Kitacon Karnival 2016 – Timlah’s Review
This past weekend, we spent three whole days being in Kitacon Karnival 2016 – But what did I think of the overall event? Join Timlah as we look through the good, the bad and the interesting during the convention.
Kitacon Karnival 2016 has come and gone, but the memories I’ve taken away from it will last a lifetime. That’s no exaggeration, even though I was heavily unwell through most of the event, I didn’t let my illness defeat me. No siree, I went to panels, I spoke to people, I took plenty of pictures and I got some useful feedback on the website from people there. Smaller than usual, this year’s Kitacon was host to 900 attendees. The big convention comes later this year in the form of AmeCon, where we’ll be returning to GeekOut South-West’s ‘origins’, as it were.
So let me talk you through the events I attended, things that went right and things that didn’t quite work out. Before I continue, let me start by saying that this event was truly brilliant. If I were feeling better, I’d have done more panels, I’d have bought more things and I’d possibly have even bid on the charity auction. Alas, coughing, wheezing and so on just meant I wasn’t up for it. I was well enough to take pictures, however!
Friday: The Opening Ceremony
It’s tradition at a convention to have an opening and a closing ceremony. During the opening ceremony, the room was packed to the brim with people who are willing and eager to begin their convention weekends. We would hear from Kitacon’s Co-Chair Ian, who would be our host for the ceremony and would help to set the theme for the event. Dressed in a sort of ringmasters garb, he would bring important information to us, such as emergency contacts, what charities we were supporting and what was going on throughout the weekend.
One of the funniest moments came in the form of two of the members of the committee, who came out dressed in safety gear and would shout out “NOT SAFE” and “SAFE” to people, to really drive the point home. It was effective, as throughout the whole event, people were shouting this out to one another and people generally were really well behaved out of respect to the convention and the venue. This weekend would see us sharing the hotel with other events, so it was imperative that this year’s proceedings went off smoothly. The highly humorous segment helped to keep people on point this year.
Relaxing Around The Hotel
We decided that on the Friday we would keep pretty relaxed and just enjoy the event for what it was. There were some changes to the schedule, which is normal for a convention. The greatest thing about the venue is just how open plan everything is. We spent most of our time relaxing in the main bar area, where we would talk about the events of the day, see all of the awesome costumes (See the Masquerade pictures here[LINK: Timlah’s Gallery]) and play some board games I had taken up with me. From Cards Against Humanity (An always welcome addition to a convention), to Sushi Go and Exploding Kittens, we had people join us for a few games throughout the days.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Joel right now; It’s always good catching up face to face and he’s always highly entertaining to be around. He started up an RPG at the end of the night of Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf, which pits you and your team against Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf himself. It’s worked out at 5hp plus an extra 3hp per player. There was 6 of us victims, all of us were able to have an item of our choice. For me, I had a single use wacky wavy inflatable man like you see outside of used car dealerships in America. Everyone survived with Jake saving everyone by being the bravest in facing Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf. I, meanwhile, almost managed to kill myself off with my own wacky wavy inflatable man. Typical!
Friday Night: The Party
Kitacon is awesome and its parties are always a blast. We came in at the end, between midnight to 3am, where we enjoyed the setlist being performed by DJ LastKnight, the chair of Kitacon. The music was really good and was a proper mix of everything dancey. The lighting in the room was awesome and I even went all dressed up, even though my costume had fallen apart before I had even gotten into registration! No matter how hard I work on something, I just can’t seem to catch a break!
Whilst the party was awesome, this was sadly the only one we attended. On the Sunday night, we tried to join in the party, but we were too late. It seems there was a mistake on the schedule and we aimed to join the party too late. The last nights party ended at 1am, rather than the 2am published time. This might have been something that changed live, or perhaps it was just a simple typo. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to experience all of the parties, but Joel took to the metal party on Saturday night. Kitacon is well known for its parties – It prides itself on being the party convention and for good reason: The party setup was superb!
The Great Kita Panel Show
The first big panel I went to was called The Great Kita Panel Show, a collection of classic game shows that had been put together for contestants in the panel to take part in. The game shows were varied, including a hilarious game they put together called Dub Step, where they had to provide the voices for a clip of an anime. One of the scenes during Dub Step was between Gendo and Shinji, which spawned off many jokes about Shinji being whiny and Gendo wanting Shinji to do as he says! The second scene was between Vegeta and Frieza, who seemed to be having a problem with dealing with the correct forms. Frieza kept boasting about having not even done his final form yet, to which Vegeta agreed was his favourite because it was a gold form. It’s funnier if you know about the film DragonBall Z: Resurrection of ‘F’.
Other games included Would I Lie To You? Where the contestants had to come up with an adequate description of what a word was. Some of the descriptions were beyond baffling, but then again, the words they were given were Japanese terms that the contestants had to create some rather interesting descriptions for. The audience were able to somewhat participate with this, by occasionally calling out answers. If nothing else though, this was a highly amusing panel with some really funny and talented people.
Let’s Play Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
We knew what we wanted from the title of this game: We wanted to see people from the audience have a chance to play the game with others and the panel delivered exactly this. Moderated by two of Kitacons committee members, they would grab groups, or individuals to come to the stage and experience the game for themselves. I was feeling a bit too under the weather to play, but it was great fun to watch people trying to solve the puzzles using the bomb defusal manual they were provided. Even Mr. B ended up having a go at trying to defuse bombs.
Joel had his go and Jake was lucky enough to get two goes as he was called up for being such an expert on the game. On his second call up, he managed to complete a hard difficulty bomb with other experts. This was highly entertaining and fun to watch throughout. You can see Joel’s attempt at defusing a bomb on our very own GeekOut Tube. Joel also plugged the website before he begun and so I naturally let out a silly cheer, because that’s what I do.
We know the local area pretty well – It’s quite isolated, but we noticed there is a brand new resorts world that had just opened up nearby. We didn’t go to it, but it was good to see it there: There was a Nandos there, as well as an italian restaurant and there looked to be a lot more. This was a nice development from last year… But we stuck to our traditions and on Saturday, we went to Frankie and Bennies over at the airport. It’s just a short air-link to the airport from the NEC, of which the whole journey is around 15 minutes.
Once back, a large group of us gathered once again to play a game of Cards Against Humanity. We were going to watch Mad Max: Fury Road which they had screenings of, but it felt better to be able to play everyone’s favourite insulting game. We got the game out and throughout the night we had people jump in and out of the game which lasted most of the night time. It’s always fun playing games with people we’ve met in years prior, along with making new friends along the way.
Because of how unwell we were feeling, we left the night early (but it was still about 1 in the morning). We went back to our hotel rooms whilst Joel went to go and enjoy the metal night. We stayed over at the Holiday Inn Express, which was cheap enough via a taxi. We were especially lucky, as we found someone who happily just let us jump in the taxi with him – Cheers for that if you read this!
Games Room and Dealers Hall
Just as an aside, both the Games Room and Dealers Hall was well looked after this year. They were super professionally done and early on our Saturday, we went for some games. I found my Pac-Man score from last year had saved on their machine, which was hilarious to me. No one would dare beat my Pac-Man score! Other than that then, there was a few fun games, such as Castle Crashers (Although the controller seemed to be a bit iffy) and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. We also played a few other games, such as the tough-as-nails classic Battletoads. It was a really well set up room!
The Dealers Hall was brimming with really good stuff this year – If I were my usual self, I would have bought loads of things – but the stars of the show for me was Tofu Cute, who had a large stall this year. It was great seeing them there as always, but they had our favourites: Pocky and those incredibly cute little panda head biscuits that are filled with a flavoured cream. We had cookies and cream flavoured Pocky and strawberry flavoured panda biscuits… And whilst this might seem like a trivial thing to tell you, it sort of goes to show the range of snacks these guys have. One of the people behind the counter really seemed to like my leg warmers, so that’s always a plus! Shame he didn’t give us a free box of Pocky for that! Oh well, worth a shot.
Sunday: The Great Kita Quiz
Another fun panel, involving members of the committee and gophers. It was great seeing more faces at this one; it was lively and interactive, as well as being very funny throughout. The hosts played up to the teams they had on stage, teasing them a little bit and the teams would change throughout the quiz, swapping people in and out, to allow members of the audience the chance to go up. I was rather happy that there was a few questions I got right, such as who broke John Cena’s nose in 2015 (I knew this one! It was Seth Rollins!) Then there was theme tunes which I recognised (The one that so few got was RVD, Rob Van Dam. I am a wrestling nerd!)
Actually, this panel in particular helped me realise that yes; wrestling definitely is a geeky hobby. On the stage during the first nights party, Ian was there wearing a “KO” T-shirt (Kevin Owens) and during the Cosplay Masquerade, he was dressed up like John Cena. There were also a few people dressed up as wrestlers throughout the days, such as a Seth Rollins cosplayer, along with a Bailey cosplayer too. Nice to see the fandom so well represented within the geek and convention scene. Last year I met a Macho Man Randy Savage, who unbeknownst to us both, was someone I had spoken to regularly online!
Kitacon’s Got Talent and the Closing Ceremony
This is a slight minor point, though really it’s nothing Kitacon themselves could have done. Kitacon’s Got Talent, or KGT, ended really quickly. It seemed to go on for a little over an hour only, but it was scheduled to go on for 2 hours. Still, there were some really fun acts during KGT, including some singers, a guitarist, loads of dancers, comedy acts and sketches. My favourite sketch was by Bison Sempai, who was basically an M. Bison cosplayer who decided to explain how to deal with post-con blues.
After we left Kitacon’s Got Talent (and I got another beer down me), the closing ceremony went along without a hitch. It was professionally executed and was great fun! With Ian being our host once more, he spoke through the events of the convention and they sold three more special items for the charity auction total. Once all was said and done though, everyone knew the convention was close to an end. It was nearly time for us all to leave Kitacon – and it was a sad feeling… But at least the whole convention was SAFE!
Last nights activities
I drank! We played some board games together in the main bar and we had some grub as well. That was kind of it… but it didn’t need to be anything more than that. I had my large boots with leg warmers on because of how comfy they are. I had my beers, I had some money left over and all in all, I had a really good time. I regret not getting to the party, but we enjoyed the company of one another instead. Once the last nights party was over, we all said our goodbyes. The Karnival was over.
Here are the last images I have of the event. I loved meeting up with so many people, new and old. I really enjoyed the amount of street passes I got at the convention for my 3DS – I defeated the Ultimate Ghost for a second time and unlocked StreetPass Quest II, so hurrah! But I digress, it was all great fun and I’m glad I had the experience to go back there. Let us know what you thought of my review in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to all of the wonderful members of staff at Kitacon for making us feel welcome each and every year. We’ll see you all there next year!