Geeks abound at this year’s iteration of MomoCon, Tech’s own convention for Japanese, comics and gaming cultures. Tech Square’s buildings, sidewalks, open spaces and restaurants were packed with attendees and costumed aficionados. Over 10,000 attended the event, including several hundreds of dedicated volunteer staff, artists and panelists provided a slew of events over the March 12–13 weekend.
The event is located in the entire bottom two floors of the Georgia Tech Hotel, most of the College of Management, a floor of the Biltmore Hotel and all the space in between. The convention covers a broad range of cultures, allowing the event to expand its variety of activities and improve its popularity.
However, the most noticeable feature was cosplay: fans of all cultures, especially anime and video games, dressing up as characters in often homemade costumes. MomoCon hosts the Artists Alley spaces in the Georgia Tech Hotel for artists to display their work and sell prints, sketches, clothes, crafts and flair.
This year, however, their new location could not hold all the artists in attendance, with tables available only first-come-first-served and leaving some artists without table space.
Rachel Keslensky, an HCI grad student and author/artist of webcomic Last Res0rt about an alien vampire on a reality show, joined two comics panels: the Webcomics Panel and the Writing for Comics panel. Panels and workshops are hosted by technical professionals and artists like Keslensky, who offer both discussion and educational formats in subjects like how to run role playing games, cosplay tips and comic writing.
“Panels talking about how to make better, lighter, cheaper costumes were run by famous cosplaying names Meredith Placko and Fev!, and writers and workers from Turner hosted panels about their cartoon block Toonami and Adult Swim’s Venture Brothers,” said Danny Erbentraut, president of Anime O-Tekku and head of staff at MomoCon.
In the Biltmore Hotel, the Dealers Room attracted a huge population with the line on Saturday extending outside and around the corner. Merchants selling comic books, figurines, kimonos and more peddled their wares tirelessly until nearly all of it was gone by Sunday.
Throughout the con, there is a constant entertainment lineup to counter any downtime in other activities and to provide a relief from walking around all day. Extraordinary Contraptions—a local steampunk rock band—returned this year as the musical feature, anime from 1973 to the present plays continuously during the day and overnight and karaoke jams on well into the night.
On the gaming side of MomoCon, card and board gamers had a space to play games casually with access to a game library, and tournaments for Yugioh! and Magic the Gathering lasted all day. Video gamers met in possibly the hottest rooms of the con, mashing their way through games like Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Super Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Saturday afternoon.
Finally, Pocky Stops at the College of Management and Georgia Tech Hotel sold these ubiquitous Japanese candies to feed everyone who could not secure a table at the overcrowded restaurants.