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Unread 04-09-2018, 07:00 PM   #1
Maurishio-kun
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Question What makes a fun / boring con to you?

It can be internal or external factors.

To me:

Fun:
- Lots of activities to do
- Lots of space to move around and take pictures
- When they organize plenty of activities not only for cosplayers but for normal congoers too
- If going with friends, being with some that they love to do a lot of things and have fun

To me, a fun con is where you have a lot of fun things to do, you go there to have fun and as an event you go for fun you sometimes want to do something there that keeps you busy.

Boring:
- Almost no activities, most of them only for cosplayers (I'm a cosplayer but I also enjoy doing congoers' activities and some cons don't have them)
- Few space to move (Ex. A micro-con at a small bar)
- If going with friends, being with those that are lazy and easily get tired and prefer to stay sat down while just doing some few or no activities

I mean: I like micro-cons when they're creatively planified to make you move and do something else than just sitting on a stool waiting it to end whilke checking your phone, otherwise I's be boring, and believe me, I've been in micro-cons like that.

There may be more of my reasons but I'll post them later.
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Unread 04-09-2018, 07:50 PM   #2
Jei-Cos
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This may be just me, but the only think that makes a con less fun for me, is less people attending and/or a super small con. I like talking to other cosplayers, and taking photos and videos of them, as well as filming the con itself. If the con is super small, it makes for a 5 min video tops. There's nothing else to show, thus me trying to have multiple videos for my youtube channel from a con would mean all of the videos will basically show the exact same stuff. And if it isn't obvious, less people means less cosplayer footage, and less photos. Those are the things I go to cons for mostly.
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Unread 04-09-2018, 08:36 PM   #3
walkerofdarknes
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Yeah, I'd agree that the activities are a big plus to me, and badly executed/nonexistant activities are what ruin a con for me. I mean, if I wanted to go SHOPPING for stuff, then I'd just buy it online and save the markups (even with shipping fees!).

I had gone to a "new" to the area con last year, and it was half-booked with a business meeting. It was a little odd to be in costume and have a number of suit and tie folks staring at you. But what really killed it for me was the bad setup of events.
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Unread 04-10-2018, 01:39 PM   #4
gypsy_girl
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I don't mind small cons. They can be a lot of fun and you can really get to know people. But they still need to be well organized. CostumeCon and YetiCon aren't huge, but I've always had a good time there.

One thing that can have a serious negative affect on the enjoyment of a con is congestion. If there're too many people and you can't move. I also find if the con isn't organized for waiting lines can be a downer, too.
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Unread 04-10-2018, 01:51 PM   #5
Chiagirl
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I tend to be bored at smaller cons because there usually isn't a wide variety of panels / cosplayers / activities to hold my attention, so I feel as though I've seen everything I wanted to within an hour or two. Large cons usually have multiple panels / anime / activities going on at once so there's usually something you can find to interest you, and if not there's also a much wider variety of cosplayers there so you don't feel as though you've seen everyone's costume after the first hour. It's why I've kind of ditched my local con even though it's close enough that I wouldn't need a hotel room for it; I'm just not getting enough enjoyment out of it to even justify the cost of the badge. 5,000 attendees and up is usually the sweet spot for me.
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Unread 04-10-2018, 03:23 PM   #6
Asmaria
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsy_girl View Post
I don't mind small cons. They can be a lot of fun and you can really get to know people. But they still need to be well organized. CostumeCon and YetiCon aren't huge, but I've always had a good time there.

One thing that can have a serious negative affect on the enjoyment of a con is congestion. If there're too many people and you can't move. I also find if the con isn't organized for waiting lines can be a downer, too.
Oh man. Congestion can really ruin a con for me. You have no room to move, let alone take pictures!

I love small cons and don't mind if they are pretty tiny, as long as attendance doesn't drop below like 100 or so. I make more friends at those, and generally goof off more. At big cons, we wander around constantly and I keep missing people I am looking for.

But on that note, big cons mean usually a lot more to buy, to look at, and photo opportunities. It's a bigger chance of finding pics of yourself later, and if the location is good, it's great for groups and photoshoots.

I love a good artist alley. I'm super excited to go to A-kon this year and buy everything I can get my hands on (RIP wallet OTL). Older cons had harder to find stuff, but I've talked to a lot of vendors recently and asked why they don't stock obscure stuff, and they say it's just not cost effective. So I tend to shop yahoo-japan for what I really want officially (or Ami-Ami), and then support local artists at cons.

...you know, I almost forgot to mention food. If a con doesn't have good food options, and well placed water, I'm miserable. It could be lacking everything else but have good food, and I'd still find a way to have fun. If it has no choices to find anything to eat or I'm dehydrated, no amount of fun panels, shoots, and merch can make up for it.
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Unread 04-10-2018, 06:43 PM   #7
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For me, size isn't as important; I've attended Katsucon a few times and it's big, but never really to the point everyone is in each others way. For smaller cons, 250 to 1000 or so, those can be great, but there does need to be enough to keep me occupied.

Aside from cosplaying, one of the main time (and money!) sinks for me is going to be the dealers room, especially if there's a good representation of homegrown talent, and doubly especially if there's some folks doing their own comics and zines. I also love group cosplaying when I get the chance. Katsucon has been great for that.

Food is definitely important too; I hate hotels in the middle of nowhere, I mean sure, there's a good chance I've driven to a con, but I don't like that time investment of having to get changed, get in the car, drive a ways to find anything.

I generally go to very few panels at cons. The guests are usually utterly unimportant to me as well, especially voice talent (apart from Matt Mercer, as he's fun to hang out with and drink with. Yes, this has been a thing!) because there's a very good chance I won't know who they are, or have heard them in a dub.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 05:51 AM   #8
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A fun con, for me, would first of all have lots of different activities and things to do, both ones held at a specific time but preferably also rooms you can just drop into whenever you want - game rooms, karaoke, ect. One con I've gone to for years now have for the past years set up a "library" with a bunch of manga, comics, books ect. to read, doubling as a nice place to just sit down and relax. While I also enjoy just hanging with friends, don't expect your congoers to make all the fun for themselves!

A variety of stuff to buy is nice (especially when they actually have merch from series I care about) and I love browsing art stands - I often buy some commissions of my own characters too.

As for size... both big and small cons can be fun, but the important thing is having the location size match the number of attendants - cons that are too crowded are no fun! (Still remember London MCM from years back - Saturday had the room completely stuffed and we almost had to walk around in a line just to move around inside...)

Food is also a big plus - a decent variety of food options that aren't too overpriced.

(I don't go to a lot of panels so that usually doesn't matter to me and I have no opinions on that)
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Last edited by Chaletica : 04-11-2018 at 05:57 AM.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 08:53 AM   #9
loz64
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What makes a con fun?
Well-run panels. I like to be able to focus on the topic being discussed, and it's great when panelists know their stuff and have control over the discussion.
A good masquerade. I enjoy skits that are entertaining even if the characters are from a series I'm not familiar with.
Friendly con-goers. Cons (especially smaller ones) with attendees who are nice and willing to talk to you as a stranger are a highlight. I'm usually by myself at cons so I'm always looking for folks to chat with!
Good crowd control. Having space to breathe and move your arms without bumping into other people is wonderful.
Right amount of content. It's fun to have a lot to do, but at the same time I like to have time to go to everything I want without scheduling conflicts.

What makes a con boring?
Disorganization. I went to a con this year where nobody was present at registration on that Friday, so I missed out on a whole day. Turns out nobody was checking badges all weekend, so I pretty much wasted my money.
Badly-run panels. Having to sit through technical issues, bad PowerPoint slides, and ill-prepared panelists is the worst.
Love Live dance skits. These irritate me, especially when these routines are more than half the skits in a masquerade. Call me a snob, but there's nothing terribly creative about using choreography that you yourself didn't make.
Long lines. Whether for picking up registration or going to a panel and hoping the room isn't full by the time you get to the end, long lines are a chore. I hate going to a con and spending my money just to stand in line for half the day!
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Unread 04-11-2018, 06:19 PM   #10
CapsuleCorp
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I haven't had fun at a con in quite some time, so I guess I can only really speak to what makes it unfun or boring for me.

Like other people, size doesn't seem to matter because I have been to cons of all sizes and never noticed a direct correlation between size and enjoyment. Yeah, poor traffic flow at large cons can be a damper on enthusiasm, but I've also seen large cons manage traffic well so I know it can be done. For me, being old and crotchety, it's having a variety of interesting events. If the only thing to do is walk around in the halls praying to be stopped for a photo, that's boring. If the only thing to do is video games, or tabletop games, or viewing rooms, that's boring because I'm not into those things. If the only thing to do is fan-panels about fandoms I'm not in, that's hella boring. If the only panels are on industry things or guests, way boring. But I also don't like to go just for costuming panels because...lbr at this point I run them all, there's not much I would attend for entertainment or learning. There were some wonderful costume-related panels at San Japan, they had a nice balance of stuff for beginners and stuff for the advanced cosplayer.

Some cons have a real problem programming solely to what the staff on the concomm is interested in, and while sometimes that means hitting the right high note for a certain demographic, it usually results in a con with narrower programming focus and zero shits given about people who may not be into gaming or books or watching streamed anime. I don't go for guests, I don't have money to blow in the dealer's room, and I like a variety of things, so a variety in offerings is what attracts me to a convention.

And parties. I like people who are already having a good time and can spread that love.
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Unread 04-11-2018, 06:59 PM   #11
KuruttaKanashii
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Cons that are nothing but a dealer's room are no fun at all. I can buy that shit on Amazon. I want to buy people's personal artwork, go to panels, take pictures of cosplayers, wear my cosplay around, eat, drink and be merry.
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Unread 04-18-2018, 10:06 PM   #12
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I've been to big cons, small cons, one-time cons, long-running cons, etc. and I've had fun at most of them. The majority of what makes it "fun" for me is being with friends and doing things together, whether it's just chilling or playing some dodge-ball (yes, I've played dodge-ball at a con before). Secondly, having a variety of activities that I can enjoy. I tend to jump from one thing to another if it doesn't completely enthrall me, so I need a variety of ongoing things to keep me entertained.
Also, the con has to have something that makes it unique and that draws me in and makes me want to stay.
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Unread 04-19-2018, 04:12 PM   #13
Scunosi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slapthefatcat View Post
I've been to big cons, small cons, one-time cons, long-running cons, etc. and I've had fun at most of them. The majority of what makes it "fun" for me is being with friends and doing things together, whether it's just chilling or playing some dodge-ball (yes, I've played dodge-ball at a con before).
I've got similar con experience and I think the biggest factor is actually something cons themselves can't control; the friend experience. Personally I feel cons tend to be way more fun with friends. That's not saying they can't be fun without friends, but a bad con can be made okay with a good group, and a good con can be a little less good if you're all alone. Unless you prefer being by yourself I guess, but I feel like most people going to cons in the first place like being around other people to begin with.

I'm definitely more likely to have a good time by myself at a larger con, since there'll be more to keep me entertained and to look at. A small con by myself I can burn through in about 2 hours, especially since panel content at smaller cons tends to be really generic 101-level stuff. Which I understand since they typically can't cater to anything really niche since they're so small, but it's another factor. So I think having friends or at least people you can hang out with (industry peers maybe) is important. So far the smaller cons I've been to I haven't really gelled with anyone else there when by myself.

Speaking of panels and guests don't really draw me. I'll admit I'm impressed when I see certain big names attached to a con but I've never actually gone to see them. I did an autograph panel at my first PAX and that's the only autograph session I've ever been to. I do tend to go to more panels at PAX than any other convention though because they tend to be more varied and have a lot of industry insight, rather than just being the umpteenth roleplay fan-panel.

Food has never really been a concern for me, but then most of the cons I've been to have been in some size of city with plenty of local options nearby. And I don't know about where you guys live but where I live local options are good. I've only ever been to a "hotel con" once and while it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere I don't recall food being an issue since I was so swept up in the event having been whisked away to it last-minute, and the food the hotel sold was fine.

Honestly one of my main draws to cons other than PAX is shopping, which seems kinda dumb to pay to get in just to spend more money but it's what I like. It's why even though I almost never attend a single panel or "event" at Sakuracon I keep coming back year after year, I like their vendor hall and artist alley. So if a con has a really tiny shopping area or not a lot of variety I may not return, but it hasn't been an issue so far. I understand most of my older series won't be represented, but it is a little annoying when everyone's selling mostly the same stuff, be it the vendor hall or AA just being filled with nothing but fanart of whatever the current hot thing is. It does make finding that one item from the series you like all the more exciting though.

Also it's kind of a cyclical thing but I like going to cons to show off my cosplay, and I like making cosplay for upcoming cons, so it's a bit of a feedback loop. There's only a couple of cons I attended where I wasn't in some sort of coordinated outfit if not a true cosplay, and that was many years ago.

Honestly I've yet to attend a con I'd say I'd never go back to (excepting cons that have been cancelled and no longer exist of course) and I've always found it a little odd when people have outright "bad" con experiences. Cons are made to be fun, it's like going to a fair or festival and everything's catered to the attendees having a good time. Obviously if something downright awful or illegal happens that's a different matter but I can't imagine "quitting" a con forever due to things like boredom or having to wait in lines. I'd likely just skip a year or two to save money then go back when it piques my interest again.
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Unread 04-19-2018, 06:25 PM   #14
CapsuleCorp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scunosi View Post
Honestly I've yet to attend a con I'd say I'd never go back to (excepting cons that have been cancelled and no longer exist of course) and I've always found it a little odd when people have outright "bad" con experiences. Cons are made to be fun, it's like going to a fair or festival and everything's catered to the attendees having a good time. Obviously if something downright awful or illegal happens that's a different matter but I can't imagine "quitting" a con forever due to things like boredom or having to wait in lines. I'd likely just skip a year or two to save money then go back when it piques my interest again.
You are so fortunate, revel in your good luck.

Around our area, the problem with skipping a con for a couple years and then going back is that nothing changes. If I decide that a con isn't worth going to anymore because it's boring, that honestly doesn't get better in a year or two. Mid-size cons in the midwest are especially prone to having the same staff and the same core attendees for 5-10 years, so if they weren't pushing the envelope or working to grow attendance already, they won't change and start doing so in a year or two. Not that I blame people for not wanting to join con staff - just doing it once made me never want to staff a con ever again. It's a thankless job and the people who end up basically on staff forever never changing are people who take their position as con staff as a license to make the con fun for them, and they figure as long as they're having fun, that means everybody is having fun, right?

I can only go back to a con I previously wrote off if I hear there have been significant staff changes, attendance has grown leaps and bounds, and there's actually events or panels that pique my interest now.
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