This was my first year attending TigerDirect’s Tech Bash which itself isn’t exactly an old established event itself but apparently buddies and staff there last year noticed two major changes from its last run.
An increase in attendance.
An increase in observers.
What do I mean by observers? Well mostly people who don’t use technology so much, besides your run of the mill smart phone and computer for social networking and whatnot, and only attended to get a show and maybe some free stuff. There were many attendees and yet a lot of the large extravagant gaming setups seemed to go largely ignored by them.
Funny enough there was a huge line for a demo of the Oculus Rift which as you know Zuckerberg picked for its potential outside of gaming despite the project initially getting funded by a largely gamer demographic.
Now you can’t talk about the event without talking about how all the different exhibitors were laid out. The event was hosted at Marlins Park, the baseball stadium for Miami’s team. In the homefield where the actual games are played they set up a temporary show floor to not ruin the grass where the main sponsors were gathered. The areas outside the ring of stadium seat had rows of exhibitors with smaller booths from NVidia to Microsoft. I wish I could show the wide range of booths and setups but unfortunately my PC is not working normally and can’t detect my SD card. I believe I could benefit from buying either from Asus or iBUYPOWER whom had gaming setups in the main exhibit area. In terms of gaming a lot was going on, there were promotions for giveaways, gaming lounges, and Alienware even had a preview of Dying Light.
I have a few suggestions for both the actual event and its exhibitors to make next year even better.
Get a convention center. Marlins Stadium is large, but results in a lot of wasted space and more crowding.
Make the event slightly longer than 7 PM to 11 PM. It’s a short span of time to network, look around, have fun, find your buddies, etc. Especially when everything moves so slowly. Also observers can take up less of the event’s time.
If you’re having giveaways every half hour or so, PLEASE don’t make it a be there or lose deal. Seriously. Ask for a phone number and text the winner to collect their prize at the booth. A raffle of that sort should only be conducted once and have a prize worth the attendance. I’m looking at you Sandisk.
I can see Tech Bash is also an opportunity for people in the industry to connect. So please, make the networking event more accessible instead of a secluded area for the employees of event sponsors.
TigerDirect Tech Bash is a promising event with room to grow, but the event will have to grow along with its number of attendees lest they suffer in quality and lose the interest of sponsors and attendees. Miami does have a small but growing technology sector, and we need events like the Tech Bash to present it in a positive light and help foster it.
Chibi Pa has kicked off today to the delight of many. One of our new writers, HMK, has hosted several panels today (and on his birthday, such a champ). I will be hosting panels tomorrow and Sunday while HMK will be hosting his podcast live tomorrow. Here are the events starting Saturday in chronological order.
EPIC and HECTIC LIVE (JJ & HMK): Saturday 4-5 PM
Let’s Play with Slenderman! (Isabel): Saturday 9-10 PM
The History of Vocaloids and their Fandom (Isabel): Sunday 10 AM -12 PM
I will be giving away freebies courtesy of the website to anyone who attends my panels. We’ll have a lot of fun, guarantee. Chibi Pa is also an amazing convention that has welcomed us with open arms repeatedly, and for that we are proud to help them have another spectacular show! Anyone currently in South Florida should make sure not to miss this opportunity.
For the 25th anniversary of Akira, Funimation has really gone out of their way to promote this classic to a new audience and their latest promotional effort is hosting free screenings of Akira across America to the delight of many. The hostees in question are Alamo Drafthouse, a chain of excellent movie theaters. If you fear seats might run out, you can reserve one by buying a $5 voucher which can be used for concession. Out of courtesy attendees are asked to buy concession items to help the theater make up for the cost of screening the movie for free. The theaters will also give attendees a discount code to take 40% off the price of buying the 25th anniversary edition of the movie in Funimation’s online store. The following states will have one or more screenings.
You can get more information by going to Funimation’s announcement page. To those in participating states I really hope you get to experience this movie on the big screen like it should be experienced.
Mini Con certainly stays true to its name. Having been to many conventions held in smaller hotels before, I knew the majority of them weren’t as wholesome as conventions held in conference centers and spacious well-equipped hotels. I believed Mini Con however would be a good experience. Was it? Kind of.
It would’ve been more fun if I had money to buy stuff.
I will begin with the biggest problem I had with this convention, basically, the entire layout. I’ve complained about the layout of conventions before but the layout for Mini Con was nothing short of a panelist’s worst nightmare. Everything was stuffed into one room (except the video game room which was before of the main room). Aside from some artists and vendors near the entrance everybody was packed along with the main event stage, photo booth, and makeshift panel “room.” Basically it was a small area with chairs and some equipment obscured by two walls, one of which served as a doodle space. When you have more people interested in a wall than what’s supposed to be going on in it, it’s very discouraging. I have hosted these two panels before, and all of them have had a decent turn out but for Mini Con that wasn’t the case. The reason for panels being hosted in their own, concealed space is to attract more people by having an environment separated from all the distractions of the con itself so people can wander in and see if what’s going on is of interest to them without being drawn away by something more noisy. The feel of the room is greatly improved by isolation as it does provide a break from the often agitated atmosphere of a convention. My setup didn’t provide that, the loudness of the main stage in this enclosed space had me yelling to be heard and passerby couldn’t understand what was going on. Also the people that attended overall didn’t seem to seek out the unique things a convention provided and were mostly there to hang out. Maybe this was due to the fact an offshoot show hosted by a more notorious well known convention I’ve covered before was happening the same day and might have directed the active hardcore convention attendees away but it’s just a theory. The video game room was quite good, lots of retro games were to be found as well as newer ones. The cosplayers, simply great. The majority of the attendees were cosplaying and there was everything from Attack on Titan to League of Legends. This made the costume contest quite entertaining.
The free table of a young artist.
The sellers were decent and I did see quite many underage and disabled artists selling their artwork because of Mini Con’s generosity. A paid workshop to make Twinkie minions was held to give the profits to Drops of Hope. And of course everybody’s paid tickets had part of it go to the same charity. With all its faults Mini Con is still one of the only geek events in Florida to be actively involved with a charity and it needs the community’s continued support to keep thriving and growing. As a newcomer to the scene it is bound to make some mistakes, but I have confidence in that the show will get better with time. These are my suggestions in how to make the new show considerably better.
Have panels away from the main event room in their own individual spaces.
Seek out panelists to offer a wide variety of panels so con attendees can see the plethora of things they can do on their con schedules and decide to check some out.
Have parking for con attendees in a more convenient location.
Larger space if exhibitors and main stage are to be put together.
Try to get more attendants by making sure event is not the day of another event and advertise in other conventions more.
To stay up to date with Mini Cons next show, like their official Facebook page.
On December 21, a peaceful demonstration to honor the lives lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting is occurring in the video game realm. Created by Antwand Pearman, the president of GamerFitNation (a website that combines the world of gaming and health together for gamers to gain a healthier life through their hobby), it is a call to gamers to not play online shooters for one day to commemorate the lives of those innocent people lost in the shooting. Pearman first expressed his idea in this powerful video, and since the hash tag #OSCEASEFIRE has caught on in Twitter and more than 2,800 people are “Going” to the event as confirmed by Facebook.
As a believer in peaceful demonstrations and the genuine goodness found in the gaming community despite the vast sea of foul mouthed little kids and (insert)-ists commonly found, I saw this as an admirable opportunity for everyone who’s part of the gaming community to join together for one common purpose. I went to the man himself to ask him some pressing questions regarding the event and what it means to him and other gamers.
ROG: So how did you get the idea for Day of Cease Fire after hearing about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School?
Pearman: Like all my ideas it just came to me with something being the trigger. Right after hearing about the shooting I attended a screening for the movie Django. Love the movie by the way. Anyway I watched the movie only to feel my body cringe every time someone was shot. I kept thinking about the victims. Afterwards I was very emotional, and wanted to do something about it right away. Then I made the video about the Ceasefire. Still beforehand I reached out to people asking for support, but few answered. But they are here now, and I’m grateful.
ROG: Do you believe you’ll get support from video game companies that have online shooters?
Pearman: Good question. Honestly, I don’t think so, and I wouldn’t blame them either. It’s a conflict of interest. They are trying to get people to play and I’m telling them not too. Still if they did I’d be shocked and grateful. I respect these people and the work they do and wouldn’t want them to think other wise. Some people from big name companies support me already, but I won’t put them on blast out of respect.
ROG: Now, video games have had a long history of being blamed as a reason for mass shootings and seem to be constantly brought up whenever an event like this occurs. Do you think this event might show society video games are a safe source of entertainment and most gamers prefer to pick up their controllers and not guns.
Pearman: Yes for the most part and no. Yes, because it’s a peaceful mission and informed people will see it for what it is. No, because people don’t try to keep themselves informed. People choose to accept certain inaccurate beliefs. Why? Because they don’t want to accept the reality that goes against what they believe. It’s easy to accept video games as the villain rather than say, “Hey maybe gun control is an issue, or mental health, or parenting, or bullying.”
ROG: In your video, you said you wanted to create a peaceful demonstration, which seems like an honest purpose. However the event has been receiving backlash with people saying it’s pointless and won’t achieve anything. Personally, what do you think when you read these things against something that’s supposed to be an act of respect you care a lot about?
Pearman: I feel that those people, who in my opinion are few in comparison to the people who support it are looking at it the wrong way. First some of them are misinformed about what it is. I say this because I’ve read those peoples’ reactions and they thought it was a boycott of FPS, period. It’s like that game you play when you have a row of people and you whisper something in the first person’s ear and by the time the message gets to the end it’s completely different. This is simply an act of peace that all gamers, no matter where they are in the world can be apart of. As far as the ceasefire being called “pointless” if they feel it’s not enough by all means may they do more. Donate, care give, visit the victims, whatever they wish. People shouldn’t act like the Cease Fire is stopping them from doing something for the victims. Let the gaming world serve as an example of what world peace could look like if everyone just ceased fire.
ROG: Now, what would you like to say to a gamer who is hesitant about participating in Day of Cease Fire because he can’t see how it would make any impact?
Pearman: Don’t do this Cease Fire for the media, or me. Do it for yourselves and the families who are hurt right now. Still, if my words are not enough try the words of a greater man. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter (Martin Luther King Jr.).”
So take the occasion to do other great things to make the world a better place on that day. Volunteer or donate to charities like Child’s Play or the Red Cross. Day of Cease Fire is an opportunity for every gamer to get in touch with their inner philanthropists because after all, many games center around heroes and saving various real and made up worlds when we can be powerful (maybe not as powerful but still powerful).
*UPDATE* as of now Australian gamers are participating in #OSCEASEFIRE. Please join us and other gamers and let’s pay tribute to all of those who lose lives to gun violence.
BTL Collectibles Show is a monthly event that occurs down here in South Florida at the Miccosukee Indian Casino in Miami. Despite the questionable location it’s a free and completely family friendly event that happens upstairs (far from the gambling and whatnot) with ample space and plenty of merchandise.
This event centers around bringing vendors together in a space where they can sell fandom centered merchandise and collectibles in one place where fans can buy things that suit any taste. The vendors can sell anything from anime to G.I. Joe playsets.
Some of the things you can buy are DVDs, jewelry, comics, mangas, action figures, clothing, trading cards, and plushies. There are other things on sale, but truthfully too many to list. One of the crowning jewels of the show is the chance to get a commission from professional comic book artists that have worked for the likes of DC Comics and Marvel Comics.
A sample of one of the commissions. Told you these guys were professional.
Here’s just a bit of what things other than official geek merch is sold at the event.
I hope you get to attend, the next show will take place September 30. In other words this Sunday. Don’t miss it!
Mizucon’s annual tea party is one of those events that isn’t as big as your average convention, and doesn’t have as many activities; yet doesn’t fail to provide the same atmosphere and comradery of a regular convention. The atmosphere is quite relaxed and laid back, and it’s much easier to interact with every person present because everyone is packed into a specific area. The best part of this event is it’s a potluck, and every year there’s more food than can be eaten by everyone. Plus the event staff always bring free tea for the attendees. There are a few activities, a scavenger hunt (I won last year), tea identity contest, relay trivia (run around the park to find staff members with answers to given questions), and a costume contest. The cosplay present was amazing, with the majority of attendees cosplaying. The day was good, with occasional tiny drops of rain that weren’t a bother until it eventually turned into a downpour, and every attendee was standing under the big tree in our area under an umbrella. Eventually the day ended with everyone scrambling to a shelter nearby, but the entire raining on our parade occurrence happened during the last 30 minutes of the 5 hour event. Despite that, everyone continued having fun. This event is a spectacular look into the attractive friendly aspect of the con scene here in South Florida, and is proof of the excellence that is Mizucon.