If you need a quiet, calm, and environment friendly conference expertise… just remember to go on the day that falls in the midst of the week.
Mikaela and I are so pleased to be again in Seattle for an additional Emerald Metropolis Comedian-Con (with our associates and Geekscape / Geekscape Video games alumni Courtney and Jake), as six months after our final conference expertise (our phenomenal first time at Seattle’s very personal PAX West), we’ve been hankering to discover one other present flooring, expertise some unbelievably cool cosplay, and spend method (means) an excessive amount of freaking cash.
Naturally, previous to hitting the conference itself, we needed to make it to Seattle first. I sometimes like to take in as a lot of every conference I attend as I probably can (for people who have been following alongside for final yr’s ECCC, I even took a bus right down to Seattle at 5 within the morning, with Mikaela assembly me within the metropolis that night as a result of she needed to work through the day), so Mikaela, Jake, and I set a totally affordable departure time from Vancouver, BC of 7AM (truly Mikaela complained that this was far too early), grabbing some fast caffeinated drinks for the street earlier than heading for the border. The climate was clear (a stark distinction to the by some means frequent snow, and virtually on a regular basis rain that we’re used to), visitors was mild, and the border had completely no wait time, so apart from a fast exit to refuel the Kia Soul (which we didn’t refill previous to departing purposefully as gasoline is way, far cheaper within the US), we made it to Seattle very quickly.
Courtney was not travelling with us as she lives in Washington, and she or he ended up barely delayed as a result of visitors, so the three of us ate some freaking scrumptious sandwiches at a small cafe referred to as The Blue Heron (after first parking at and deciding towards a sketchy wanting cafe close to there) earlier than assembly Courtney at our Airbnb. We spent a couple of minutes getting settled in our AirBnb after taking a while to acquire the door code (we have been checking in fairly damned early, so this didn’t really feel like an issue), and Courtney and Jake have been variety sufficient to drive Mikaela and I over close to the conference centre in order that we might begin our Emerald Metropolis journey (Courtney and Jake solely had passes for Friday and Saturday, so that they had deliberate to select up some snacks and hang around on the Airbnb for the day).
Apparently sufficient, the doorway process for ECCC has modified this yr, with the primary entrance now being on the other aspect of the conference middle (on a road fittingly titled Conference Place), and with the standard conference entrance on Pike road as an alternative turning into an exit solely. This appeared to be inflicting some confusion with conference regulars, although ECCC despatched out a number of and frequent emails addressing the modifications. One other main change to this yr’s choices is the motion of the ECCC Essential Stage, the place a few of the largest leisure friends on the present are hosted for interviews, reunions, demonstrations, and different escapades. In prior years a big space of the primary expo corridor can be curtained off for the primary stage, the place as this yr that area has been reclaimed for extra cubicles, and the primary stage (together with photograph alternatives and autograph areas) has moved simply a few blocks away to the close by Hyatt Regency lodge. Based mostly on a few of the suggestions (principally Twitter) I’ve seen about these modifications, it appears as if these modifications are a bit of controversial, however I feel that shifting the primary stage to a devoted location, relatively than a hard-to-secure curtain in the midst of the busiest space of the conference can solely be a constructive transfer, and the removing of the insanely busy Pike St. entrance felt extremely decongested, and much much less complicated for everybody within the space. It additionally left extra room for the ‘Free Hip-Hop’ dudes to attempt to pawn CD’s off on individuals, however I nonetheless assume that the modifications are a internet constructive.
We lastly hit the present flooring after staring on the conference exclusives endlessly — we ended up grabbing the unique glow-in-the-dark cowl first problem of the Stranger Issues comedian from Darkish Horse Comics, however couldn’t determine on any of the delicate and well-designed ECCC-themed shirts at that time so solely picked up the one merchandise. As I discussed above, Thursday is the freaking day to go to this factor. The huge principal conference corridor wasn’t crowded in any respect, the temperature was good (typically at a packed conference, the air will flip between sickeningly chilly and blisteringly heat because the air con system struggles to maintain up with the mass of patrons), you can stroll via the small aisles at a leisurely tempo without having to fret about being in anybody’s means, and the ground was so quiet that you may merely converse at a daily quantity and never fear about being heard — this was a welcome calm that may’t even be felt at far smaller conventions like Fan Expo Vancouver.
The primary, lovable factor that we noticed when hitting the present flooring.
The primary sales space that caught our eye was the huge Bakugan: Battle Planet space. I keep in mind seeing a press launch about it a number of weeks again, however largely ignored it as I solely actually keep in mind Bakugan as a child’s anime collection and toy line from years again. I had no concept till it was defined to me by a sales space worker, however apparently Bakugan truly disappeared quite a few years again earlier than being lately revived as a brand new anime and TCG by Spinmaster Toys. Lengthy story brief, an hour had handed and we have been nonetheless on the Bakugan sales space – we had a fast rationalization of how one can play, after which ended up enjoying a whole recreation, asking questions to varied coaches alongside the best way. Mikaela kicked my ass, was invited into an eight-person event (she stated no sadly) and we watched some extra skilled gamers begin a match earlier than ultimately shifting on. The sport is a mixture of talent, technique, and luck, as gamers craft a deck round their three Bakugan (every being a unique color or sort, with the playing cards within the deck needing to correspond with these colors) and battling it out by rolling the spherical Bakugan figures in the direction of one another within the play space. The Bakugan will ideally spring open, attaching magnetically to a ‘core’, a small hexagonal piece that provides your Bakugan both an influence or injury bonus, and the Bakugan with the very best energy (labelled BP) wins. The loser has to discard (sometimes helpful) playing cards equal to the winner’s complete injury, and also you lose the sport as soon as your deck is empty. The sport felt completely all-ages pleasant, and after an hour on the sales space all that I actually needed to do was play extra. Nicely, and to purchase some.
It was additionally by far the liveliest sales space on the conference. Even after we had left the world and have been perusing the opposite aisles of cubicles, each jiffy you would hear uproarious cheering or sounds of shock from the sales space, and at random occasions a whole crowd yelling “BAKUGAN BRAAAAAAAWLLLLLLL” on the prime of their lungs as greater degree gamers would enter a tiny UFC-style cage to duke it out. It was completely charming, and I can’t wait to see the motion on the sales space this weekend as soon as the conference centre actually fills up.
Truthfully, as we speak we didn’t do this a lot, and it felt like a completely calming and enjoyable strategy to ease into this conference (emotions not sometimes felt at a conference of this measurement). We leisurely walked aisle by aisle, adoring a number of the lovely artwork (Spoke Artwork Gallery at Sales space 1133 can’t be missed), turning into distracted taking a look at board video games that we had by no means heard of (and making an attempt our greatest to not purchase them till we had seen the whole lot that the conference has to supply), solely choosing up a couple of cool books — Mikaela has been obsessive about studying novels these days, and picked up an intriguing-sounding e-book from HarperCollins referred to as Blackfish Metropolis by Sam J. Miller, which additionally included a cool Neil Gaiman-themed tote bag and one other free e-book as a conference particular, whereas I additionally grabbed her a graphic novel referred to as Rosalynd by Darkish Planet Comics’ Stephan Franck, which is an origin story for Rosalynd “Sledge” Van Helsing, informed from the attitude of her childhood journal. We additionally performed Jelly Stomach’s ‘Bean-Boozled’ on our approach out, and Mikaela oddly sufficient appeared to love the flavour ‘Soiled Dishwasher’. There have been additionally artists making gigantic artpieces totally out of jellybeans, which was completely beautiful to observe.
We met again up with Jake and Courtney, and the duo ready us all an extremely low cost and tremendous scrumptious meal of Ramen and Sashimi whereas Mikaela and I labored on our write-ups for the day. We chatted, had a couple of drinks, and performed a number of of the too-many video games that each one of us introduced with us, together with the brand new Transformers buying and selling card recreation, and the brand new sequel to the always-fun social gathering favorite Monikers, referred to as Extra Monikers. I additionally undoubtedly yelled out BAKUGAN BRAWWWWWWLLLLL a couple of too many occasions (regardless that we didn’t truly purchase it, so we couldn’t even play Bakugan).
Cantankerous Cats feels charming, but in addition the principles appear type of robust.
Tomorrow I anticipate the just-empty aisles to be full of individuals, and for at this time’s calmness to be all however forgotten as 98’000 individuals descend upon the Washington State Conference Centre over the subsequent few days. That stated, tomorrow ought to begin with a full night time of sleep and with no 4 hour drive, and as we’ve solely explored one flooring of ECCC within the almost six hours that we attended it right now, I can’t wait to see one among America’s best Artist’s Alleys, the unbelievable gaming areas, the upcoming ECCC Western Championships of Cosplay, and so, a lot extra.
Thanks for studying about as we speak’s adventures, and I look ahead to sharing extra of my journey tomorrow.