Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Conventioning 101

I was approached by Rilack of Gemucon to write up a guide on how to convention for beginners for the Gemucon Conbook. This posed a bit of a problem because I really wanted to do it and I was kinda shitting myself because I had to tone down my usual sarcastic doucheyness. In fact Rilack told me to make sure it was readable by anyone 16+ regardless of the fact that many attendees would be Xbox live players and well versed in the art of profanity. In any case, my review will be up shortly of the convention itself, and here's the article I wrote for it. There will be a few things echoed from Conventioning 102 but I'm quite happy with it.

How to Convention 101

Hello! And welcome to Gemucon 2013! My name is Jae, I’m a blogger under the name of Warai Otoko and everywhere else I’m JaeXD. Disregard my bad grammar, I warn you there will be a lot of it and an excessive use of the comma. In fact if anyone here studies English at a degree level or teaches it, please do not read any further and forgive me for setting any potential students back a few years in their syntax. For those of you who know me and my blog you’ll fare pretty well as you know the score, but unfortunately I’m not allowed to go full throttle here or Rilack will beat me with the Fist of Rukt.
    So here’s an article on how to maximise your time at a convention by yours truly, so if you really want to grab the action by the polar regions then read on, you lucky lucky people.

This is pretty straight forward and for the most part echoes the rules of the Convention, which you should go read if you haven’t done so. It’s okay, go ahead right now and read. I’ll stare at you uncomfortably as you do so.

Done? Good good, read on.

Food - Eat it. I don’t know how some people forget to do it, I wind up cranky and cantankerous if I haven’t eaten for more than an hour (more so than usual) but it’s understandable that there’s so much to do/see that you don’t think you’ll have enough time. Thankfully Gemucon is in Nottingham city centre, so run out and grab a bite to eat.

Drink - For conventions pack some isotonic drinks and make sure you drink the entire bottle if you start to feel a bit run down. These are pretty damn handy in the morning after a hard night’s thrashing around on the dancefloor like the greatest Magikarp attack impression. Regarding alcohol; adhere to the rules of the convention on that and if you do drink then do so with consideration. The committee are all issued with gravity hammers, just so you know.
    I’ll assume many of you are gamers who love carbonated beverages and the energy kind. Many of you however aren’t like me in that your blood isn’t mostly comprised of coffee, or XtremeCaffeine whose adrenal glands have biceps. I implore you to take it easy with the energy drinks or you’ll have a ridiculously harsh crash that’ll make you feel like forgetting to save your progress on Ninja Gaiden after those damn fire spider ninja shank you in the coccyx with those exploding shuriken.. For the love of Jenova, they were out of view on the screen how could I see them!? …  So take it easy on the energy drinks, unless you too cannot function without eating ground coffee beans or a bowl of cornflakes and relentless instead of milk.
Etiquette - Don’t get me wrong, when you’re in a place with a few hundred other people who share a hell of a lot of your interests it’s rather easy to feel like we’re all mates. In a sense we are, but like that friend who you don’t see very often and you have to get to know a little better before you jump on their back and start screaming “Death To The Covenant” and let’s be honest you can’t even do that with your best mates half the time, if I had mates I could put that to the theory. So don’t jump on or glomp anyone which is doubly important if they’re in costume.
    Let’s say you see a Chun Li cosplayer, I’m the first one to admit that yes I once had the hots for her sprite way back on the SNES with SF2 Turbo. I mean holy sugar mitts, dem thighs. Sure she was only a handful of pixels but what I would give to have her spinning bird kick me... Lost about half an hour in thought there. Anyway, you’ve got to remember that Chun Li isn’t a real person and that lass in the cosplay, no matter how amazingly stunning she is to you is still a real person who has every right not to be leered on or be treated as an object. This also goes for the guys with unholy chiselled abdominals or in that costume you girls love, for the love of Sparta don’t fling yourselves at him like soggy lovesick ragdolls. If you want a hug just ask, it’s okay to hug just ask before you do so you don’t accidentally damage cosplay. I like hugs too and one day I’ll get one from a real person too.
    Ask before you take photos and whenever possible exchange details on where they’ll be able to find the photos. Also let whoever you take a picture of have a look and say on whether you should keep or delete the photo. Nine out of ten photos of me look like I’m eating a tennis ball or about to go into hysteria mode, and I know you’d appreciate it too if you had the chance to ask for a re-take so you don’t end up put online looking like you’re having a happy in your pants.

Looking after yourself - Get a freakin’ shower at least once a day and use deodorant. You lot are pretty lucky, 5 years ago at conventions it was rare to shower and you could literally see the funk emanating from individuals. But we aren’t gonna do that at Gemucon, are we? Are we? HMMMM? Good. Now remember, lather, rinse, repeat. Always repeat. There’s another part to that but Rilack says if I mention how to have fun the “Jae Way” he’ll have at my kidneys with a plasma sword..
    Pack your medication and whatever you need to keep yourself running in sound condition. Personally I have a bag for painkillers, inhalers, mouthwash, engine oil and plasters. Having an emergency sewing kit in there would be pretty damn handy too.
    For the important stuff; always carry your ID on you and show your con badge so everyone knows who you are. Don’t carry any more money than you need and zip/button up your pockets to be on the safe side. I might sound like Daddy Jae here, however you need to remember that there will be a lot of people there and things can go missing unless you make sure you know where your personal items are.
Sleep is key for a good convention, sure some people pull all nighters and consider themselves the party equivalent of a visible pantyline but if you want to get the most out you need to get some quality sleep in. This’ll save you from shuffling about like the missing zombies from the Wii version of Dead Rising and on top form if you’re in any game tournaments. Don’t think that caffeinated drinks can save you from sleep either, when you need to sleep you need to sleep. Unless you’re Rilack; he doesn’t sleep, he waits.

What I’ve mentioned so far is common sense, but above all please respect those around you including anyone staying at the hotel who isn’t there for the convention. No, that’s not Pheonix Wright or Rude looking for Reno, that’s some guy in a suit. Probably. Don’t shunt/push or use your bodyweight like a meaty snowplough if you want to look at a stall. The hotel isn’t your house either so don’t think it’s fine to scream down the hallways shouting FUS RO DAH in your Dovakin fluffy hat. Hotel Security totally won’t get the joke and you won’t either when they find you. In fact go read the rules again just for good measure. Yes I am staring at you again.

    Make use of what’s available to you for the events, there’s so many on and it would be a waste not to get stuck in. There’s game tournaments, a cosplay masquerade and my favourite; The Geekton Factor hosted by Team Neko. If you like to party, and we love to party, you’re in the right place; when you see that group of attendees who’ll look like they’re having a cracking time you should go ask them what the cheat codes are to hadouken your boredom in the taint. Get stuck in and make friends, don’t be afraid to ask someone about their costume or just get up and say hello. Try not to disturb anyone whilst they’re having a break from being in character, I know I like to finish my sandwich/AA battery/coffee before I get back into the swing of things.

    Lastly, if you spot a committee member, take the time to thank them for what they’ve put on for you and maybe buy them a drink to say cheers for the gig. A little appreciation goes a long way.

That’s all from me but if you’ve got questions feel free to find me and ask. But I’m not telling you my badgename ohohohoho!

Remember folks;
>Vidya Gamez

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