Pros and Cons of the Cons I’ve Been To

Convention IconConvention July 31, 2019

Some of the best conventions have so much stuff going on, it’s hard to figure out what to do next.

As of this post, I’ve been to 14 different conventions. Thought it might be useful to do a breakdown of the pros and cons of each of these conventions. Because much of this site is cosplay focused, I’ve also including a ranking of how much cosplay there is. These conventions are ordered based on which one I would recommend the most to my readers, from least recommended to most.

14. Kraken Con (Oakland Convention Center)

Pro:

  • Relative to the number of people, there was a fairly decent proportion of cosplayers

Cons:

  • Most of the space in the convention center was empty
  • The convention is now defunct

Cosplay Rating: 5/10

13. Bent Con (Burbank Marriott Convention Center)

Pros:

  • Good and relevant programming
  • Small number of attendees meant your cosplay would easily stand out

Cons:

  • Showroom floor was tiny
  • Not enough to do to fill an entire day

Cosplay Rating: 7/10

12. Anime LA (Anaheim Convention Center)

Pro:

  • Run during a time of the year when there were many other conventions going on

Cons:

  • Seemed like, at the time, they were trying to be bigger than they actually had staffing for
  • There was a lot of space that wasn’t utilized

Cosplay Rating: 6/10

11. PAX Unplugged (Pennsylvania Convention Center)

Pros:

  • Love it for tabletop gaming
  • Giant hall for testing out new games
  • The market downstairs and Chinatown are great for food

Cons:

  • Not really a buying convention. PAX Unplugged seems to get a lot of demo-ers.
  • For being a PAX convention, I was surprised to see all of a handful of cosplayers

Cosplay Rating: 1/10

10. Gen Con (Indiana Convention Center)

Photo by chained_images

Pros:

  • The focus is, of course, on tabletop gaming, but there are a whole bunch of things to do for all ages and geeky interests
  • The focus on cosplay programming was particularly strong
  • Good food is a short walk away

Cons:

  • Unless you really like games, you’re probably going to feel like a fish out of water
  • Housing can be hard to come by
  • Flights in are more limited since the airport is not huge

Cosplay Rating: 3/10

9. Gaymer X (San Jose Convention Center)

Pros:

  • Focus on marginalized communities means more people feel welcome
  • There was a large focus on showcasing all types of gaming
  • Cosplay was a central focus of the convention

Cons:

  • Irregular location and time of year
  • The convention is now defunct

Cosplay Rating: 6/10

8. Anime Revolution (Vancouver Convention Centre)

Photo by gotovan

Pros:

  • Beautiful convention center located along Vancouver Harbour makes for stunning photo opportunities
  • The convention center is huge relative to the number of attendees, making it easy to walk around
  • There was some really interesting, and not so cheesy, programming

Cons:

  • Cheap and good food is a few minutes away
  • The exhibit hall was medium sized and took about 1.5 hours to go around

Cosplay Rating: 6/10

7. Silicon Valley Comic-Con (San Jose Convention Center)

Pros:

  • Located at a nice convention center in terms of facilities and access to food
  • Lots of bigwigs when it comes to science and entertainment
  • The exhibit hall had a little Maker Faire vibe

Cons:

  • First time meant lots of problems with lines and technology
  • VIP versus regular ticketing creates a weird them-versus-us system

Cosplay Rating: 6/10

6. Fanime (San Jose Convention Center)

Pros:

  • Notorious for having line problems in the past, current years have been a breeze
  • Dozens of meetups means you can find a cosplay meetup that interests you

Cons:

  • Panels are quirky (this may be a plus for some)
  • Night time programming doesn’t seem as special as it probably could be

Cosplay Rating: 8/10

5. D23 (Anaheim Convention Center)

Photo by mooshuu

Pros:

  • By Disney
  • Tons of Disney cosplay and exclusive Disney content

Cons:

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Only runs every other year
  • Parking and food can be expensive

Cosplay Rating: 8/10

4. WonderCon (Anaheim Convention Center)

Pros:

  • Organized by the same people as San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC)
  • When you take out all the Hollywood out of SDCC, you get fewer people and higher concentration of cosplayers
  • Earlier in the year

Cons:

  • Parking and food can be expensive (although they do have many food truck options)
  • Can take a while to go up and down floors

Cosplay Rating: 8/10

3. Anime Expo (Los Angeles Convention Center)

Photo by coolmikeo

Pros:

  • Huge event that spans multiple wings of the LA convention center
  • Hundreds, if not thousands, of cosplayers from anime and games
  • Dozens of meetups ranging from the most obscure anime to catch-alls like Nintendo
  • Wide assortment of activities and things to see for all levels of anime and gaming fans

Cons:

  • The temperature is often pretty hot (to sweltering in some cases)
  • There aren’t easily accessible places to eat, so you’ll often dine on convention food or food truck fare
  • This convention is notorious for having a #LineCon the first few days

Cosplay Rating: 8/10

2. Comic-Con International (San Diego Convention Center)

Photo by patloika

Pros:

  • Lots of movie-based, cartoon, and comic book cosplay
  • Can literally take a day or two to explore the exhibit hall
  • The programming is super interesting
  • Outside events and quick access to Gaslamp District mean there even more stuff to do and eat outside the convention center

Cons:

  • Notoriously hard to get a badge for
  • Getting housing is equally as difficult
  • Everything is a line

Cosplay Rating: 6/10

1. PAX West (Washington State Convention Center)

Pros:

  • Leans more on video games, but still a huge focus on all types of gaming
  • Lots of gaming cosplay including many more obscure characters
  • Easy to walk around and there are a bunch of food options nearby

Cons:

  • One of the cooler conventions I go to
  • Same weekend as many other large cosplay conventions

Cosplay Rating: 7/10

Hoped this helped. If you have any questions or have a convention that I should check out, let me know!

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