I made my way out to Southfield, Michigan to visit the campus of Lawrence Technological University. What awaited me was the newly named LTU Anime Con and Gaming Expo. Prior to the rebranding, the convention focused on anime and cosplay. With a new focus on gaming, I decided to check out what the “new” event was all about. Read on to see my thoughts.
The LTU Anime Con had all of the standard features one would find at an anime event. Panels, gaming, a cosplay contest, and a dealer’s room. There was even a room for karaoke. Honestly, I wish I would see that feature more at events. Guitar Hero and Rockband are not the same thing as karaoke. The oddly named Open Crate area was an art gallery. Initially, I thought that it was a first come, first serve loot crate vendor area based on the name. That was not the case. Since the event was held on a college campus, panels and events were held in either class rooms or small auditoriums. All of the standard features were split between three buildings at the university. Proper signage pointed me in the right direction between locations on campus. While exploring the interior of the buildings were a little confusing at first, it was not terribly difficult to locate an event or panel.
The LTU Anime Con had a modest dealer’s room and artist alley. The main section of the dealer room was located in a beautiful atrium. The natural light descending from the glass ceiling accentuated the nice atmosphere of the convention. Initially, I thought all of the vendors were located in the atrium. That, however, was not the case. Upon exploring, I found more vendors around the corner in the hallways and a few rooms behind the atrium. Essentially, they were hidden from the main area. There were a few hand written signs signaling more vendors around the corner. Next year, more signage would be helpful. Or consolidate all of the vendors to the main area of the atrium.
I would be remiss to leave out the gaming section while writing about a con focused on gaming. I was impressed by the indie developer area filled with game demos. The majority of the developers were students of the Lawrence Tech. A few of the demos I tried gave me a taste of what these talented developers were creating. Feeding Frenzy was a keyboard based pc game where I played as a vampire hunting down knights. I was given a free vial of “blood” after trying the game. Star Dust was an infinite space shooter that was reminiscent of Gradius. I would love to see more conventions give indie developers a chance at showcasing their games.
Another area was devoted to console games. Dance Dance Revolution, Super Smash Bros, Guitar Hero, and what I believe was Mario Party for the N64 were a few of the games available to play. Also, a Sony representative was showing of the Playstation Virtual Reality experience. While the main focus of gaming was centered on video games, there was also an area for table top gaming too.
I would like to say that the LTU Anime Con and Gaming Expo was success. From what I understand, the event ran out of the 600 badges printed. That’s a great turnout for the newly run event. Overall, I had a nice experience at this convention. It has a solid base to build off for next year. I expect a promising future for this event. I will certainly return down the line.
I must give a serious shoutout and thanks to Emily Auten, of EmCat Cosplay. She planned, organized and ran this whole convention by herself. I appreciate all of the hard work that she put in to put on a fun event for people to enjoy. I just hope next year, she builds a team to help run the event. Running things by yourself can be difficult. Nonetheless, excellent job, Emily. Excellent job.