“Casual Connect, PAX Prime, & Twitchcon …Oh My!”
A Professional Fanboy’s Success & Survival Guide To Game Conventions
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” These words were once spoken by Aristotle, perhaps the greatest gamer in humanity’s short existence. Head these words, and don’t ever forget them, because they are ****ing true!
Over the past 6 weeks I’ve attended 3 separate conventions! The following is the harrowing tale of a professional fan boy’s success, mistakes, and success based on past mistakes:
Casual Connect (August 11th-August 13th, San Francisco CA)
Casual Connect was my first experience with a game conference, and I did not know what to expect. The first thing I learned was that we here at Prelaunch dress up as pilots when we attend conferences and even though our pilot hats look more like something out of the wardrobe of M. Bison’s closet, we still wear them with Pride. Initially I was placed at the Prelaunch.me booth and given the instruction to make sure that the “Wile E. Coyote” ad agencies didn’t steal all of our lollipops. However, I’m not one to remain quiet and soon those lollipops turned into business cards. A single second could not pass without somebody glancing an eye over towards me, likely because in a banquet hall full of suits and ties, I was dressed like an idiot. “You want to know why I’m dressed up like a pilot”, I’d shout with a smile. The answer was always yes! 144 business cards later and suddenly I was best salesman of the company.
Pax Prime (August 28th-August 31st, Seattle WA)
My unexpected success at Casual Connect prompted me to trick my CEO into letting me attend PAX Prime. As I entered the Seattle Convention Center, the hundreds of gamers dressed like Stormtroopers and Anime Mascots were lost on me. I had tunnel vision. I was dead set on trying to approach every mobile game company I could, and unfortunately it left me feeling unproductive. I attended an after party that night and the amazing beats of Steve Aoki and the heckled laughter caused by an open bar went in one ear and out the other as I attempted to add to my collection of business cards. That night I nearly fell asleep standing up. Thoroughly exhausted, I vowed that the next day would be a better day. Unfortunately, the next three days followed the same failed routine eventually leading to me falling asleep while walking between hotels…causing my nose to encounter a street pole. My final day I said “Screw It”, and attended the convention as a fan. I played games, took vine videos with my phone, and had a dance contest with a very convincing Ryu. I noticed that I was actually collecting a lot of business cards that day by default, and when I arrived back in San Francisco to begin my follow ups, to my surprise, nearly all of the contacts I had made the first 3 days turned out to be duds, but almost every contact I made that 4th and final day was happy to continue our conversation.
Twitchcon (September 25th-26th, San Francisco CA)
Learning from my mistakes at PAX, I decided to go into Twitchcon with a much more leisured approach. As I buttoned up my aviator jacket, and cleaned my purple sunglasses I decided I’d leave my trusty clipboard at the office. Instead armed with only a handful of business cards, and a bean burrito I entered the Moscone Center in San Francisco with the main goal of experiencing new things, and hopefully having a lot fun along the way. Oddly enough, nearly all of the contacts made that day led to future meetings and further discussion.
Circling back through my Gulliver Travels of the game conventions, I’ve taken away a few valuable tips:
- If you do anything to visually set yourself apart from the crowd, you won’t have to seek people out, they will seek you out. In an industry where we are lucky enough to dress like it’s Halloween and still be viewed as working professionals…by all means take advantage!
- If you attend a convention and concentrate 110% of your focus to business, you will actually miss out on many valuable business opportunities. Tunnel vision does not allow you to view the little advantages that comes with the peripheral vision you display when you are relaxed and having a good time!
- When you attend a convention with the overall goal of leaving with a greater appreciation for the industry you represent, not only will you find yourself happier, smarter, and rejuvenated for having done so, but you’ll also likely increase your chances of making successful business contacts.
The conclusion of my trips? We are all lucky enough to be apart of an industry we grew up loving and appreciating as children. However, due to the competitive nature of gaming companies, we often lose sight of this. This may be our job, but it is also our passion. If you forget to feed that passion with a steady dose of 1UP Coins and Smiley Face Mushrooms then no matter how much effort you put into your success, you will eventually fail. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”
-Adam “Gypsy Gold” Charles