A-KON 31: The Good, and The Bad
With a new venue and the convention back from hiatus, did it live up to the hype, or was it a complete bust?
It has been far too long since this iconic event graced the DFW area's nerd community. With the pandemic putting A-kon on the back burner and with a horrendous venue at Fair Grounds. That left many displeased with how it was organized and the location during the heated summer of 2019. Many viewed A-kon to be dead in the water. However, with its sleek new logo, location, and the variety of guests. A-Kon looked back stronger than ever! The Weekly Replay took a three-day visit and provided you with the Good and the Bad of A-kon 2022!
This time, the event was located at the Irving Convention Center and the Toyota Music Factory. The location on paper looked good as the staff of the event and the convention were helpful for the most part, and the added layer of extra security on each level was very reassuring given today's climate. Some may complain that it was too much, but it is essential.
Near the Westin, a yard of carpet grass was amazingly comfortable to lay on and conversate with fellow congoers during the late-night festivities. The Westin was used for the game room and the field for the LARP fight and one of the locations for group photos that our very own Javelin Jay attended as Mega Charizard.
The venue and congoers really made this a must-go event! The cosplays and people around all wanted to have fun and it showed as everyone wanted to have an enjoyable time. The comradery and the reunion of friends were something that was missed.
The event itself from an outside appearance, LOOKED like there was a lot to do, but there wasn't. Due to the limited accessibility to the schedule, available on an app called Fan Guru, and on the third floor, there were three parchments of paper with the event schedules in the small text; the app itself was slow, not user-friendly, and crashed several times.
Every room seemed too compact or cramped. Panels were minimal, and the dealer's room felt very congested and like walking in a single file line of traffic, being forced to keep moving and not stop to take a gander at the vendor's goods. The game room was also just as congested, which took us by surprise. The rave was across the street near Texican Court with limited space and the DJ unfortunately only had one good song, and then the crowd would simmer back down. But it did not feel as lively and exciting as previous rave events were.
When it came to the food trucks, there were only four most of the time, and they would leave before dinner. This was unusual because, in previous or other cons, more than seven food trucks stayed late. I am sure there is a rational explanation for this, but I digress. What made the event even more of a dampener was that everything ended or closed up around midnight on the weekend! Even the game room, which has been notorious for being open 24/7, closed early.
This convention was a disappointment regarding my expectations from my ventures at previous cons. The location was excellent but disorganized and lacked the late-night fun that would spark conversation for days on end.