Adam Wolfe writes from Atlantic City Boardwalk Con:
Stan Lee was the major draw for this convention, but when he dropped out much of the excitement deflated amongst the con goers. Luckily, the "night time cosplay events" that were advertised on the site seemed to be a saving grace for those who wanted a unique con experience. For an extra charge of $20, attendees receive a bonus badge to enter the "cosplay ballroom." I understand that this is their first con, but the amount of confusion and disarray centered around this bonus ticket has been staggering. I arrived Thursday night (when the cosplay party started) and found myself unable to attend the event that I had purchased. The reason for this was that the ticket Will Call closed an hour before the cosplay event began. This was a tremendous oversight, but as cosplayer I spoke to, who did attend the first night's festivities, explained that the attendance was very minimal. I can only assume this was due to the lack of coordination (the website was a tad unclear as to where exactly the cosplay ballroom was) and an inability to pick up the passes for the event.
On Friday night, I was actually able to attend the night event at ACBC. It would seem that the event on Friday was open to anyone who had a pass, rather than the bonus green badge needed prior. What I found was a largely empty space with ample seating, and randomly scattered backdrops of buildings, jungles, and sci-fi scenes for cosplay photo shoots. This was a good idea in theory, but only about ten cosplayers showed up to the event. The rest of the thirty people who attended were out of costume and rushed to the bar. The bar, which was a hundred and fifty feet away from the main stage, felt more like a playpen. Iron barricades kept the drinkers within a small space with a few tables, unable to interact with the rest of the party goers. I believe checking IDs before the event and giving people a simple X on their hand, or a wristband would have made a lot more sense than isolating the 21 year old crowd. The other option was to make the event 21 and older. I found myself having to speak to friends of mine who were on the other side of the anti-alcohol Berlin Wall they created. After a couple of sets from pop rock bands, I decided to take my leave.
Where I ended up next was a party that was spread through the con via word of mouth. It was catered to the ACBC crowd and was being held at Bally's Casino. The drinks were cheap and the best part was I was not imprisoned while drinking them. There was a live band that was playing much more accessible hits than the artists featured at the con. When they finished, a DJ took over who was playing remixes that stretched through super hero themes, anime and classic video game tracks. As the finishing touch, three Nintendo consoles complete with Super Smash, Mario Kart, and the original Mario Bros. were offered free of charge to the patrons. Safe to say, the experience at Bally's really saved the night.
I understand that this is ACBC's first go at running a con. In theory, having the night events is a great idea. It brings a 21+ feel to a con and which is refreshing, but the execution needs to be more precise. Granted Friday night was the "free night" so I'm hoping they will save their "A material" for this evening, Saturday night. I will be attending the event. Expect to hear more of it soon.
The mentioned party was hosted by Level Up Entertainment, a local comic shop, as well as Aspen Comics and Farpoint Toys.