This past weekend, I attended the first-ever Gobble-Con in Milford, Connecticut at the Hilton Garden Inn. In contrast to Connecticon, or even to MAGFest, Gobble-Con is a small (about 300 attended), first-year convention created to fill the gap between cons in the Connecticut area, as not much really goes on in that department later in the year.
I arrived late on Friday morning to…not really a lot. As it turned out, registration took place to the left of where I had entered, and the actual picking up of the badge for pre-registrations was to the right, actually inside of a hotel room. The setup was a bit strange, but probably the best they could have done given that the actual registration desk was off in a corner, in a relatively high-traffic area for the convention, right by the dealer’s room and two panel rooms, as well as the screening room.
While I didn’t really have to be there until early Saturday morning for my panel, I figured I should check out the convention on Friday and see what it had to offer, as well as hand out business cards and try to drum up interest in said panel (It being at 9AM Saturday morning, combined with this being a convention geared toward [although not exclusively for] a 21+ crowd, meant I was going to need all the help I could get in that regard, 9AM Saturday being “Booze-induced sleepytime” as SDA member DBallin called it). At opening ceremonies, I meet a person named Oliver who was doing a Kingdom Hearts-related panel on Sunday morning, and who offered to record my panel for me, as he was interested in it anyway–an offer I quickly accepted, not really having any high-quality ways to do so myself.
I then checked out the Game Room, which was really more of a Pachinko freeplay room with a couple gaming systems off in the corners. I will say this: It was cool to actually see these machines firsthand and get to try them out. That said, I’ll admit that I don’t really see what the excitement is all about, although that’s probably a reflection of me moreso than the concept itself–I also don’t see what the big deal is about slot machines, preferring to use them to compose progressive rock albums rather than actually trying to win money on them.
If you’ve never played Pachinko before, or heard of it, it’s essentially slots meets pinball. You have a bunch of small metal balls that launch into the playing field via a knob; how far you leave the knob turned to the right affects the power the balls are launched with. Your goal is to get the balls into a slot in the middle, at which point a slot machine kicks in. If you get a lucky spin of the slots, your payout is…more balls. In this case, filling up a tray full of balls got you entered into a drawing to win money toward the purchase of a Pachinko machine; in Japan’s Pachinko parlors, I’ve read, the balls can be exchanged for various prizes.
There were two specific panels I had wanted to check out on Friday, glancing at the schedule. The first, Cosplay/Con Survival, basically turned into the Foamy the Squirrel (Warning: Link not really work-safe) panel, although the first video tied in with the message the panel was originally supposed to have (Namely, “Take a freaking shower every once in awhile”). The second was a panel on Sailor Moon (Yes, really), that got into some of the non-anime media the series has had over the years, such as a live-action series, a bunch of musicals, and some foreign-language commercials for it. It was pretty neat to actually see some of this stuff I had heard about, but never really sought out due to laziness amongst other things. They also showed some of the differences between the American and Japanese versions of the series.
I should note that I actually missed the beginning of this panel because, between the two panels (Which were scheduled one right after the other), I decided “Hey, getting a Long Island Iced Tea from the bar would be a good idea. Drinking the entirety of it in 20 minutes so I can make most of this Sailor Moon panel would be an even better idea!” This led to a text message to Silver stating that, in fact, this was not such a good idea, and that I wouldn’t be home for awhile due to my need to sober up. Don’t worry, I remember everything I did, and I didn’t do anything that I regret at all, although I can now cross off “Wind up in the hotel room of a female stranger while drunk” off of my Convention-To-Do list. No, nothing happened, and I remember exactly how I got there. We struck up a conversation, and I asked if I could tag along with her and her friends while I sobered up. She said yes, and then I followed them to their room, and just sat there talking to them while they got ready to go to the Totally-Not-A-Rave Informal Dance that night.
I briefly went to said dance, but then had to head home to try and get to bed kind of early for my 9AM panel. I succeeded well enough in this, and made it back on Saturday morning with plenty of time to spare. Once there, I had a couple surprises waiting for me. The first was that the room was still a frosty 62 degrees thanks to the Still-Not-A-Rave Informal Dance. The second was that the panel after me, dealing with the Sailor Moon musicals I had mentioned earlier, needed use of my laptop to both rehearse and actually use for their panel.
I could go on about those things or other factors out of my control, but truth be told, I think I did pretty okay with what I could control. My two main mistakes were not stopping on the comic long enough, which made me feel like a jerk, and forgetting about a black slide just before the excerpt from my glitchy TMNT run, which probably went unnoticed. Well, there was also the fact that the slideshow wasn’t quite full screen, but hey. The few people that were there seemed to like the panel, which was reinforced by talking to Don (The guy who runs the convention) later on. He basically told me that I already have a panel slot for next year (Presuming that A. There is a next year and B. I actually want the slot). So I guess I did all right.
I then watched the Sailor Moon Musical, or “Sera Myu”, panel, and not entirely because they were using my laptop either. In the middle of the panel, what is apparently a new convention tradition for me occurred (I got a similar on Saturday morning of Connecticon 2010): The helpdesk at work called. Apparently someone at a branch was trying to close a loan, but was getting a warning preventing them from doing so. Not really knowing whether the particulars behind the warning’s programming had changed recently, and not being in a position to be able to log into the system even if I had wanted to, all the advice I could offer amounted to “Try having them follow what the warning says”. I didn’t get a call back, so I’m hoping that did the trick. In any event, this was a fun panel too, and apparently they had it even harder than I did–besides the lack of a laptop, their web mistress and main tech person was in the hospital the day before, meaning at least one of them was literally seeing the slideshow they had lined up for the first time as they were doing it live. This is obviously not an ideal situation.
After that was a lot of wandering about the convention, going into the Game Room and the Dealer’s Room, and getting commissions of little Christmas ornaments and artwork that I may take pictures of and link to here.
In all, it was a fun time for a small convention, and I’ll in all likelihood go to it again next year.
The pictures I took
Legendary Senshi– the New England Sera Myu Society, who borrowed my laptop for their panel
So and Sew Plushies, who made the ornaments I mentioned above
Chi Studios, who did the art that is the first picture on my Gobble-Con album.