featurebanner_dreamation2013_tables_conJESSE PARRINO 25-FEB-2013 DREAMATION Hello. My name is Jesse Parrino and this weekend I went to Dreamation with Ashley and Amber. I was asked to go because I’m more of a gamer then they are so I would have a different point of view to the con. I’d have to say overall it is a very good convention. I went for two days out of the four it was open. Friday the 22nd and Saturday the 23rd. I’ll speak about both days individually then my thoughts on the event as a whole below.

Dreamation NJ 2013 GamingFirst off was Friday. This con is in a hotel that’s also connected to a shopping mall and parking garage which can be somewhat hard to navigate the first time you come. But once you find the con itself getting your badge is quick an painless and you’ll find yourself in the artist alley space. Which really didn’t fill up until Saturday afternoon. But there were some artists already set up when I got there such as Jack Parra (http://www.jackparra.com), Bee-Hive Studios (DeviantArt), Cheri Applegate (Etsy: thefairyoddmother), and Heather Lewis (Etsy: kartos). After a quick walk around the artist area I headed down into the dealers room. Which was small but pretty varied. You had an Anime Booth, a few booths selling LARP costumes and boffer weapons, a t-shirt booth, and a few booths with dice, miniatures, games, and RPG books. Pretty standard fare but I did manage to find a mini I was looking for, a book I’d spent over ten years searching for, and some wings for my hat. All in all the dealer’s area was small but was quality. At this point I started wandering a bit. Peeking into the video game room, the anime room, and a few other areas. The anime and video game rooms were one system or player on a projector.

Dreamation NJ 2013 GamingAt this point I had gotten a text from Ashley and once I found her and got her set up we really came across our first problem: Finding events. This was obviously a well oiled machine for people that have been going for years. However Ashley and I had wanted to go to the Clue LARP but after an half an hour of searching we ended up giving up between not being able to find it and not being able to get an answer to where it was. Sadly we gave up and headed to the con suite. Which was the major highlight of this con for most people. It’s the key meeting room and there’s endless snacks all weekend sodas, juices, chips, and cookies were all in abundance and there was always a conversation going on that you could walk into.There were also events called “Ice Cream Madness” and “Chocolate Heaven” where you’d be able to get free ice cream or chocolate! A little later we got a call from Amber and finally found the Clue LARP after finding a senior staffer as it was ending.

At this point our paths spilt and I ended up playing a Champion Supervillian LARP which was well put together. Character creation was quick and dirty in that we gave a villian whose power set we wanted to work with or a stereotype and went to town trying to attack the city. This was really well run and a lot of fun as most of the villains needed the same items for different plans we had a lot of in-fighting. Once this event ended I headed out to the bar to catch Ashley and Amber again. We headed out a little after that and sadly due to how late it was I couldn’t attend the Doctor Who LARP. But I did get to meet the hosts and I have every confidence it went over well.

Saturday: Normally the big day of a con here it was a bit more relaxed. I got in around 11:00 AM or so and found very little to do. But I did notice the other artist had set up, Alice in Underwear. (http://www.aliceinunderwear.net). I spoke with them for a little while about their products and then headed to the video game room where they were playing The Simpsons arcade game and then moved onto the X-Men arcade game. Then I headed out and played some Apples to Apples in the board game room. Which was nicely set up and again a pretty well oiled machine when it came to set up. Ashley and Amber came back in a bit later and we touched base and saw James Hannon and a few others from the 501st Legion who were there for a game demo, Chopper. Then headed over to the Clue LARP I had missed the day before. It was run pretty well except that it probably should have been an 16+ game since some of the younger players were killing because they could and a lot of the references went over their heads. But it was still an amusing game where I ended up being the killer, killing the two people I was motivated to murder. Then killing a third character in plain sight because he killed my character’s daughter in front of me. The murder set up was rather creative in that the lights would turn off, then you’d grab the weapon and whisper to the person you killed that they were dead.

Dreamation NJ 2013 GamingOnce that LARP was over there was very little left to do but wander as the subject matter of most of the other games running were not of my taste. I found an indy game area that had two other dealers of small indy games and running them in small conference rooms. However I couldn’t join in as they’d all already been running. So I stayed with the dealers for a bit then spoke to the artists for a good amount of time. I apologize for any I may have missed as I thought I took more cards then I did. They had helped me deal with some costume repairs. Then I went to a mini painting contest. Which I mistakenly thought was a workshop. So I painted a mini, terribly because I thought thought I was going to the event to learn. But this was an annual event and a bad assumption on my part.

All in all, I enjoyed the event. The only real complaint I have was that it was somewhat difficult to find where and what events were if you didn’t already know. It seemed to have a small slant towards people who have been going for years.But I think that’s more an assumption that there are few/no new attendees rather then anything done on purpose, But it’s still a very welcoming event and I highly recommend it.

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1 Comment on DREAMATION 2013 by Jesse Parrino

  1. Hi, Jesse!

    I’m sorry you had a hard time finding where things were. In the future, the location of each and every game is listed in the event description in the program book, there’s a map on the back of the book, and anybody at either Big Board or Registration can tell you how to find each room.

    Each event has a distinct code attached – at DEXCON, it will be a letter followed by a four digit code. Everywhere you see the event listed, it should have that code listed with it. Grab a copy of the program book and flip through the events, in order, to get to that code. The larps are always first, so L0001 through L0whatever will be the first events in the program book. The last piece of information on each listing is exactly which room the game will be in.

    I know swimming through a sea of hundreds of events can be overwhelming, but the bread crumbs are out there. Between Big Board and the program book, we’ve done everything we can think of to provide the rosetta stones you might need; if you have suggestions on how we could make it easier, we’re happy to hear them!

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