Let’s Talk: ArcadeCon 2015
Time to get gamer and geek cosplay on as it is time for SG Gaming Info to talk about ArcadeCon 2015. This year’s ArcadeCon, which is operated by the Irish geek centric website The Arcade, which ran from July 3rd – 5th, turned out to be a very special and emotional convention as the organisers announced that after only five conventions ArcadeCon would not be returning in 2016, but they did promise that ArcadeCon would return someday.
While hearing the closing of a convention I had been going to for four years made me feel down, I don’t think I should dwell on this fact to much as you dear reader are here to find out about ArcadeCon 2015.
While ArcadeCon 2015 had a similar formula to previous iterations of the con with a host of video game tournaments, indie developers, panels, workshops, special guests, traders to name but a few. However in ArcadeCon 2015 had one major change, the convention moved from Ballsbridge Hotel to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown. While I initially felt that this was a positive mood, but come Saturday my opinion of the new changed. While the convention now had two floors, it felt uncomfortably cramped, especially at 10am on Saturday and Sunday as a quarter of convention (the trade hall) didn’t open until 11am. Needless to say as a person who has issues dealing with a large amount of unknown people I didn’t enjoy the early morning experience, my experience of cramped space got so bad that at one point I was having minor stress related attacks.
Moving away from the space issue, I had an overall positive experience at ArcadeCon 2015. This year’s convention once again showed its friendly, enjoyable and informative side with a large array of panels, workshops, and guest speakers.
This year ArcadeCon brought along six special guests: Troy Baker – a world renowned voice actor that has worked on The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite, Arkham Knight), Kamui Cosplay – a world renowned cosplayer and cosplay creator, Mike Collins – a comic book artist who has worked on Spider-Man, Transformers and more, Paul Bolger – writer, artist, animator and director for PillarStone Productions, Dr. Joseph Roche – an astrophysicist at Trinity College Dublin, and finally and by no means least Professor Elemental – a returning guest who is a steam punk rapper, musician and writer.
Each of the above mentioned guests were fantastic, but I personally enjoyed seeing Troy Baker. Troy seemed to steal ArcadeCon as the voice actor performed a Q&A, took part in a two hour signing session, and decided to help out the charity auction by donating some huge items (including a kiss) and even taking up the role of auctioneer.
While meeting all the above mentioned guests was all well in good, there has to be something else to do during the three days and well ArcadeCon didn’t disappoint as they had more than enough panels, workshop, trade hall, tournaments, and video games to keep you busy. The panels and workshops covered a large portion of geek culture. Some of ArcadeCon 2015’s panels and workshops included “Magical Girl 101 by Kitty Burnell” a humorous panel that saw attendees interact with the presenters to create random attack names and outfits, and “Creative writing & self publishing workshop by Paddy Lennon” an interesting panel that looked at the best way to write a story and how to get it published. Others panels/workshops included “Prop making and costume design”, “Exploring Dragon Age”, and “Yaoi vs. Reality” (an 18+ panel if you hadn’t guessed). My overall impression from the panels and workshops is that no matter your geek background or sexual orientation there was something for you at ArcadeCon.
When you left a panel or workshop you could just wait for the next one or you could head to the trade hall and buy a piece of art from an inspiring artist, pick up a piece of hand crafted jewellery, a manga or two, or simply buy some officially licensed merchandise. Outside the trade hall you could sit back and relax with some video games, board games, card games, or watch some people compete for prizes in tournaments.
As I mentioned earlier this was my fourth year attending ArcadeCon (third year in a press capacity), and I feel it is only right to mention the ArcadeCon staff. Every staff member I ran into was incredibly helpful. If I needed some assistance such as a chair to stand on for taking photographs or wanted to know where I could and couldn’t go a staff member was able to assist me without any issue (unless you count one or two teasing me, which showed just how down to earth they were). They weren’t just helpful to me, they were helpful to everyone, and if you had an issue they would help you without hesitation.
As the three day convention drew to a close it was time for the closing ceremony. The ceremony featured the announcement of the cosplay show winners, charity raffle, charity auction, and an amazing ending speech by ArcadeCon’s co-founder Declan Doody. The charity raffle and auction, which were to raise money for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland was spectacular. The raffle prizes, which consisted of items donated by fans and traders included a large Gundam model, a mystery box, and a Nexus tablet. The auction also had some amazing prizes and a special auctioneer in the form of Troy Baker. The items up for auction included a Samus Aran helmet, a Spartan helmet, a handcrafted Dragon Age Inquisition helmet, a signed BioShock infinite skyhook, a signed Damascus steel highlander sword, and a Troy Baker signed “The Last of Us” poster and “Far Cry 4” T-shirt (Troy later threw in a kiss and his CD). When the auction ended more than €2,600 was raised for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland.
The very end of the ceremony proved to be an emotional experience for nearly everyone in the hall as Declan Doody talked about a truly heartbreaking experience leading up to this year’s ArcadeCon, announced that there would be no ArcadeCon 2016, and giving a heartfelt thank you to the staff and fans. I think by the end of it all everyone was crying.
In conclusion my opinion regarding ArcadeCon 2015 is that despite the size constraints, the convention was fun. ArcadeCon does something that not many conventions do, and that is creating a fun, friendly and informative atmosphere. If there was an ArcadeCon next year I would say go to it, but unfortunately there will be none in 2016, so I will say if you live in Ireland and ArcadeCon returns go it, because if you don’t you will regret it.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.