Galveston, Tx, USA. October 28th – 30th 2011.
Oni-Con 2011 was my first Oni-Con attendance. I arrived on the scene close to the end of events on Friday, October 28 to a very convenient parking place. That was the first thing I noticed about this convention, the little conveniences. Parking was simple and easy, as there was a parking garage beneath the convention center. Across the street from the convention venue was a local store, which made getting food during the convention easy and inexpensive. The convention center itself was large, beautiful, and had a wonderful view of Galveston Bay from the front steps. I climbed those steps, very excited and optimistic about this convention.
My whole reason for attending Oni-Con 2011 (aside from the fact that it was nearby) was to see the band Earthbound Papas live in concert. Earthbound Papas was formed by video game composing legend Nobuo Uematsu, the man responsible for scoring the majority of the Final Fantasy games.
Myself and hundreds of fellow videogame music fanatics lined up outside the concert hall two and a half hours before the Papas were scheduled to play. As I waited, I conversed with my compatriots and discussed with them how lucky we were to be here and see the band live, and how this would likely be a once in a lifetime experience for the majority of us. When the doors to the hall opened, those in
After Otokage’s final song there was a lull in the action as the band broke down their equipment to make way for the Papas. Then Uematsu himself appeared on stage to set up his keyboards and a hush fell over the crowd. We could do nothing but stare in disbelief at the man whose music we all loved and some of us idolized. The crowd cheered as the band started to play our favorite tunes from Final Fantasy, Blue Dragon, and Lost Odyssey, along with a cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, to which the entire crowd added their vocal talents. While I have always loved this music, I could never match the fanaticism and adoration shown by those around me. I was taken by this energy and it made the entire experience twice as exciting and memorable. I will never forget this awesome concert and experience for as long as I live.
This year’s Oni-Con seemed to have a very nice Halloween theme. With unorthodox events like the Zombie walk and a live performance of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as a smattering of Halloween cosplayers, the Halloween spirit was definitely alive at the con.
Halloween Brony Spectacular
When I saw this event on the schedule, I was more than excited. Having been a proud brony from the start of 2011, I was thrilled for a chance to meet other, like-minded fans. For those who do not know what a “brony” is, it is simply an older fan of the television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, or anyone outside of the show’s target audience.
This panel was run by a man and his twelve-year-old daughter, who were both big fans of the show and started with people going up to the microphone at the front of the room and telling the group how they became a brony and what it meant to them. This led to a few interesting and heartwarming stories including one told by a girl who was bullied at her school. She told of how the show helped her get over her anxiety of going to school and gave her the courage to face the bullies that tormented her. The panel also involved singing songs from the show and generally talking about what was popular in brony culture. This panel was a lot of fun and I hope to see more like it at future conventions.
Oni-Con 2011 was plagued by organizational issues. The first issue was the long lines. Now, I expect long lines for popular events. Especially for the Earthbound Papas concert, whose line actually circled the convention center and ended where it began by the time the doors were opened. The problem with the lines was not their length, but their location. Lines into the main
conference hall ended up blocking the convention’s main thoroughfare and some lines had to be divided in order to keep them from blocking entrances to other panel rooms. The biggest problem with the lines had to be that it wasn’t just the large, popular events that had lines. To me, it seemed that every event had a line and, if anyone wanted to get in, they had to make sure they were in line at least 15 minutes before the start of that event.
Another issue with Oni-Con’s organization was the fact that panels and events started back to back in the same rooms. While this was not an issue for panels that simply required people to sit at a table at the front of the room, panels that needed time to set up had to be pushed back as there was no time in the schedule for them to set up. This resulted in panels being pushed back 10-20 minutes, and wait times for those panels going from a 15 minute wait in line to a 25-30 minute wait as some panels wouldn’t allow people to enter until they were completely set up.
These issues along with instances of “right hand not knowing what the left is doing ” could be seen all over the convention.
Despite the organizational downfalls of the convention, I would call Oni-Con 2011 a success. It had the one of the greatest video game composers playing live in concert and Halloween-themed panels and events, including a live performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show and Halloween Brony Spectacular. I had a lot of fun at this convention and am looking forward to seeing what the staff have in store for next year.