THIS IS NOT A HATE TEXT. THIS IS NOT A SMEAR CAMPAIGN, NOT SLANDEROUS NOT DISRESPECTFUL FOR THE SAKE OF IT THIS IS JUST AN HONEST REVIEW OF A GUY WHO WENT TO GAMERCON DUBLIN 2017.
I also apologise if this seems too long-winded but this was as short as I could make it…Believe me
I dont exactly know how to write this, I dont think I’d class this as a review, its not a dis, I’m not having a go at anyone or anything, I guess I’m simply writing from experience. Thats all.
I wish to share with you XiteGamings’ but more importantly MY honest to goodness account of Gamercon Ireland which took place in Dublin just a few days ago (assuming I write this when I had planned).
Let me begin by stating just how excited I was for this event. I had never been to a GAMING convention before, this was a first for me and for the guys and we were tremendously excited to immerse ourselves in the current gaming scene for the first of many times.
Bags packed we left our houses shortly before 8am. We live around 80 miles or so from Dublin so we made it an early-ish start. Road hit, we talked our way down to the city, hyping ourselves silly over what was sure to be a great day, nothing was dampening our spirits, not even the seansonably wet weather.
(Short side story – But it all ties in trust me) – Before leaving the house I had my breakfast which, for me includes around 2ltrs or so of water, I also had my coffe in my travel mug on the way down in the car. Now as we approached the first of two Applegreen services I felt absolutely no need to stop. Approaching the second however I was rather deaperate for a restroom, but I knew the city was no more than 10 minutes or so away and I didn’t want to be the guy holding us up so I held it, besides we’d get there, park and get to the center inside 15 minutes or so and I’d have the sweet relief I craved then.
Okay, so we passed the Center on the way to our parking structure which we had prepaid for and there were some noticable queues but we seen the main doors looking rather bare so we assumed the doors maybe weren’t open yet or something and by the time we parked and walked to the front entrance we would simply walk in, perhaps there’d be bag checks or security or something to pass through being such a big event. (There wasn’t – Which I also have to say I was quite shocked about).
So, approaching the convention center we were a little taken aback by the crowds. Surely not all for inside we thought, the doors had been open an apparent fourty minutes or so by now, these lines should be moving. But no. We were swiftly ushered away from the from entrance well past the building, around a corner, around another corner to the backside of the Center where the queues extended too. Taking our place as the most recent add ons to this mammoth line, we settled in for what would be a long, uncomfortable wait.
Now might I add at this point my bladder was starting to press profously against my interior causing me some serious discomfort. To cut a long story short, we waited in the miserable mist like rain for just over an hour all the while in serious discomfort. Now I know what your’re thinking, its my own fault, I could have peed before hand, and yeah you’re absolutely right, I could have, but thats not what bugged me. I’m a grown guy, I should be able to control my bodily functions at any rate, (which I did by the way) HOWEVER, I was most certainly NOT among the younger fans queing that morning. There were kids as young as four and five years old making that wait to get in, kids who just may not be as in control of their urinary needs as well as I may have been and not a single port-a-potty in sight. I didnt so much find this infuriating, more just a big inconvienience as anyone who decided during their sixty minute+ wait that they wished to relieve themselves, would have to make a tough decision, hold it in and hurt, or leave, look for a restroom and sacrafice your place in the queue and start over when you return. An easy decision for me but perhaps just not an easy call for others.
Also before I move on from this point, I would just like to add. Normaly when I make the concious decision to pay extra for something, be it an upgrade of sorts or whatever, I expect that because I am paying more of my money, my service be upgraded in some way shape or form, some way which will BENEFIT ME. Luckily for us we decided not to pay the extra for VIP tickets for this convention, and I say luckily because I witnessed one of the strangest things. People who had spent the extra for their “UPGRADE” were ushered along along side of us “standard ticket holders” to, what I thought would be another route into the building, a faster line or another doorway. But no. These people were shoved on maybe 100 yards in an express lane beofore being made join the regular bloody queing system to enter the building. I witnessed people with VIP tickets queuing longer than we ourselves did to enter. Now I fully understand that these VIP ticket holders also were able to benefit from meet and greets with YouTubers, and access to parts of the show perhaps I was not able to see. That being said, I also witnessed the queues for these “benefits” and people… I felt your pain.
Anywho, once inside the Center things looked up we made our way into the main convention hall, all of the queuing suddenly became worth it after I found a restroom and we started to wander. The buzz, the excitment the noise, atmosphere started to take over, the smell of Redbull and consoles (yes there IS a console smell) filled the air. This is what we came for. This.
So we wandered about a little taking in the initial sights you know, getting our bearings. Then things got a little… Hard. Okay, so I havent been to a gaming convention before, but I have been to large gatherings, conventions, concerts, plays, parties, fundraisers (you get the jist) and something all of these things had, were one of two things…Or both.
1) A flyer/leaflet/programme type thing which gave the general jist of what was going to be where and when so you could plan your day accordingly OR
2) Several giant screens with displays of what was on and where or when – or a PA announcement every once in a while, announcing when bigger events where going to start.
Gamercon had none of those things. Now okay there were signs located on the upper floors with the bare minimum information on them, COSPLAY SIGN UP, AUDITORIUM ect, but my God, unless we had downloaded the freaking Gamercon app, we were just three lost boys in a sea of gamers wandering aimlessly hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever was on when we passed through. To make matters worse the staff working the event didnt even know what was happening. When asked what was happening in the auditorium a member of staff just looked as if I had asked them the meaning of life. But it wasnt just me, on two seperate occasions I personaly witnessed other members of the public ask two seperate members of staff who were standing about what was on and where to find the (I think they said LIFFEY SUITE) to which one staff member shrugged and simply said “I don’t know” the other just pointed in the general direction of the crowds and said, and I quote “somewhere down there”.
Now look I get it, there were thousands of people there, it was a freaking busy day, tensions for the staff may have been a little high, stress levels may have been risen. But my god. The staff you hire to attend the shows, to help, to aid the excited gamers, parents, tourists whatever, should at least in some way add to the experience. Jesus at least look as if you want to be there, You’re working, getting paid to work at a GAMING CONVENTION! (incase you were volunteering – YOU’RE STILL VOLUNTEERING AT A GAMING CONVENTION) How, how can you not crack a smile or go that extra little bit to add to the publics experience.
( Of course I am not referring to ALL of the staff, it just so happened that I personally witnessed these three instances).
It doesnt matter. Moving on.
As the hours ran by, the crowds picked up, I mean they realy bloody picked up. I recall thinking to myself, this center must be enormous to hold all of these people comfortably. But thats it right there. Comfortably. It wasnt. It really, really wasnt. Now I’m not entirely sure of the sales figures for tickets, but I believe I read that the convention oversold tickets by somewhere in the high thousands. That doesnt suprise me in the slightest and I know that wouldnt shock anybody who was there. It felt, like they had oversold by bloody millions never mind thousands. (If someone reading this knows, if the statement to be true about overslling please inform us of by how much) and if they didnt infact oversell, what in good Gods name were they doing hosting the convention at the Dublin Convention Center, knowing fine well how many tickets they had sold? Okay even if you didnt expect to sell that many tickets and you had a venue booked, is it not better to have a location that could comfortably hold the minimum number of tickets expected to sell than to be ten times too small to hold the maximum? It was literaly a sweat box at times, constantly bumping into people and squeezing past…well…everybody!
So, we had now established a few things, there were way too many people, poorly signed events and VIP counted for shit for the fact that, once you were finished queuing for hours to get in, you got to queue in a more confined space indoors! That being said, the one thing I was sure they would get right, the one staple thing for any convention… food.
It genuinely felt like being part of the feeding of the 5000. I shit you not.
Okay, so you hire caterers to come in, to cook, to serve, to go home. Perhaps the center even provides its own caterers. (SIDE NOTE: Absolute credit to those cooks and servers at Gamercon, you guys never quit, people can argue that service was slow or whatever, DO NOT BLAME THESE GUYS! Having worked in fast food, I can say that you can only deal with what is in front of you at any given time and the ratio for cooks/caterers for people in the center must have been 1:100 if not more. Credit to those guys for not absolutely loosing their shit having thousands of hungry, sweaty frustrated people queued at your stall. In my opinion, there should have been a much bigger attempt made in the catering side of things, in that there should have been more of it. Again, how can you not bloody realise, “okay we’ve sold 20,000+ tickets for our convention, I know, lets set up two stalls for food here and one more on a lower level, that ought to do it dont you think?” Its called FORECASTING guys, a staple in any buisness, convention, event or organisation. I didnt even mention the fact that at one point food ran out, thats right, no more hamburgers. HAMBURGERS! What frigging child wants bloody nachos!
I also couldnt help but notice the lack of places to get myself a simple bottle of water. Water. That frustration was compounded when we were approached by a lady asking my friend where he got his as she wanted a bottle for her child. The only thing we could do was direct the lady upstairs with her child, knowing in our heads just what a wait she would have to endure to buy that bottle.
I once again realise that I must sound like a right whiney bitch here, being a real criticial asshole but this is Gamercon! Irelands biggest gaming convention and one of the most successful gaming conventions throughout Europe. I guess I just expected a little more in those departments.
So we went about ourselves lapping up the atmosphere soaking up some more of the sights before realising to ourselves, that the Nintendo Switch, one of the most hyped consoles to hit us in the past 5 years, a console which launched mere weeks ago, a console which people would be dying to see in action… Was nowhere to be seen, here…. At Gamercon… A gaming convention. Now apologies if there was infact a Switch or two hiding in a corner somewhere or if there was a show that we missed perhaps (maybe we didnt hear the announcement) but my goodness if there was… What the hell… How do you not showcase that!
So, the day went on and myself and the guys hit the auditorium, the halls, checked out the cosplay judging, shopped, gamed some and you know what…
Firstly to the two guys ‘hosting’ if you like or acting as MC, you guys were great, credit to you. Its no easy task standing on stage keeping an audience entertained while ‘techincal difficulties’ occur again and again. (honestly it seemed like the frigging tagline for Gamercon “Sorry folks but we’re experiencing some technical issues/difficulties”. I personaly thought the two guys were great, childrens cosplay judging is no easy task I’d assume, and although some of the Cosplays were exceptional, some of the back and forth could have been hella stale if it werent for you two. Well done.
The ‘Retro Zone’ was an awsome addition to the main hall. Sure everybody wants to see the latest and greatest in gaming, but hands down some of the happiest looking people, people who were genuinly enjoying their time here came from that retro section. I myself indulged in the nostalgia picking up an controller and playing some Tomb Raider.
To the cosplayers. You guys are awsome, hands down. I have said quite a bit I’d love to have the bravery of you guys to cosplay and hopefully someday I will, but until then thank you for being so bloody good to look at. Seeing splendid imitations of some of our favourite characters and heroes was awsome, and I’m 22 years old, I can’t imagine how awsome it must have been for some of the younger fans. (I think had i ever seen Lara Croft as a five year old, my head would have exploded). Your hard, tiresome work in costume design is something to be admired.
Okay, so the final thing I wish to mention, and I am sorry if this affected you and your weekend, but shortly before we left the convention center, at around 4pm… There were still people outside who had only just got through those doors. Just…What?!
I thought to myself as we were leaving “this couldnt be right” so I checked out the facebook page to see if anything had been mentioned.
3.45pm- “All queues into the event have been dealt with… if you have had to leave the queue without entering the event we will provide you a full refund”…
Fifteen minutes before 4pm. Nearly six hours after the doors opened, “queues into the event have been dealt with”. Fuck me. Like… Im sorry but what the actual hell! What makes it even worse is that there were then reports coming in of people who looked into getting their refunds because their days had been spoiled due to the ablsolute piss poor organisational skills, being told that full refunds were not available and that “a partial refund” would be given.
I feel truely sorry for those of you who maybe didnt get into the center, whose days had been spoiled. All I can say from someone who was there is this. You missed thee best queue simulation experience of all time.
Nah, jokes aside, Gamercon, you did both, dissappointed and entertained. I of course as an avid gamer and gaming enthusiast, want to see more of this type of thing in Ireland, of course I do I think I speak for many here. But please please, get your shit together for next time.
I know that this text sounded very hateful towards the event but truth be told, those gripes of mine aside, I enjoyed the day that was in it as did my friends and I’m sure it was enjoyable for many there. Thank you for coming to Ireland, thank you for introducing myself, my friends and many others to the gaming convention scene, just please dont leave us with this sour taste in our mouthes, hit us up next year with a ‘Gamercon DLC’, ‘Gamercon 2.0’, we’ll even just class this as ‘The Gamercon Ireland BETA.
See you next year… I hope.
-Chris.C – XiteGaming