Being able to attend a convention during a holiday weekend is not a common occurrence. Most of the time, conventions are held a short time before or after the weekend of any sort of holiday. This way, everyone can enjoy time with their families before or after heading to the crazy floor of a convention. Every once in a while however, you get a convention that falls on the weekend of a holiday and gets into the spirit of the weekend to enhance the overall experience for attendees. Most of the time the identity of the convention gets overshadowed by the holiday presence and everything ends up becoming a celebration of the holiday, rather than the convention itself. This was definitely not the case for Shadocon 2014, as the Halloween weekend only complimented what could be described as a fantastic and awe-inspiring weekend for con-goers.
Shadocon 2014 took place during Halloween weekend, with a theme for the con being “Dystopia” as an acknowledgment of the holiday. Yet all the events and floor itself wasn’t solely focused on it being Halloween time. Outside of every vendor and area having free candy to give out to attendees on Halloween day, the convention wasn’t stuck up on the holiday. This was a huge plus because con-goers still got the experience of what makes Shadocon a great convention to go to, with Halloween only being the extra frosting on top of a great convention cake. It was a welcomed approach that gave people exactly what they were there for, to have fun at Shadocon itself during Halloween weekend.
The convention itself was spread out between two buildings next to each other in a big resort. The space was wider than the previous year and was a gorgeous site to behold. Outside of the Dealers Room and Panels Hall was an open park that contained outdoor festival activities, such as the aptly themed “Shado Art Online” game, that provided tons of fun for attendees.
Inside the Dealers Room were vendors that sold all kinds of collectibles, original artwork and gems anyone would marvel at. The rooms itself was big enough to hold a bunch of different vendors without feeling compressed or monotonous, as well as hold many of the attendees present throughout the weekend. For those who wanted more digital entertainment or competition, the Game Room had many different tournaments to join, both video game and table-top gaming, and win prizes.
The guests list for 2014 was better than ever for Shaodcon attendees. Popular YouTube and internet personalities such as Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic), Nate Smith (Natewantstobattle), Hunter Hughes (Dookieshed), and the improve comedy group AniRage greeted excited fans the entire weekend while hosting panels for everyone who follows their content.
For many though, the highlight of the weekend was meeting voice actress Trina Nishimura, the voice of Mikasa from Attack on Titan, and the ever-popular and humble Charles Martinet, better known to the world as the Voice of Mario for Nintendo. Whether a fan of new and hip anime or classic video games from childhood, 2014’s guest list at Shadocon was one of the best the convention has had yet. Many childhoods and fandom were catered to and entertained throughout the weekend.
Yet Shadocon shows its best aspects in the main events and presentations that go on during the weekend. This year was no exception with shows that allowed them to put their best feet forward. Shows like the Breakdance Breakdown and Shado Tournament once again bring the best combination of humor, action, surprise and overall fun together to put on great shows that entertained the convention audience ten-fold.
For the mature crowd in the evening each day, the Pleasure Pixels and After Hours Affairs Burlesque Troop provided tantalizing and stimulating shows that had the crowd going wild. After all of this though, attendees enjoyed themselves attending the different dance parties at the end of each day of the weekend. The Halloween Dace Party and Shadocon Rave provided some fun music from DJ Neofaust and DJ Shcruffy/DJ J. Guevara that got everyone up on their feet and joining the crowd for some late night fun. Some people would have preferred a different song or genre selection for the music, but both parties had the crowd going for hours on end.
Yet once again, at Shadocon the big standout of the weekend was the ever popular Final Fantasy Ball. This year’s theme had nothing to do with Halloween, but instead focused on many gamers’ favorite title in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VII. The ball itself is known for audience participation in dancing and feeling a part of the story playing out on stage.
For this year’s show, the cast had a clever idea of pairing up the audience through the use of glow sticks, which in their story signaled certain audience members with a purple glow stick containing the Geostigma infection. The only way to be healed from the Geostigma was to dance and interact with others holding a green glow stick. It was a neat and clever idea that held true to what makes the Final Fantasy Ball so much fun to experience and continues to make it stand out as the best show amongst other events, both at Shadocon and at other conventions. The whole experience at the Final Fantasy Ball, which was only made more special through a surprise proposal and dance to “Waltz to the Moon” from Final Fantasy 8, was super enjoyable and filled with tons of raw emotion for everyone there.
Shadocon 2014 provided a great convention experience that everyone enjoyed. The special guests in attendance were some of the best they have gotten yet, the main events and panels were highly entertaining and the convention itself ran smoothly throughout the entire Halloween weekend with little to no compromising issues. Everything at Shadocon 2014 was another leap forward from the previous year and fully immersed attendees in the best aspects of the convention. Those who were not able to attend will definitely want to begin planning for 2015 because with each successive year, Shadocon just keeps getting better and better. One can only wait patiently in anticipation for what amazing things will come next for Shadocon.
Were you at Shadocon 2014? Got something else to say about the convention weekend? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts about Shadocon this year. Don’t forget to share our review with everyone and follow us on Twitter @TheKoalition!