overpriced hotel: while the rooms were already overpriced, the convenience 'stores' were DEFINITELY so. $2 for a can of soda? Snacks were up to $4 each? We're already paying a lot of money for the room and parking...I would ask that the hotel kindly reconsider their pricing structure.

5) Missing Vic at Voice Actors Cold Read: I understand that he loves his fans and wants to give his time to them. I really do. At the same time, I usually go to the VACR specifically to see him and Kyle Hebert ham it up, so I was disappointed that he did not make it again this year.

6) Getting out of the Dealer's Den area: we were forced to go outside to leave the DD area. I had recording equipment with me, and because the ground was muddy, I literally had to lift my hand truck of equipment and carry it across the ground. Not. Cool.

7) The elevator to the Mezzanine area wasn't well advertised. I understand that's so that general attendees don't use it, but panelists need to know about it. I didn't find out about it until one of the staff photographers told me about it.

All in all, more positive than negative from what little I was able to see. I will definitely be back next year.

Last edited by Celyddon : 06-03-2013 at 11:23 AM.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 12:46 PM   #5
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Easily the worst A-kon in recent memory. There wasn't a single positive that could be said about this con.

The parking was abysmal, people who didn't stay at any of the hotels couldn't park anywhere, and hundreds of people got their cars towed.

The registration lines were 5-6 hours long because they had less than 5 people manning registration. Other cons of similar or greater size always have 10+ registration booths. Also they were doing things very old school, and had cash only or credit only booths, which is ridiculous.

The staff were terrible and treated their customers like cattle, yelling and verbally abusing everyone. They do this every year and people complain about it every year and they do nothing about it. They don't care.

And the hotel in general is a terrible location and the layout is expansive but confusing. People who stayed at the hotel were denied amenities simply because they were there for A-kon. I won't be back to A-Kon as long as it's at the Anatole.

Okay there was one positive about the con: the water stations. But that's about it.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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Hotel Staff I never ran in to a single rude hotel staff, they were very friendly any time I had questions.

Food: I didn't get to try the food court thing until the end, but it was brilliant! Good prices, decent food. The food trucks are fun, a little pricey for me, but the Bahn Mhi truck is just so delicious.

Water Stations: Best thing to happen to A-kon, ever. In the past there were far fewer, and always running out. This was perfect, and much needed! Thank you!


Con Staff: Listen, I understand you were stressed out because of fire code and everything, but SCREAMING at your attendees is not the answer. When I walk up to one of you to ask you a question, I don't like being yelled at to walk around and get in one of the lines. I'm walking up for a reason, and then will gladly comply. I encountered rude staff on a power trip on multiple occasions. Maybe a little more effort in to training your volunteers or a stricter acceptance qualifications.

The Hotel The Sheraton was crowded in the past, but it still felt easier to get around at some points than the larger Anatole. I missed a lot because of the long, flat layout and the long hallways. Walking down these narrow hallways all the time led to my shoulder armor getting ripped off multiple times, just because we had to walk like sardines down the hall. Also, the rooms in general (aside from main events) seemed smaller despite the larger hotel space. I know many events that filled up very quickly after waiting in loooong lines.

I ended up paying more money for an A-kon badge than ever before in the past, and yet didn't get anything out of it. I went to the dealers room once, was disappointed and left. Oh wait, I went to the rave for a few minutes before leaving. It was... not good. On that note...

The Dances: Make your DJs audition? If you do that already, maybe put up some polls on your website or forum so attendees can vote on them before the convention. Conventions is the only time I'll dance, eveeer, and it was very disappointing not being able to do that this year.

Parking: Does this need an explanation? I think we all know how awful the parking situation was. -_-

In general I feel like the Anatole was an interesting transition, but still not a large enough venue for A-kon. This could possible fixed with better planning and layout decisions.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 01:09 PM   #7
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Unread 06-03-2013, 07:08 PM   #8
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I cant believe you guys are giving the hotel props for food. This is by far the worst thing to suffer from the move to this Hotel.

I have been going to A-kon for about 6 years now and this was the first time I had to dedicate an extensive amount of time to find food. At Sheraton, there was that big food court at the connected hotel and plenty of places you could walk to. A ton of great, cheap food options.

The Hilton Anatole food could barely be legally considered food. I bought 10 ticket and spent all 10 on a "Turkey" BBQ sandwich that consisted of flat discs of some kind of mashed together "meat" that tasted like a$$. The food trucks were alright but the lines were huge and they weren't around in the morning at all, and most of them were gone completely after Friday.

The only place to walk to was that Denny's, other than that you had to get in your car and drive somewhere, which always lead to problems with finding parking again when you returned.

I was starving for most of the con, and I even brought some sandwich meat with me.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 07:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Diedrupo View Post
People who stayed at the hotel were denied amenities simply because they were there for A-kon.
I called and asked if we could get a few extra pillows, and they refused. An absolute first at any hotel I've been to, even sold out A-kon hotels.

I called and asked for extra towels. Again, they refused. Never in any hotel has that happened to me.

This new location is a safety hazzard
Also, I'd like to point out a much greater point- that this was the first con I've been to were I was actually in danger.

On Saturday, I walked toward the Dealer's Room/ Artist Alley area. While I was walking through the hallway, it got so crowded that everybody had to completely stop. The entire left side of the wall was already taken up by people waiting in line for registration, and the other side of the hall was being more and more congested while nobody was able to move forward.

What ended up happening is that I had to stand in the hallway almost completely still while people kept pouring in from behind. I very quickly began to lose more and more space until we were completely packed and unable to move. On top of that, some moron started messing around with the fire alarm.

If people in such and insanely packed area that are not able to move began to panic due to the fire alarm, people could have been easily trampled and killed. I was genuinely worried for my safety, it took me about twenty minutes to free myself of that hallway.

Holy !!!!. Holding this convention that has this many attendees in a hotel that consists of long, narrow hallways is a recipe for serious disaster.

I honestly have nothing positive to say about the new venue. It works very well for Quake-Con, it was a nightmare for A-kon.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 07:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EmperorCesar View Post
I cant believe you guys are giving the hotel props for food. This is by far the worst thing to suffer from the move to this Hotel.
I should have also clarified that this was my first A-Kon, so I did not have the previous A-Kon hotel to compare my experience to. With that said, I was drawing on my experience from conventions that did not provide any food options because the convention centers/hotels either didn't have anything or the only options were an expensive sit-down restaurant and a long walk to a McDonald's down the road. So knowing the Anatole didn't have anything, I was pleased to see that they actually tried to provide food services anyway. The ones I've been to never did that sort of thing.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 08:02 PM   #11
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Worst A-Kon Yet

This was the worst A-Kon yet. I'm almost convinced of taking it off my convention list, but a friend explained the issues of a change in location.

-Food. For a con, the food was decently priced. There was also a wide selection. There was the hotel's food, the fair style food system in Atrium I, and food trucks. The food trucks were there at least until 11 on Saturday night, which was a savior.

-Wonderful scenery. There were plenty of places to take pictures. I didn't get to take as many as I would have wished because of the crowds. (Horrible light and no crowd OR great light and people in my backgrounds.)

-Panelists. I didn't get to attend as many panels as I would have liked, but the panels that I did attend generally had great information. I attended one panel and the host was so hard to follow. They spoke clearly and everything, but they were so dull. It was even a topic I was interested in! Later that day I went to a different panel with a different host (two hosts, actually). I knew almost all of the information, but they kept everything going with a subtle humor and feedback from the audience.

-Parking. I didn't even have to park, and I took issue with this. I live close enough to Dallas, so my mother dropped me and a couple of friends off for the weekend. Parking was almost $20 per day. Horror story: My roommate's friend parked in one of the free parking lots across the high way. It was advertised as con parking. She went back the following day only to see lines of tow trucks removing all the cars and impounding them. Signs were placed up later that there was no overnight parking allowed.

-Congestion. Pre-reg lines and on-site registration lines were the worst. They provided so much congestion, it almost wasn't funny. They tried to keep everyone next to the walls, but that didn't work at all. There was almost no room for the lines. If the lines weren't a factor, there was plenty of space.

-Staff. I found the staff overall rude and not informed. I asked one woman sitting at the main info desk where something was and she just stared at me and shrugged. Weapon check was the worst.
-Weapons check: I cosplay Maka Albarn from Soul Eater. She carries a massive scythe. My scythe is made out of PVC pipe for the pole part and foam board for the blade. Without the weight displacement, it weighs about 3 pounds -- not much at all. They sent me to two different weapons check areas before turning me down. One woman claiming to be the head of security (who she wasn't because my group of friends know the REAL head of security personally), accused me of trying to get my weapon checked by different staff to see if one would pass it. Wtf. Meanwhile, the other guy beat the crap out of the tip of the scythe to see what damage it would do. After damaging my prop, he refused to let us in with it. He didn't like the sound it made when assaulting the table. The dude in front of us had a hard wood sword and that passed. My poor, now damaged, foam board weapon did not.

-Lines. Lines EVERYWHERE. They caused so much congestion. Aside from that, they took way too long to go through, especially the pre-reg line. On Thursday, the day before the con, we stood in line for almost 4 hours to get our badge. Thank goodness we got there at 4. They closed registration at 9. Everyone still in line had to try again the next day.

I'm not impressed, and I'm sincerely considering not returning.
Edit: I did not stay at the Anatole, but I did stay at a non-convention supported hotel across the street. Because of this, I had no trouble with the Anatole's hotel staff.

Last edited by SafetyPinBandit : 06-03-2013 at 08:04 PM.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 12:27 AM   #12
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I guess I'll throw in my two cents. As somebody who prioritized friends and a few gatherings due to college in the fall limiting time over panels and events, my viewpoint is probably pretty different.

Gorgeous Location: It really was. The courtyard/garden area was roomy and never felt extremely crowded. Plus, feeding the koi proved to be a rather enjoyable break from time to time when I needed a calm place to be. I'm absolutely positive I contributed to them possibly getting fat. XD

Water Stations!!: I don't think there has ever been a con like this where I've not gone thirsty for a bit before. I brought and froze my own water, but I found myself using them more for when I was outside for prolonged periods of time rather than the norm. Tons of kudos to the staff on that part, considering the health hazards that come with summer cons in Texas.

The Hotel Staff: I only ran into them a few times when they were changing out the water stations, but they were always kind and courteous to me. I stayed off in a neighboring hotel, though, so that was the only time I did seem to see them.

Treatment of the VG Cosplay Contest: I did happen to be in a group that placed this year, and I was extremely disappointed in how the Main Stage Cosplay treated us. There were no chairs designated for us (I know several of the winning costumes, mine included, required us to sit for a bit after the entire day's walking to save our props and stamina), and we went from getting our awards on stage to just posing on stage to walking on stage and hoping the guy reading our names off didn't finish before we all got onstage. Considering what followed our literal 5 seconds on stage though, it was easy to see where the priorities were.

Weapon's Check The numerous sites were helpful, but the vague and stupid things that my friends got told were ridiculous. My roommates' Aeroguns were told to be "too pointy" and I was sent upstairs to have Kon Patrol check my Falchion for it being a "large scale prop". (Which, the guy at Kon Patrol at that time apologized on because he said that was the stupidest reason to have sent me upstairs.) Have to say that they really should have had scissors as well, as those zip ties were far too long on some of my props, and I don't ever think to bring scissors down to the con floor.

Other than that, there were lines, but that is just something the con will learn to figure out. Like I said, I didn't really run into problems. There were instances with drunken people I didn't like, but that's not the con's fault. Overall, about average on the con scale. Won't be back next year, but that's because of college. XD
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Unread 06-04-2013, 04:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SafetyPinBandit View Post
This was the worst A-Kon yet. I'm almost convinced of taking it off my convention list, but a friend explained the issues of a change in location.

-Staff. I found the staff overall rude and not informed. I asked one woman sitting at the main info desk where something was and she just stared at me and shrugged. Weapon check was the worst.
-Weapons check: I cosplay Maka Albarn from Soul Eater. She carries a massive scythe. My scythe is made out of PVC pipe for the pole part and foam board for the blade. Without the weight displacement, it weighs about 3 pounds -- not much at all. They sent me to two different weapons check areas before turning me down. One woman claiming to be the head of security (who she wasn't because my group of friends know the REAL head of security personally), accused me of trying to get my weapon checked by different staff to see if one would pass it. Wtf. Meanwhile, the other guy beat the crap out of the tip of the scythe to see what damage it would do. After damaging my prop, he refused to let us in with it. He didn't like the sound it made when assaulting the table. The dude in front of us had a hard wood sword and that passed. My poor, now damaged, foam board weapon did not.
Uhm...wow. I've been going to A-kon for 8 years...and I've never had an issue with weapons check. It is usually quick and the people are generally, super nice. I am beyond shocked at this...but I'd have been screaming and yelling...and demanding to speak to the head of staff or the like if the weapons check broke my prop. I'm not usually easily peeved, but that is just ridiculous. It's a PROP, not a beating stick.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 12:51 PM   #14
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For easier reading I decided to bold some importan parts

I come from Florida and I have been to conventions all over there and Georgia. The past two weeks marked the furthest I have ever traveled to a convention.

The first being Animazement in Raleigh, NC. I went to this as a favor to somebody and it was a convention I really wanted to go to a long time ago. The second being A-KON which I was generally excited to go to as it would be the largest convention I have been to that was dedicated to anime/video games (not comics).

In a comparison there were some things Animazement succeeded over A-KON. AZ had a a slightly better dealers room and the video game room was one of the best I had ever seen. A-KON on the other hand had superior location and attendance. What I saw costume wise was overall better.

To get them out of the way, the problems with A-KON seem to be associated with what made it appealing. For one paying for parking was pretty much the same price I had paid for my room which was a little ridiculous. I probably would have not minded the parking price if I was able to car pool with 3 people, but that was not an option. Then there were the long amount of lines. The pre-reg line was the longest line I had ever seen of anything in existence and this was on Thursday. Even the on-site reg line resembled something I would see at the pre-reg line for AWA. At AZ I arrived around 6 on Thursday and I only had to wait 15 minutes to pick up my badge. While at A-KON I arrived at the same tmie and had to wait an hour and a half.

Lines were also a problem when it came to attending any of the programming. You really have to plan 10 hours in advance if you want to go to something, where as most of the events in AZ I could just walk in at any point. I understand that this is owed to it being a larger convention, but I wonder what alternatives could be made. The programming I did see however was much more engaging, varied and interesting than AZ which had some pretty shoddy organization/production values.

A-KON is also one of the larger cons I have seen without an arcade. While ScrewAttack did bring a few machines for the dealers room and there was that mech game you had to pay to play, it would have been nice to see some DDR, Pump It Up and other type of machines.

The overall atmosphere however was better at A-KON. People were generally nicer and excited to get their photos with me. When it came to doing my own photoshoots I had two cancellations from one person (partly my mistake for letting them book 3). I had a total of 12 shoots from Thursday to Sunday and had people express interest for more. At AZ I had 6 after 3 cancellations from three different people.
The location is also one of the best I have seen for photos and had so much potential that if it returns there I will have to be more prepared for.

Cosplays I saw were also better. While there were plenty of excellent craftsmenship at AZ, A-KON supplied a better variety. It is rare to see one Crono at a convention.. let alone 4.

Nobody ever bothered me staff or rules wise at both conventions. Although I have heard several complaints for more AZ and AKON. Such as A-KON's weapons check or AZ's temporary dslr ban. The only time I was ever bothered at A-KON was when I took a picture of someone on the stairs which is obviously a problem so I am not going to complain. They also let me take it and leave rather than just stopping me entirely.

Overall I enjoyed A-KON more due to its social atmosphere, location, cosplay and programming more AZ. AZ however did have the superior video game room and shorter lines. I will likely be going back to A-KON over AZ if the forces that be allow me to return.
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Last edited by Sufida : 06-04-2013 at 01:00 PM.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 05:14 PM   #15
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Ugh, my experience of the con was super limited. Basically to the contest. And that's it.
We were the Soul Eater "Statement! Followed by a Question?" group. Not gonna write everything out twice, so here's the link to the Tumblr explaining what happened back stage. (Yes, we did talk to the convention peeps, so it's not like I'm posting behind backs or anything.)


So yeah... Needless to say, if we ever go back to Akon, we will never get on stage again. We don't blame the judges or anything (Since they had no control over any of that) we just don't want to see this happen to another team.

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