Conventions never really…felt like something I’d enjoy doing. Crowds of people, loudness everywhere, difficulty in navigation, pains to manage, and sore legs did not sound like an experience that was worthwhile. I experienced all of these at some point or another, and truth be told…it was incredible. MomoCon was an experience I’ll never forget; my first con, my first meetup with people I only knew from internet interactions, my first time helping with a panel, etc.
But it wasn’t a solo experience. Me, my coworker and friend Kori-Maru, and a twenty four pack of bottled water had a mission: do something cool. Something we could return to the site and say “we bring you news!” or “we bring you neat things!”. Unfortunately, SEGA was not at MomoCon in any official capacity this year. So we had to rely on the old fan community to do something worthwhile. Hit the jump to see what we did.
Thanks to this being the rare opportunity of having two reporters with two wildly different sets of experiences, this article will be split up between things I did and things Kori-Maru did. In general, Kori handled more “business” type things, having volunteered with Momocon staff and handling getting interviews as well as managing meetups. I, on the other hand, assumed the role of ‘average con-goer.’ I wandered by myself for most of the event, taking in the sights, the sounds, some of the activities, etc. These two perspectives will hopefully paint the full picture of Momocon, as presented by SEGAbits.
The main thing I took away from MomoCon is this: cons are weird. Weird in a good way. And also weird in a bad way. Bottled water was four dollars from a vending machine. I saw a man in a Zilla mask beat a guy in Mortal Kombat. I saw several variations on Deadpool cosplay. I saw a huge gathering of Osomatsu-san cosplayers. The only nearby diner was a Waffle House, which was more packed at two A.M. than at four P.M. A complicated walk through a hotel lead to a food court, with a giant dystopic looking monitor playing ads.
MomoCon was a weird place. Even weirder is that its strange sense of surreality was extremely easy to get used to. Through a blend of figuring things out on my own, and listening to advice given through random bloggers, I at least came prepared. Note to any con newbies reading this: bring your own water bottles, and bring your own food. Con food is very, very expensive, and I don’t want to repeat the horror of four dollar bottled water. For most of my stay, I subsisted on a blend of cheesy chips and trail mix, only occasionally getting actual cooked food. And I was alright with that.
But cons aren’t just walking around and gawking at things, there’s also a lot of hands-on experience. The game hall, for instance, was a friggin’ gorgeous place for me to be. Upon walking in, you are thrust into this incredible arcade of mostly Japanese imports. If you like rhythm games, MomoCon has you spoiled for choice; everything from Bemani classic franchises and their knock-offs, up to a weird rhythm game/rail shooter combo that I could only stare at. SEGA’s presence here was slim, the only two games I could find being Dengenki Bunko and a driving game. Both were fun, but it’s disappointing that such a big name in the Japanese arcade business had such a small presence. That wasn’t all in the arcade though; off to the side was a cluster of classic American arcade games, starting chronologically with Missile Command and ending with Mortal Kombat II. There were even a couple pinball machines!
A walk away from that brought you to the console arcade. Televisions with modern consoles hooked up and ready to go with games of nearly every genre lined the floor in three rows. Single-player, co-op, competitive, everything. It was here I finally got to experience Doom ’16 with a cheering crowd of people behind me, got to be chastised by a middle schooler in real life in Call of Duty, and got to kick Kori’s ass in Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing (shortly before he kicked my ass). Fighting games dominated this space, and as I’m not a big fan of the genre, I didn’t hang out here much.
No, the place I hung out in the game hall the most was the indie games section. This was where indie games of all dev times were showcased: pre-alphas, betas, near-complete, even one that had come out in full months ago. But the majority of my time here was not spent on playing the games; it was spent talking to the people who made them. I have an admitted fascination with the creative process of video games, knowing how they’re made and all, so being able to talk directly to directors was an absolutely amazing experience. This was solely a fan thing, I didn’t end up interviewing anyone, an opportunity I sorely missed.
My favorite game in the section was a Quiver of Crows, a relatively simple horizontal shoot-em-up in the vein of R-Type. Unlike most shooters though, you aren’t bound to a scrolling screen movement, nor are you bound to a single hit or weapon. The crow can take many hits, switch weapons on the fly, moves freely, and even has two different bombs! It was fantastic, just a ton of fun, and controlling the crow just felt good. But my favorite dev there was Ben Miller, lead developer of Planet Diver. Me and him talked at great lengths, multiple times, about his game as well as the general inspirations he had. I regret not getting an interview after learning he was a really big SEGA fan. He was simply a joy to speak to, I sincerely hope he does well with Slime-san, Fabraz’ latest game in development.
The rest of the game hall was nothing to write home to for me. There was laser tag, which I didn’t do; there was a section for tabletop RPG’s, all of the sessions being constantly full and filled with neckbeards; there was a board game section, which I took part in once with a game called Zombie Panic with a real stick in the mud who had to figure the game out with me; and finally there was an entire section dedicated to just Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I stuck around what I knew, although I wouldn’t say the other sections weren’t a ton of fun for the people who went for them.
All my time wasn’t just spent playing games and talking to devs though. A lot more of it was spent just…walking around. Almost all the activities for MomoCon were in this one place, meaning someone going solo had little reason to leave. Unless of course you brought money, in which case the dealer’s hall and artist’s alley were a short walk away. Opening early and closing early, this was a place to buy a little bit of everything. Pocky, plushies, figures, prints, manga, comics, and of course, games.
There was, as expected, a lot of deal-searching to be had. For instance, two stores near the front were overcharging heavily on things stores deeper in had fairer prices for. One was a game store, charging exorbitant prices on old and new games, much higher than retail stores and much higher than online prices. Though…that might just be my sense of pricing being off. A store much deeper and smaller had games at significantly lower and significantly fairer prices. The trade off was that they had a much smaller selection, and very few cartridge games.
The other store sold plushies, lots of plushies. Pokemon plushies, to be precise. I’m not much of a Pokemon fan, none of the games have really thrilled me, but I’ll be damned if I don’t think Torchic isn’t the cutest little bird ever. They were selling a few Torchics, but the prices were just far too high for me. Buying one would’ve spent about half of what I had on me. Going deeper in though, I found the exact same plushie in the exact same condition for several dollars less. You can guess what store I bought from.
But now for the really big one: the Sonic 25th Fan Panel, as hosted by Matt “TailsChannel” Mannheimer, corresponded by SEGAbits. Kori can tell you a little more about the inner workings, though that’s not to say I wasn’t involved. I “assisted” in helping with the panel slides (by which I mean I suggested places to put a meme), and I spoke into the mic a few times. But I wasn’t a major panelist, despite really wanting to be, and any time Kori and Matt talked to each other prior to the panel, I was off to the side or wandering the con halls. I did come out of it with a nice Shadow plushie though.
It was a pretty fun time, though I question the fans who attended. Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic CD getting such big cheers? Are we still stuck in 2008?
In all sincerity, the panel was the really big highlight for me. High energy, lots of nice people, fun times, and memes. Which is exactly what MomoCon was: a weird, high-energy, fun, memerific time. Can’t wait for next year.
Hello SEGAbits readers, Kori-Maru here, back again for another convention report sporting my usual Akira Yuki cosplay with assistance from fellow SEGAbits writer Moody, as we cover this year’s MomoCon and all of its amazing events. It was unfortunate that SEGA was unable to attend MomoCon this year as they’re having a busy year focusing on releasing multiple titles and preparing to celebrate Sonic’s 25th Anniversary. However, Moody and I did our best to cover MomoCon with all the SEGA related stuff that happened at the convention.
One of the panels I attended on Friday was hosted by BrainScratchComms, as they played through Streets of Rage 2 during a livestream for charity. It was enjoyable to watch as one of the members of BSC, Johnny, was giving facts about Streets of Rage 2, such as mentioning the censorship of Blaze Fielding’s skirt to the good ol’ one frame combo trick to beat bosses without any hassle. He even gave a shout out to SEGAbits and told the audience to ask us any questions about Streets of Rage. It was a great panel to attend.
The next day, Moody and I were supposed to conduct small interviews with voice actors that worked on Sonic the Hedgehog and SEGA related media, such as Cree Summers (Sonic SatAM) and Steven
Blum (Valkyria Chronicles). However, they kept cancelling (Moody’s note: they also gave us wrong info about when their interviews would be, at least twice). So we both decided to walk around the freeplay gaming area and dealers room. We bumped into Tracy Yardley at the artist alley section doing what he does best and looked at some good deals (Moody’s note: me and you have two very different definitions of ‘good deals’) on a couple of SEGA games for the Dreamcast.
Almost forgot to mention that Matt from Tails Channel showed up at MomoCon as a guest, and wanted me to help host the Sonic 25th Anniversary Fan Panel. A couple nights before we’d finalized everything for the panel, Matt and I played a few matches of Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax Ignition. I’ll say this, he’s a good player and almost had me in a run for my money in the last few rounds. Same goes for Moody after we played Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and hoped to get a victory rematch with Jacky Bryant (Moody’s note: billy hatcher op sega pls nerf).
Sonic 25th Anniversary Fan Panel was absolutely amazing and it was an honor helping Matt with it. It was filled with Sonic/SEGA trivia, with Moody and my awesome friend who cosplayed as NiGHTS assisting giving away prizes, our thoughts of past Sonic games over the years (still surprised how Sonic Riders Zero Gravity and Black Knight got so much praise), dank memes, announcing the final version of Big’s Big Fishing Adventure 3 and Mike Pollock as a special guest for Sonic SEGA Fan Jam 2016, plus more. You can find all the details about the event through here. We also spotted a couple of SEGA cosplayers at the panel including a couple as the infamous creator of Sonichu. Even though I am a bit saddened that the Ulala cosplayers we spotted on the convention floor didn’t make it, we managed to take one awesome photo to conclude an amazing panel. (Moody’s note: I look so friggin’ awkward in this picture…]
After the panel ended, Moody and I’ve played Virtua Cop 2 at the hotel until we were tired. (Moody’s note: we also had egg sandwhiches from Waffle House, which I had to deal with not agreeing with me for a couple days after.)
Until the Fan Jam, I will be attending New York Comic Con this year to cover more SEGA news with another convention report. Hope to meet anyone attending NYCC and I hope you enjoy the pictures we took at MomoCon.Ad: