Babscon improved from last year’s convention in quality, and quantity. Everything I experienced was all good quality work from Babscon, and the Babscon staff. From panels, to the cosplay contest, the dealers hall, and the late night partying. What this convention has shown to me is that Babscon is well on its way to be possibly being the best convention in the bay area.
The minute I walked into the door, I was greeted with the long line of registration for badges. While the line was long, the speed of the Babscon staff to get everyone their badges was done in a timely fashion. I stood in line no more than around 10 to 20 minutes in line. I have been to many other conventions where waiting in line for a badge would have taken much longer, but the staff at Babscon did a superb job in taking care both press, and attendees. The one thing I will say, is given the few people working in the registration area, I would like to see more staff on hand to help out. Having the press and the attendance go through one desk is not the best ideal for all parties.
One of the best features of Babscon is the panels they hold. Last year, I was fully entertained by the panels I attended. This year was even better. I attended the Lauran Faust panel, Designing ponies, the Art and Animation of MLP, the voice actor panel, and creating a costume on a budget. Each panel is very different from one another, but each one of them was very entertaining. The best panel I had the privilege of attending was the Lauran Faust panel. Having the panel set up as an interview, and a Q and A was outstanding. I got more information out of that panel about one person, than I ever did with any other Q and A panels I have ever attended. Even with the long lines with to attend some the panels, their was still plenty of room for the Mane Events panels, that I didn’t have to worry about getting a good seat. The smaller room panels became crowded rather quickly, but even with this problem, every panel was again, the strong suits of Babscon.
The other strong suit of Babscon is the dealers’ hall. What makes this different than other dealers halls in other conventions we have covered, is that about 90% of the items on sale were hand made. To give a better perspective to other conventions, it’s as if the Artist Alley was the dealers’ hall, but still had extra room for an art gallery. Most of the items that are on sale ranged from shot glasses; t-shirts, artwork, and plushies. I wanted to buy everything. The tattoo artists returned from last year, offering to tattoo on the spot in the dealers hall MLP related requests. Prices were decent, while some other items were a bit too high for the quality of work some vendors were selling. Overall the dealers’ hall was great, and continues to be one of the best strong suits of Babscon.
Artist Alley/Art Gallery:
Across from the dealers hall was the Artist Alley where various art pieces were in display to purchase. One of the things I’ve come to recently enjoy is spending time with the artists, and observing their work. Many of the work varied from prints, bead work, plushies, and even mousepads. Much of the artists were very friendly, and on top of that, using original art styles that distance itself from the My Little Pony show. The other room I also checked out was the Art Gallery. This was not new, as this was also set up last year, but still a pleasure to attend. The artwork was very different from one another, and as my friend observed, we both enjoyed the level of detail in the artwork. Much of the art work that was displayed was also up for auction the next day.
While the arcade was nothing different from last year, there were some issues regarding a few of the tournaments that were being organized. The arcade room has various game consoles to be played from Xbox one, to the original Playstation. There were only two tournaments being held that weekend in the arcade room, and it was for Super Smash Bros. 4 and Fighting is Magic. There were issues with the tournaments that lead to many people to leave. One example of this is Fighting is Magic tournament organizer was not recording who had won, and who had lost. With these issues aside, the gaming room at Babscon was your average gaming room.
While other conventions avoid the existence of party rooms, Babscon embraces this idea. For the past two years I have attended Babscon, the party room floor is perfect for older con goers who want to drink, and party. On the 2nd floor of the Hyatt hotel, is a floor dedicated to a certain amount of rooms for partying. In each room was themed differently. Some of the rooms are my little pony related, while a few others were themed differently like the Klingons from Star Trek, and or the Furry room. Each room had a dedicated staff member, or bodyguard at the door checking ID at the door, to make sure that people who are drinking are indeed 21, or older. The downside to all of this is that you still get the occasional drunk people, but the staff in each room encourages drinking water when possible.
At the end of the day I think Babscon is one of the best conventions I had experienced this year. Last year I ranked it 2nd highest best convention I have covered, only behind Anime LA. What really impressed me about this convention was that Babscon was able to use the space at the Hyatt hotel, even when construction was still being made on the 2nd floor. Babscon has a great understanding on how to deliver great convention experience for all ages, and worth going even if you are not a fan of My Little Pony