ConnectiCon 2013 Review by Ross

Connecticon 2013 - Connecticon was nice enough to allow us back for round two of covering their convention, and for that we are thankful.  For round one of their written review, please check that here.

As an update to that review, here are some tidbits that follow and expand our previous review:

Hotel rooms were $145 a night at the Marriott, which is considered pretty reasonable pricing.  If you are driving in though there is a hidden cost though that always manages to surprise us though it shouldn’t....  Parking!  Parking costs at the hotel/convention center was rated at $19 a day, or you could buy a 4-day pass (Th-Su) at $60 for the ability to leave and come back as you like.

We found a new way to get food! There is a website that will show you what is open and delivering to your area - We personally used this to order some cheap chinese food that tasted pretty good.  Another possibility for online ordering is  The same local establishments as last year were open and this year we opted to try the bistro (attached to the movie theatre) right across from the convention center after roommates offered it as a great place to grab a bite. Unfortunately the service there was bad enough for us to walk out. We were seated for 15 minutes without being greeted by our server at all.  At this point due to time constraints and the unwillingness to see if it would improve, we had instead opted to go back and order online as we did the night before.

From what we could see lines were handled better than last year. Pre-reg line this year was a bit more controlled so that traffic could flow easier and get inside faster. Registration, which was handled downstairs on the first floor this year, was backed up still for hours on end. We can understand why registration takes a long time as people have to manually input a bunch of information about the attendee’s. At this point, it might be easier for attendees to take advantage of the pre-reg system as that system was/is more efficient. We will expand on the Masquerade lineup in our coverage of that event.

The convention center, like last year, remained very cool for the people inside. I can’t begin to say how this single point of the convention makes the enjoyment really rise up. At anytime, after being outside in the humid sun, you can go inside and breathe easy with some cool/dry air. It didn’t seem to matter how many people were inside, the climate was great. On top of that the increase of people this year did not seem to increase clutter or crowdedness in the convention center and it still housed everybody pretty well. Connecticon would be hard pressed to find a convention center that has as many good things going for it as they do at this location.

This year we added the “Death Match” to our list of events that we needed to go to. The opening of this event started with all the contestants going up on stage and lingering there in a death pose. From there, the zombies (our convention favorites by far) come up last with the MC, whom I would be best described as a grim reaper type fellow considering his garb, and then starts to have the contestants through either touch or by wave rise up as if given life. It was a very interesting and entertaining way to start the show, for participants appeared to either have been given very good stage direction on how to act on the stage or were great at acting on the fly. Everyone at this point after being brought back to life life made it appear that they had no idea what had happened, as if just waking up. From here on out the contestants are brought up on stage in versus, and the participants face each other in a cheer for victory type of contest. The person with the loudest cheering wins, or winning the tiebreaker of rock paper scissors, fight to the ‘death’ on stage before the ZOMBIE CLEAN UP CREW comes up to get the dead people off the stage. Many people interacted with the zombies, other players, as well as death in different ways: they wander off with the zombies in death, acted as part of the zombie crew after death, used previous “dead” participants as part of their crew going forward, had additional crew to call up when judging was never knew what to expect and it kept you on the edge of your seat! Speaking of edge of your seat, several times people around me would continuously jump out of their seat to cheer. While enthusiasm is greatly encouraged if you want your favorite to win, blocking the view of others who are not getting up is discouraged. Be considerate as always. You can see our coverage of the Death match here.

While between both years we had no glaring issues that affected our enjoyment of the convention, we do have a few friends that we see between conventions that had some issues last year. One such place referenced, which I didn’t realize bothered me until I reflected on it, was the length of time of time that the masquerade took. If one removed the cos-plotline that fell between every skit as well as made up the half-time performance, it felt like nearly half the masquerade would have been removed. Usually in our experience, masquerade is best served as a “get in/get out” mentality. While it’s nice to have a some between skit dialogue, it felt last year as if THAT was the emphasis of the show and everything else was filler for it- especially since it cut into the Hall Cosplay walkon time which had been rushed so terribly last year. This year, the cos-plot was revamped with only a few lines between skits and once in awhile a slightly longer interlude. We felt that this year there was a good balance between the skits/introductions area/Cosplot and would love to see this continued going forward. A suggestion put forth was to actually give the staff plotline it’s own dedicated time to put on their show, as it definitely IS entertaining, but on a Saturday night while you are trying to get all the skits and judging find that being in that seat for a long time ends up being pretty bothersome.

Other comments that were noted is that the online presence and knowledge of staff was a lot better this year than it was last year. Certain rearrangements made more sense, such as the weapons check moved closer to the entrance of the convention made it easier to walk in and get it done. The line for the masquerade was also moved to the parking garage area instead of being in direct sunlight, which at 6:00 p.m. in the summer can still remain pretty hot. I’m not sure how to improve in this area further, since the indoor line room is severely limited. There was a lot of time eaten towards the beginning of the masquerade by moving people from the parking garage in to seat. From what we were told, the people came in batches and not simply a single line. The only way I can see this getting better might be to start the actual seating a bit earlier, since it made sitting in the main hall with the rest of the performers for that extended amount of time extremely long.

All in all our personal experience this convention managed to be better than last years. A lot of improvements that were brought to table reflected in what we saw as a more pleasant experience for people we knew, while we had the same level of enjoyment as last year. The masquerade though was a huge step forward, of which you can see what we captured in our gallery.