Another exciting gaming related event to happen in Toronto the summer of 2015 was the first instalment of ESN eSports Network’s Good Game Con. We didn’t know anything about it nor ESN, but the promise of Kripp, Hai and LoL swag was all it took to sell us 4 $70 VIP tickets. When Hai had to cancel and was replaced by Scarra & Meteos we were even more excited to go.
Being VIP, we came early for the Scarra & Meteos meet & greet, and were immediately disturbed by the serious lack of parking situation. Coming early was a blessing, as I have no idea how far away we’d have ended up parking otherwise. While we approached and even when we got inside we found tons of volunteers who wanted nothing to do with us. The front counter was full of fresh pizzas, there was no indication of where to go, and no one seemed to be on crowd control or traffic duty. I spoke with one, then another, finally the third volunteer had some idea of where we should go.
So we got admitted and were given our swag bags, and were immediately confronted by a line. It basically blocked the entrance. We gathered that was to meet Scarra and Meteos, but it was just a guess since it was still disorganized. So we waited and admired the swag shops being set up, discussing to ourselves what we wanted to buy. Scarra and Meteos were very cool, they had a great sense of humour and seemed to like meeting the fans, then we found ourselves standing around not sure what to do next. Mike was registered for the Hearthstone tournament but they wouldn’t accept people yet. Oh well, I guess we’ll play some League.
The venue itself was quite charming, but it was obviously ill equipped to handle an event of this size. We became increasingly more eager to leave as the charm faded. Perhaps it’s because we were obviously the older people in the crowd, but I’d like to think that even when I was 15 and attending my first cons in the early 2000s that my standards would have been higher than questionable bathrooms with no hand soap, choppy “gaming PCs” with non functioning mice, and falling duct taped makeshift drapes. But to my surprise a lot of people attending were much younger than that! I’ve attended many a hot summer event as well, but never did I see temperatures inside soar to exceed outside. Especially in late July with temperatures around 30 degrees and humidity so thick you could cut with a knife. There was no relief and no escape, the air was hot, humid and stale. Well, thank god for Meltdown serving ice cold beer. I certainly bought way more than I wanted to just because it was so damned refreshing.
Once hearthstone opened up and Mike was at his machine, we waited patiently as more and more desktops filled up. Then we waited. And waited. And waited! No instructions, no direction, no announcement to get started, no one had any idea what was going on. People around us were asking us, people were messaging each other they were supposed to be facing if they knew what to do, everybody was just expecting they were going to get told. Frustrated, I went to the front to get some answers and received a flippant response of “what do you mean you don’t know what to do?” As if it were so obvious. “It’s not just me,” I responded, “nobody knows what to do. At least no one sitting around us. So you might want to tell people how your event works.” Well, within a matter of moments volunteers were everywhere talking to every contestant and finally the tournament was underway.
Unfortunately Mike did not get far in the tournament, but we had a total blast rooting (silently) from behind him. That was certainly the highlight of the weekend for me, as it was the most fun.
After that, the event was rather stale. Scarra & Meteos played a lot of filler games on stage. We were delighted to “run into” Kripp by accident, as he was in the crowd just socializing with everybody. It was rather amazing to be chatting about something and literally have Kripp just join in like an old friend. We adored it. Certainly getting more swag was another major reason for me to stay. I wanted a poro so freaking bad. It wasn’t worth playing League because the computers sucked, and it wasn’t worth watching LCS because the venue sucked. We all agreed we’d had some fun but would rather be home at this point.
I don’t even remember why we ended up going to day 2, but certainly we were in no rush to get there this time. Adam brought his own mouse this time so playing League was way more enjoyable, but he kept getting matched up with people much lower rank than him. He still had fun playing, and we had a blast watching the kids sitting next to him respond to his Diamond rank, but we didn’t stay long. We chatted with Hotform for awhile, who used to be in the same guild as Frank, but while we were watching the Hearthstone tournament finals I witnessed a young girl bump into a volunteer and it escalated quickly into what looked like a near physical altercation. I found myself incredibly uncomfortable with what I had just witnessed and wanted to go home.
Overall it was a fun event for a demographic that I just don’t think I fit into, which ended on an unsettling note. Functioning bathrooms and a comfortably air conditioned hygienic environment is a minimum requirement for my dollar. I’m just old and can’t be bothered anymore. Conventions in the early 2000s were rough enough for me, and they were miles above this event. It’s a shame though! Because events like these weren’t really around when I was younger, so I’m certainly envious of this generation.