Last weekend I attended the Otakon, the largest anime convention on the East Coast. Living in southern New Jersey, it was a quick two hour drive down to Baltimore, where my friend Ghibli_Geek and I split a hotel room from Thursday to Sunday for some nonstop geeking out on anime and video games. Oh, and cosplayers! Nothing better than a sexy shy guy or a hot looking Roxas to get you questioning your orientation, not to mention giving you confusing feelings towards your video game collection. I mean sure, I like video games, I even say I love them, but it's just never been that kind of love. But now that the possibilities have been put before me, what to do?
Ahem, but I'm not here to discuss that, I'm here to give you a whirlwind tour of the craziness that was the Otakon, with a specific video game focus of course. Everyone ready to see some crazy cosplaying, and a perfect condition Twin Famicom? Good, then let's get started.
|I tried to photograph his hudnred-|
hand slap, but it was too fast
to catch on camera.
Hey, not five minutes in the convention center and we've got an E Honda! Cool! I feel it necessary to point out that in most cases when it comes to me taking pics of cosplaying, I go towards outfits that not 7 out of every 10 people have come dressed as. In other words, as much as I love Kingdom Hearts to death, the hundreds of Sora cosplayers didn't stand a chance in my photo album. E Honda, on the other hand, is a character I haven't seen in any of my previous convention outings, so I was quite pleased. With the dealer's room not opening for a few more hours, and nothing terribly interesting playing in any of the video rooms yet, we continued a lookout for more cool video game characters.
Namine and Roxas were just about to get something to eat, so what better time to bother them with a photo? This Roxas is either being cosplayed by a girl, or the prettiest boy I think I've ever seen. At any rate, a pretty exact Roxas costume! Man, I enjoyed the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II with Roxas and Twilight Town. Maybe someday I'll get around to blogging about that, like I've been planning to for the past three weeks. You've inspired me, hot Roxas, I have to make that one of my next blogs! Thank you!
So while Otakon is all about the constant watching of anime and constant spending in the dealer's room, there's also panels going on almost non-stop. I always try to hit a few, because you never know when one might bring up an interesting idea you've never considered, or you might learn some new Photoshop techniques. So Ghibli_Geek and I decided to hit a "History of Gainax" panel. Man, what a train wreck. First off, when talking about an animation studio in a room with large screens and projectors, here's a tip: give us some visual aids man! He spends quite a bit of time talking about how cool their opening animation for Daicon III and IV were, back before they were a company. After getting home, it took me all of ten seconds to find the complete openings on YouTube, and a high quality version available through BitTorrent. Needless to say, when we realized we weren't going to learn too much about the history of the studio here but instead have animation segments described to us when they should be shown, we were out of there.
Objection! Man, I wish I'd thought of that! I think he was the only Phoenix Wright in the whole con, too. Nice choice. When I asked to take his photo, he was like "Oh, wait a second", and then pulled out his convention schedule to mimic the animation of Phoenix tapping a sheet of papers from the game. Hehe! Very cool.
The dealer's room opened at noon, but the line was so insane for it that we decided to hold off until the afternoon. So around three or four we decided that we'd had enough of carrying around money and set off for the dealer's room. Of course, even then, the line was crazy busy. You had to walk up and down rows that were made of red tape on the floor. The sight was quite mesmerizing, so I grabbed a video of the orderly chaos that was the dealer's room line. Click the pic to check it out!
|Click the pic for a video!|
The Otakon dealer's room is unbelievably big, filled with hundreds of vendors selling that latest and greatest that little fanboys and girls can't wait to blow their money on. Of course, I dove in and started spending recklessly too. One stand though, I went back to over and over during the course of our three day stay. Mad Gear LLC is an import gamer's dream come true. They are the kind of store that I've dreamed of one day being in charge of selling new and used import games at (usually) very good prices. What kind of stuff was to be had? Well how about...
...an in-the-box Famicom system. Go ahead and stare for a bit longer, I'll wait. After all, I certainly did my fair share of staring every time I passed this place. And if you look to the left, you'll see the Japanese import of Rez, complete with Trance Vibrator. Now, the Rez with vibrator was a bit pricey, around $75, but if you could live without that vibrator the game was selling for $28. Did I pick it up? Nope. Kinda wish I did, though. All is not lost, however, as you can always visit his website and get a copy for yourself, as I probably will do myself in the near future. What other wonders did his stand possess? Behold!
The Famicom AV, in box, for $120. Now this one I was *really* close to getting actually. By the time I'd gotten to this stand, I had about $90 left in spending money (among other things I had already bought was a copy of Band Brothers for the DS which set me back $60 at a different stand) and Ghibli_Geek was going to offer the remaining $30 I'd need. But I just didn't feel good about spending all of my money on one single object, no matter how sweet that item may have been. To sweeten the deal, he was also offering one free Famicom game of your choice from the ones he had available. All in all, a very sweet deal. As if my brain wasn't already short-circuiting from the cool stuff to be had here, there was one more system I now have had the honor to see in person:
The Twin Famicom, being sold for $200. For those of you who might not know, the Twin Famicom is a Famicom with the add-on Disk System built in to it. Pretty darn handy. Except of course for the fact that the belts in the Disk Systems do tend to snap in their old age and I'm not sure how difficult it is to install a replacement. At any rate, it was very exciting to see these great pieces of Nintendo history up close, and so near my grasp! One day I shall have a Famicom AV system, but Otakon weekend was just not that time. As I stated before, most of his prices were really fair, but some were unusually high. Specifically, Ouendan, which was being sold elsewhere for $60, was being sold here for $80! What?? That's weird. Didn't stop it from being sold out by the second day, though. On the other hand, a copy of Super Mario RPG for the Super Famicom? $14 freaking dollars! Nice! If you'll recall, it's not easy to find the American counterpart for such a cheap price...
I did however pick up a device that allows me to play import PS2 games and a game from the Simple Series 2000 line, Vol. 50: The DaiBiJin. I haven't put much time into it yet, and I'll probably go into these in a more in-depth post later, but it's about a bikini clad beach girl who gets bitten by an alien and grows 50 stories tall and starts rampaging Japan. How can you go wrong? : )
After much shopping and watching of anime, it was back to the hotel room to unwind a bit. Hmmm...the room is nice and all, but it needs something else...
Ah, much better. Who needs to unwind when you've got a Mac full of ROMs? With the day behind us, Ghibli_Geek and I went through our bags, seeing what we picked up in our non-stop spend-fest. I picked up a couple of the new line of Final Fantasy trading arts figures, which come packed in identical boxes, so you never know which you'll get until you open them. What has fate decided for me? Zidane from Final Fantasy IX and Selphie from Final Fantasy VIII! Actually, Zidane was the one character out of all of them that I was hoping to get the most, so hooray! (the picture was too blurry to include here, sorry!)
Since I'd gotten most of my shopping out of my system on the first day, the second day's trip through the dealer's room was more window-shopping and taking pics of cosplayers shopping.
There was a bit of Chrono Trigger love out there. I saw two Chronos, and Frog here. I was pretty impressed with the head they'd made. And while I didn't waste much time with the countless Soras to be found, a Halloween Sora is totally different! Every chance I got, I would once again pass by Mad Gear LLC to see if anything else had been put out. Day Two offering?
The Tabletop Game and Watch edition of Snoopy. I didn't ask how much it was, and I'm not really sure why. If it were a reasonable price, I most certainly would have bought it. I own the Popeye one from back when that was released and I loved it. I'm interested in seeing what kind of gameplay this one offered. Wizzywig is a pretty popular import seller for various Japanese goods, and they had some pretty cool stuff on hand this year too. Minish Cap cell phone straps would only set you back $2.50, and Animal Crossing keychain thingies were $4.50. And the Nintendo plushies were out in full force!
On the way out of the dealer's room I got a couple more cosplayers' photos. Sometimes it's fun when a cosplayer tries to get as exact as they can with their costume to make it look just like the game or anime it came from. But sometimes it's fun to see them change up the characters to better suit them. Case in point? Hot...Shy...Guy...
Cute pink outfit? White fishnet stockings? And not pictured here, but written on her ass is "2 shy", which I felt would have been crossing a line if I'd snapped a photo of that.
So later in the evening we decided to take an anime break and hit the game room. They have everything here you could want. Arcade machines? Yup. Dreamcast, Saturn, SNES, N64, blah blah blah? Yup, they were all here too. The atmosphere was pretty dark so you'd be able to see screens pretty well. Unfortunately that meant my photos all turned out blurry. It was really hard to show just how massive this room is. Halo 2 matches were being played on projector screens. Smash Bros and Mario Kart DD were on big screens. It was beautiful.
|Click the pic for a video!|
Lines were the name of the game here, since anyone could just sit down and play for as long as they wanted. Most of my time here was just spent walking around checking stuff out, but Ghibli_Geek and I did partake of a little Taiko Drum Master, which was fun, even if neither of us performed very well. Click the above pic for a short video of me standing in one corner of the game room. I don't even think you can see the projection screens on the far side of the hall. The long line to the left is for DDR, which I'd already waited in forever and embarrassed myself in last year, so I decided to skip it this time.
The third day was a short one, as the con officially closes at 3. But on the third day I finally ran in to the cosplayer I was hoping would show up again this year. Last year, by far my favorite cosplayer was someone dressed up in a Purple Tentacle costume from Maniac Mansion 2: Day of the Tentacle. It looked great. I hadn't seen him the first two days and figured he just wasn't here this year. But then I saw him! Purple Tentacle was back and this year instead of being an insane mutant tentacle, he was fighting for truth and justice...in Hyrule!
PS - Note the symbol on his shield! And with that, the wonderful Otakon 2006 came to a close. Like I said, I tried to just focus on the videogame aspects of it for the purpose of this blog. I'll probably talk about the anime at a different time. I was going to list the titles that we watched while we were there, but since I can't find my schedule right now, I'll have to edit them in later. Hope you all enjoyed my rundown of the cool stuff found at Otakon 2006!