Repede Limit #5 – Mach goes to Katsucon! Again!

[This totally isn’t a cross post from an article I had to send in to my school’s paper. Not without some personal changes for this post though…]

I was graced with the random opportunity to travel to National Harbor, MD this past February 12th and attend Katsucon 16.

I was able to attend Katsucon last year when it was held in Arlington, Virginia at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. It was my first anime convention and I was pretty impressed with it. The location was pretty ideal as it was around a fairly busy area in Arlington, had several food options in the form of McDonalds, 7-11, and several restaurants in the area. There were also several hotels around the area that attendees could stay at they were relatively close to the convention center itself. Along with being in a very ideal area, the hotel itself was nicely arranged.

The convention itself spanned about three floors and had a video game room that showcased many console games as well as some arcade games they were able to acquire. The panels themselves, usually run by invited guests to the convention or convention goers who registered for a panel, were very interesting.  There was more than enough to go around.

The one thing that gripped me about this as well were the musical guests they had that year. Their feature musical acts were YMCK, a Japanese chiptune band whose music has been featured in the game Katamary Damacy, and Aural Vampire, a Japanese electronic band who had a song featured in beatmania IIDX 15: DJTROOPERS. The two brought their own musical flair to the convention to make it pretty memorable for anyone attending the convention.

I had such an enjoyable time there last year, I was hoping that the short time I had at this convention this year would live up to the thrill I had last year.

Sadly, I was mistaken.

While the venue for the convention, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, was a complete upgrade from last year, I couldn’t help but feel they fell a little short in some areas they excelled in last year.

My first complaint is the location of the convention. Verging on the border of Virginia, the convention was placed in a very isolated area from a bunch of other things. If you didn’t have a form of transportation to get around the area, then you were limited to the lack of food options as well as jacked up prices for the weekend. The area does realize the amount of people who attend these conventions, so sudden price inflation is inevitable for the weekend. Because of the lack of options, my friends and I were forced to drive a couple of miles on the highway to an area with cheaper food.

Normally at these types of conventions, the Artist Alley, the Game Room, and the Dealer’s Room are usually held in different areas. Last year, they were all different areas of the convention center. I was distraught to find this year they were all smacked in the same place.

The Game Room was in one corner, The Artist Alley in another corner, and the Dealer’s Room taking up the remaining half. What was worse for me was the lack of actual games in the game room this year. While they had many of the popular games out on the floor, there just wasn’t as many games available to play as last year. There was also a distinct lack of arcade games as well.

Another thing that upset me was the lack of good panels to attend. My friends and I wanted to make the best of our short time there, but found nothing good to attend while we were there. The lack of anything interesting definitely boggled down my experience this year.

The musical acts, for me at least, weren’t interesting enough to stick around for either. Their two musical guests this year featured, Unicorn Table, who had some songs featured in the anime School Rumble, and Temp Sounds Solutions, a video-game cover band.

Overall, I was a little under-whelmed with the convention this year. I was extremely impressed with them last year, but this year kind of felt like a slight downgrade. While the location of the convention itself was an upgrade, everything else seemed to be sacrificed in the process. I have hope for next year, but after this, I’m not sure I want to attend it next year…

Perhaps if I was around longer, then I could probably evaluate it better, but for now:

Ugh… Do I sound too formal for my own good?
Perhaps I have to keep in mind that
not everyone is a complete gaming
and anime nerd…

One Response to “Repede Limit #5 – Mach goes to Katsucon! Again!”


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