Saturday, November 3, 2012

Youmacon 2012: Day 2 Update

It's Friday night at 2 AM and the arcade in the Ontario Room of the Renaissance Center is humming. The lights are dim and groups of people crowd around the glow of flat screen TV's or stand, mashing buttons at old-school arcade kiosks. Here, after the main events of Youmacon's second day have ended, people show no signs of sleep just yet. There is a truly eclectic mix of games present, creating a hybrid sort of arcade that sits old school and new school side by side. Players can get a heavy dose of nostalgia with classics like TMNT, Captain America: and The Avengers and the 6-player X-Men arcade. These occupy the same space as popular newer series like Halo, Call of Duty and Gears of War. Gamers crowd around several TV's of Super Smash Bros, both on the GameCube and the Wii. For gamers and curious cosplayers, the Ontario room arcade represents an intoxicating and unique time warp, representing decades of gaming all in one room.

The Renaissance Center shares hosting duties with Detroit's Cobo Hall.
Youmacon, Detroit's fastest growing anime convention also attracts fans of manga, comics, video games and movies. 10,000 people attended the convention last year and the event has been growing since its inception in 2004. The event held in downtown Detroit brings out passionate fans and a remarkably high number of cosplayers: the variety, quality and uniqueness of the costumes are impressive. After the convention's normal hours wrap up and artists' alley closes down for the day, many attendees are just getting started. There are panels and events well into the night, and places like the arcade room never close down. It is a four day, 24-hour long event, and the Renaissance Center is completely booked for it.

Friday was a busy and eventful day at the event, and we spent the first part of the day at our Imaginos Workshop tables, talking with people, taking pictures and handing out swag like posters, stickers and sketch books. We recorded an interview with veteran anime voice actor Sonny Strait, who is most known for his work on Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist and One Piece. He has also done voice acting for video games including Splosion Man and Borderlands 2. Later, we held a panel on creating comics and stories: the process from beginning to end. By that point in the night it was time for many to get some much needed rest. For many others roaming the halls and rooms of the Renaissance Center, and sitting down to play some of their favorite games of yesterday and today, the night was still very young.


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