Youmacon, the Convention You Didn’t Realize You Wanted!

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Youmacon, the Convention You Didn’t Realize You Wanted!

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I’ve gone to at least one convention per year since I was 14. My first convention was back in November of 2014, when I went with two friends to Youmacon. These two friends liked looking at cosplays (costumes with a mix of roleplay) and going to the merchandise section to buy cool things that fit what they liked, such as anime and, for me, video games. It was exciting, but I knew there was so much more to Youmacon than just looking at cool cosplays and merchandise, but I wasn’t able to see the rest. I’ve gone to other conventions over the years, but I try to make it a habit to go to Youmacon almost every year. After going to the other conventions I realized why I loved going to Youmacon so much. Youmacon is more inclusive. I see anime cosplayers, comic book cosplayers, American show cosplayers, and video game cosplayers together in one convention. When I went to conventions, such as Motor City Comic Con, I noticed one fatal flaw to the whole thing: it only drew comic book cosplayers. I cosplayed over the 4 year span and I like to cosplay characters I like, which could be from something recent to something that’s a decade old. They were normally from video games that aren’t exactly well known or popular, but have great stories and characters. When I went to Motor City Comic Con, I never got noticed. Nobody really wanted my picture or even said, “Oh my gosh, that’s so-and-so from that one game”. Not a single person. Not only did I get recognized by people at Youmacon, but I found cosplayers from the same game that I was from.

I do respect Motor City Comic Con for what it is: a convention for people that like comic books and pop-culture. I don’t see a fit in that convention, but Youmacon has the better events in my eyes. Motor City likes to bring celebrities in and random merchandise sellers in and to have cosplay contests. Youmacon has a video game room. Yes, when you enter this room you notice the intense stuffiness of the room because so many CPUs are running in this ballroom. It’s filled with cool Japanese games that you can’t pronounce, some familiar consoles with familiar games. This room is normally packed with people who are waiting in line to play Dance Dance Revolution, Taiko Drumming, Fortnite, or Super Smash Bros. Melee. I was able to go to this arcade back when I came to Youmacon in 2014. Even though I was only 14 I was able to play there because it’s all free. Youmacon is a place that anyone can go to for free, but to see the real events, you have to pay for a pass to enter, just like any convention I’ve been to.

I enjoyed all of that stuff and I still continue to, but I found out about them at my first convention. This year I decided to go and try out something that was kinda new to me: panels. I understood what it was; a group of people make a slideshow about a certain topic and get feedback from the audience about that topic. Pretty simple thing, but the topics can be varying. I saw one panel that talked about being a better Dungeons and Dragons player, then once that panel was over the next one took over and it talked about an anime called Fairy Tail. It varies like crazy, but I never found friends that wanted to go to the panels, or were interested in the panels I wanted to go to, so I never went to them for 3 years. This year I went alone and I had all the freedom to decide what I wanted to do. It was magical. I found panels that I found interest in, such as a panel all about the history of microtransactions and another about toxic masculinity in video game culture. Both had a sense of style that was meant just for my interests and I loved every second of them. I never realized the community could be so diverse and interesting, yet have a lot of the same interests I have. I’ve found some people that share my interests, but normally they’re toxic and mean-spirited. I only found caring people when I went to these panels and found a community that I want to be a part of.

I guess that’s what Youmacon is all about: finding what you love. I didn’t know about Persona, a turn-based RPG video game, until I went to Youmacon and it’s become one of my favorite series ever. I didn’t know about anything really in the pop-culture community until I went to Youmacon and it’s never failed to be good. I’ve only found inclusiveness and love whenever I went there. This convention may seem odd to people, but all it is is a gathering of people trying to spread positivity to their community by sharing what they find passion and love in. I know I’m passionate for these people and I look forward to going to Youmacon next year.

-Michael Gonzalez

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