Tech and gaming conferences are awesome! The new technology, the cozy feeling of being right in the middle of entertainment and tech’s beating heart and the sheer explosion of awesome new things to explore assaulting your senses. Thus, it’s no wonder so many people love forking over hard earned dollars and sinking into the tech convention morass for a while.
It’s great to see all of the gadgets and awesome custom booths from all the vendors, but like any glitzy, shiny human event, the world of tech and gaming events has also got its own grimy edges and nasty little details, and here are a few to remember if you have plans to attend a tech convention.
1. The Seething Masses
Of course conventions are going to have crowds, and any one of them that’s really worth going to is going to not just have crowds but LOTS and LOTS of crowds; sometimes so many that you’ll feel like an ant inside a giant nest full of other nerd ants, all fighting for little pieces of sugar. It’s not the prettiest idea, but it’s also something that we accept about our tech and games conventions: we came to see the goodies and because of this, we can deal with occasionally having our face pushed into some dude’s sweaty, unwashed armpits as we both try to squeeze into a gadget/game booth for a look at next year’s toys..
2. Washroom Hell
So if we’ve just gone over the conference crowds you can expect on the tech and game con scene, it should be obvious that bathrooms aren’t far behind on the list.
While a lot of conference organizers make decent efforts to keep their toilets and bathrooms clean during the conference, the bottom line is that most of the attendees are guys and even the best maintained washrooms are going to end up only marginally cleaner than a sewer tunnel after a while.
3. Enjoy the food
The food vendors that get floor space at a big tech or gaming convention are basically dealing with a captive market of hundreds of hungry tech fans who are too lazy to simply leave the convention hall and look anywhere else. For the food sellers this means two things: 1. Cheap subpar food and 2. Cheap subpar food that gets sold at movie theater racket price levels.
Makes sense for the sellers, most of the convention attendees will just frown and bear it, tough luck for your wallet and stomach.
4. Lineup Purgatory
Any big, popular gathering with tons of different activities and things to see is going to be an obvious and total disaster when it comes to lineups. The packed major conferences like E3, Comic Con or CES are no exception at all, and because of this, you’re sometimes probably going to spend more of your day looking at the back of the dude in front of you than seeing any cool gadgets, consoles and games.
You might get lucky by coming early or maybe just avoiding any activities and special events, but then what’s the point of even going if you need to do that?
5. Spending the Bling
The sad, potentially prison café like food we mentioned above is just one part of the whole price thing that you might not want to think about too much if you’re living on a tight budget. When it comes to major conferences, everything is going to cost you a nice wad of hard earned cash; from entry tickets, to hotel fees to simply flying out to the event unless you were lucky enough to have it land on your own city.
And of course we can’t forget about impulse buying; those event sellers aren’t dumb, but you very well might be with your wallet when you start looking at all the shiny new tech toy. So watch your pennies, unless you like the idea of a post conference month of Ramen noodles as you scrape by on 10 dollars a week for meals. If you’re lucky, you may come by some free swag and put it all in one of these.
However, it’s not all bad, and being aware of the not so nice details above will help you avoid some major pit falls, or at least be prepared for those that are unavoidable. After all, at the end of the day it’s all worth it.