I don’t know if it was because they were doing construction at the convention center (but I doubt that highly) or if it was because the leadership of the company has changed hands and they are now doing it differently or if, sadly, it was indicative of the sign of our times, but the convention this year was different. In prior years you went to the ticket windows to get your tickets and your put on entirely too tight wristbands, had your “weapon” checked and then ID’d with a zip tie and then it was into the convention after showing the guards at the entry doors your wrist.
This year, before you could even get your tickets you had to go through one line with your “weapon” to be wand scanned like at the airports and then have the weapon tagged. Others had to stand in line and empty pockets of cell phones etc. and get scanned. Is this the new managements way of doing things or an indicator of how bad things have happened when there are large gatherings of people. Either way it made for one helluva bottle neck and made me sad; not because of the long lines but because the world has come to this.
But once in, it was different there as well. For one, there were more food vendors inside than before but no places to sit and enjoy other than the floor. The pretzels and the big mugs that you could get unlimited refills of root beer were big winners with the crowds. Another big change was that there was a huge gaming area. I mean big! There was a giant screen for something, video game pods with some classic games (we played Pac-Man and Galaga and realized we weren’t as skilled as we used to be), and computer and gaming system games that had all the boys – and a couple of girls – flocking to the area. There were also less vendors and celebrities at the convention but more sponsored and product placement areas.
Each year you can tell what the trending character is by the number of cosplayers dressed as such. This year there was no standout character but there were some (I think they were promotional folks) dressed for the Pokemon Go craze and the upcoming Kubo and the Two Strings movie. Like I said, it was different this year.