The wonderful thing about Xcon is that it is a small con that feels like a big con – without the crowds, long wait times, and inability to do everything. I have watched the convention grow each year from its humble beginnings. Sure there are things I wish they would bring back that they used to have (video games, please!), but it is still a great little con to check out. The key thing about Xcon is that it is really affordable. Weekend passes were $25. With cons going upwards $130 or more for three to four days, Xcon maintains a very accessible price. Xcon dealers also have quite amazing prices! All cons have great deals, but every booth at Xcon seemed to have very affordable prices. I could be biased, however, because I managed to snag a Cosmic Angela (from Spawn) toy for 3 bucks and even some Magic the Gathering Jace cards for great prices!
Meeting the guests is really easy as well. There are typically no long lines to meet them. You can literally walk up to the guests table and chat with them. It was always a pleasure seeing Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley – who has been a regular guest at Xcon since it began. My surprise of the day was being able to meet Johnathan Hickman. The moment was perfect because I had no idea that he was going to be there and got the opportunity to tell him how amazing I think East of West is.
If I had a gripe about Xcon it would be the lulls within things to do. This is usually the “problem” with smaller conventions. There are not as many panels going on or as many activities. There is only so many laps around the show floor that a person can do before it is time to call it a day. I completed my trip to Xcon this year in about three hours. I know some that stayed longer. Others – shorter. It really is about what a person is trying to get out of the event. I stopped attending all three days years ago and, even now, I see no reason to stay longer then a few hours. This does allow a person to do literally everything at the convention if they so choose, but it does make it boring if you’ve already done everything you have wanted to.
The panels are also held outside in a tent. Weather Gods allowed for sunshine and cool temptures, but having panels in a tent just seems risky to say the least. The panel tent seems to move each year as well – I guess to have prime location. Where it was this year just seemed a bit awkward. As I left the con, I saw many people gathered around the tent meaning it was probably at capacity. A panel tent is just…an interesting concept.
Moving out of state has been in my future since I was a child. One of the things that I always ask myself is if I would travel back to South Carolina to go to Xcon when I do eventually move. The convention has always been in my backyard (it is literally five minutes from where I live currently) and I always judge conventions based on whether I would travel long distance to them. The answer is – yes. Yes, I would. I think Xcon will continue to grow. I think it will get a bit better each year as it already seems to do. I see the convention taking nods from other conventions which is great because they use that inspiration to create something all their own. Sure, there are things I would love to see the convention do such as lay carpet down over the harsh, ugly cement floor, have a lot more to do for the attendees., or provide their attendees with awesome badges instead of the wristbands. Xcon only has so much manpower, however, and it does well for what it has.
And you really can not beat $25.