Monday, October 5, 2015

Jaded Gamer Diary - Archon part two

Let's tackle part 2 of how to run a convention like a dumbass brought to you by the fine folks at Archon. This time we'll talk about their first big show of disdain for the Facebook group in the fight over peacebonding and prop weapons.

Okay I can see the reasons for weapon policies and all that. Especially at conventions where there is quite a bit of drinking going on later in the night. But sometimes the people at the top let the control go to their head which trickles down to the people on the floor.

Things I've personally seen with my own eyes. Telling a person with a leg brace that he could have a walking cane. Going after people who were carrying around umbrellas even though it was raining outside and the con takes place in both a hotel and a con center in which you have to walk between the two. When brought up to staff they hand wave these things off and act like you are making this up. But then they get to walk around with whatever the fuck they want with no problem. They make the rules but never, NEVER, follow them themselves.

Eventually things started getting to a louder roar when they were peacebonding a toy ray gun (small pistol sized) that a child was carrying around. Made him strap it to his outfit so he couldn't hold it. Why? Because he MIGHT run into the art room unattended and he MIGHT damage something and the parents MIGHT not want to pay for it. Yes they basically came and accused the parents of being basically bad parents on this. Nothing was left to be held in the hand. Tried to make a guy in a full Ghostbusters uniform strap his working prop PKE meter into a little belt holster so he couldn't pull it out. Why? Because he may hit somebody with it. Yeah right whatever. Dicks.

Then suddenly ComiCon appeared on the horizon with them opening up a St. Louis date. Archon sat back unworried and said they'll have a promotional desk there. All was cool. Until all the cosplayers started talking on the group about their experience at ComiCon.

Peacebonding and prop weapon policies super lax compared to Archon. They could pull out their fake guns, swords, whatever and pose with them for pictures (at Archon that could get you kicked out because it's not peacebonded on you). The staff was mixed in with them, talking, taking pictures and enjoying the whole thing with them. Then came the big line that made Archon staff shit themselves a little.

“I think I'm just going to focus on ComiCon every year and forget about going to Archon”

A line that was joined in by many of the costuming folks. Tired of the constant harassment by the staff they finally had another option. Many also started asking about who they need to get into touch with to get a refund on their preorder passes. Oh shit, cosplayers were making up a good chunk of Archon attendees, and now they were talking about leaving.

Staff FINALLY paid attention. Pissed off over this all coming up on the group (though never acknowledging the fact that they never gave a damn before) they started to back peddle rapidly. Citing that they needed to talk with their insurance providers and a lawyer before making any official statement to soon.

Well the continued well of unsatisfied folks continued to press that they either wanted a refund or a policy change before the next con date. So finally the staff, gritting their teeth the whole way, caved in. Relaxing on the policy a lot in certain areas, especially during the day but not at night when there are a lot of drunks about. But they also added in the veiled threat that these rules would be enforced more strictly without much of a chance of appeal.

This was the first big blowup that spawned from the fan community for the con. All made possible by them all being in the same place to communicate with each other instantly and easily. But this change put a big chip on the shoulder of another group, some of whom decided to be complete assholes because of it. Security. But the big blow up over them and the second fight from the Facebook group that angered staff will be covered in a near future installment of Jaded Gamer Diary. Can't use everything all at once can I?

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