In December 2011 I attended the London Gaming Con, a gaming convention that took place in the Rocket Complex in Holloway Road, hosted by the AniméLeague team. I had such a good time (you can read more about the shenanigans that went down here) I decided to volunteer to help out next time it happened. As things turned out it was later amalgamated with their London Animé Con event, becoming the London Animé and Gaming Convention. I said I would still help out, as long as my efforts were restricted to the gaming section. The organisers said that was fine and, thus, I spent the weekend just gone working at the LAGC as part of the VG (aka video games) team.
3DSBlessed has coverage of this event from an attendee’s perspective on it’s way, but I thought readers might also be interested to read about what it’s like to actually work at a convention, so I thought I’d put together this little, unashamedly bloggy post. Enjoy!
I arrived slightly early, so helped the main con team move some bits about. I heard two guys talking about gaming consoles, so (correctly) assumed these must be my team mates. I introduced myself to them, and it turned out these two (Damo and theBurkerKing) would prove to my managers throughout the weekend. About 8:30, we had the team briefing, which was just a little speech from Mike Towers about what to expect, plus a Health & Safety talk from the venue organisers.
After that I made my way to the VG section, which was a large lecture theatre. My first task was to plug controllers and adapters into consoles. Doing the controllers wasn’t a problem at all. As for the adapters, I was able to marry up most of them to the consoles, having owned the majority of them at some point. I did get stressed when it came to finding a SNES one, however, as I’d never owned one. And I forgot what the Mega Drive adapter looked like, so mixed it up with the Master System’s!
A little later it was time for the con to start. Punters started coming in. We weren’t quite ready to roll (I think some of our team’s equipment had gotten mixed up with one of the other team’s or something) so myself and a couple of lads on the team were needed to act as security. This involved telling the guests that our side of the room/section wasn’t ready yet. At first this was pretty easy, but by the end the room was becoming pretty rammed, so it was a relief when we could finally let people through. As this had gone on for about an hour and involved alot of talking and concentration I found myself a bit knackered at the end. So I skipped off for a well-earned lunch at that point.
When I came back things were a bit easier. All I needed to do was keep an eye on things plus make sure the guests were aware I was there. Not a hard task. I juggled this with some chilled-out gaming (I recall playing Sega Rally on the Saturn using a boss official steering wheel).
Sunday morning I had the hump about something for the first hour or so. I won’t go into it now as, in hindsight I can see I was being abit daft (plus it was partly because I was starting to feel the tiredness). But, nevertheless I had the hump. What brought me out of it was going upstairs to get some chairs and hearing Brentalfloss’ ‘Final Fantasy Classic WITH LYRICS’. Now, Brentalfloss had been a guest of honour at the aformentioned London Gaming Con, and meeting him had been one of the absolute highlights of the con. Hearing his voice brought back to me the reason I had decided to volunteer for this in the first place. It was quite an emotional moment actually (God bless ya Brentalfloss ;_;).
Completely rejuvenated, I skipped downstairs and got on with things. There wasn’t as much setting up to do in the VG section this time, as everything was already plugged in. All I needed to do was straighten the tablecloths and generally clean up. About 12 noon one of my managers told me to have a chill day and come back at 6 to help them pack up. I was quite surprised at the time as I hadn’t expected that, but it worked out well as it happened. Mainly because it allowed me to take part in the con’s Speed-Dating event! Quite a funny little experience. Especially as I already knew half the lads I met!
After this I generally walked about talking to people and playing games (got to try Duck Tales Remastered finally. Still need to get that… loved the GameBoy version back in the day!). Myself and Gary Kimmelman (a lad I know from DS:London, and also one of my Speed-Dating partners!) got up to a few shenanigans, the best one involving a certain Mario Paint drawing. I would tell you all about it, but I’d probably get into trouble!
At 5:50 I went back to help the VG team pack up. My first task was acting as security once again. Then came the packing. Gary had previously acted as a staff member at numerous AniméLeague events, so stuck around and helped us tidy up, which really helped. He also made fun of my inability to fold a table cloth. The scoundrel!
I was sort of dreading the tidying up bit as I was worried I would be exhausted (Saturday was the first full day of work I’d done since March 2013, so I wasn’t sure I’d get through Sunday!). But in the end it was actually really fun! I felt so buzzed I could have gone on all night! Gary stuck around most of the time, cheering me on and generally making me laugh. Staff members from various teams were coming in and out the whole time, and it was really nice talking to people who were in the same boat and generally getting to know people. Also some awesome dude came around with pizza about 8pm. I can’t remember your name but : thank you so much!
- When, on the Sunday, my manager was talking about being tired I said I was too, and he replied “yea but I’m older than you”. Turned out he was my age! Love that people always assume I’m younger!
- All the sweets and fizzy drinks the staff team got for free (they really helped keep us all going!)
- Getting to try some interesting gaming gems
- Getting to know the wonderful AniméLeague team
- Seeing loads of awesome people I knew (Jake from Capcom, Roob from GAME, Lindsay from RetroCollect plus many others)
- Noticing 3DSBlessed business cards posted around the venue (an example of Cyburn using his initiative!)
- One of my managers describing me as “exceptionally competent” at the very end. Best compliment ever!
- Being treated with more respect than usual by attendees and security staff + getting to access all areas
I’m knackered today, but feel really satisfied. Really glad I volunteered to help out at the London’s Anime and Gaming Convention, experiencing the con from a staff member’s was absolutely immense and something I would recommend to anyone (as it happens AniméLeague are looking for more volunteers, so if you’re interested by sure to hit them up). Thanks to the staff team for making me feel so welcome, and for a great weekend in general.
And before anyone asks : yes it was a wonderful place to get StreetPass hits! Was particularly impressed that my Legend of Zelda : Link Between Worlds StreetPass slots filled up, as these are usually pretty hard to get…
The official London Anime and Gaming Convention website : www.londonanimecon.com