How to Survive Your First Anime and Gaming Convention

This is it…you’re finally doing it. You’ve paid your registration fee and you’re fully prepared to get immersed into your first “Con.” Welcome to the exciting world of anime, gaming and fantasy fan conventions!

  • Cosplay made or ordered? Check
  • Hotel Reserved? Check
  • Friends to go with? Chizzeck
  • Stoked? Fuck yes

But are you actually ready for the unexpected things most don’t mention about your first Con? Don’t worry, the Play Your Way Network’s got your back, bruh!


1: Please bring a portable charger. You’ll need it!


At my  first large convention I was pretty idiotic and didn’t bring a charger, period. The second day I brought one, but still was pretty dependent on wall outlets, which took way from valuable time I could have spent taking pictures.

Think about it. If you’re going to be there ALL day for the most part, you’ll occasionally need to charge up during not-so-busy moments such as grabbing food, live panels, and hitting gaming booths or live activities.

Also, you don’t want to be that guy bumming your friends power dock or charger the entire time. [I’m sure my friend Terrance is nodding his head in approval while reading this]


2: Expect attention from your cosplay at ALL times, not just when you are ready for it. Don’t be rude.


At first it’s cool and you walk into the convention excited and ready to own it. Your first couple of “Get Over HERES” (that’s me on the right as Scorpion from Mortal Kombat) and being called your character’s name constantly for photo ops has you on a euphoric high. If your costume is truly badass, expect to be the celebrity of the con – which means you’ll probably get swarmed like the paparazzi floods Kanye.

After a while you’ll be distracted or doing something else in particular and it may rub you the wrong way (I.E eating, charging or talking on the phone, taking a minute to relax) and you’ll likely get a little irritated that you have to stop what you’re doing to accommodate a photo op or get back in character. Try not to be a dick about it, stop what you’re doing and take the photo. Cons are all about feeling open and eliminating that sense of nervousness that many con-goers have. Remember, it’s a complement on your creativity to be stopped constantly, it’s much better than the alternative.

3: Wait until the last day of the convention to purchase merchandise.Gen_Con_Indy_2008_-_t-shirt_booth_1.JPG

Mark-up is a real thing in sales; thus every booth you see is going to try and get top dollar for the merch they stock. And rightfully so, they know that some fanboys want to be the first to cop that new Attack on Titan swag. But be patient – as the con goes on and salespeople get more desperate to move product, merchandise tends to go on sale the last day of the convention (as many vendors need to liquidate their stock to avoid huge shipping charges). Often there are cases where you can expect discounts  for 60% off the initial asking price depending on what the vendor that is selling. Bottom line, unless it’s something that you know for sure you want or if it’s high in demand and will likely no longer be there on the last day (or you are just balling like that), save your money until the last day.

4: Ordering food while cosplaying is awesome and sometimes a little difficultimages (2)

The looks you’ll running up in a Chik-fil-a dressed as Deadpool are always priceless, but certain places will not allow you to come in their business with masks or garments of suggestive material. Something to remember if you’re at a more adult friendly convention like DragonCon or Frolicon and you choose to wear something shirtless or a lot more scantily clad.

And those food prices….


Inflation is all around you (e.g. “mark-up” see #3). Expect higher prices for food and drinks if you choose to eat at the convention. I find it best to just find another location, eat there, take a mental break and regroup back to the convention. The food is usually better elsewhere anyhow. Pro-tip: if you are rolling with a crew and/or are staying at a hotel in the same location as the convention, bring a cooler for essentials and bring non-perishable snack food items to control the impulse to overspend.


5: Some of the convention parties are teen friendly. Just avoid these altogether unless it says 21+.IMG_7423

Unless a specific event says 21+, then just know that there is a possibility that some of the participants could be teenagers or under 21. I prefer to avoid parties altogether and stick to going outside of the convention if its a teen friendly convention. If the convention has bars or raves/parties in the immediate area, those would be likely the spots of choice for adults that drink while they socialize to fuel the continued adrenaline of the convention. More adult-friendly cons like DragonCon have parties specifically for 21+ (some of which are VIP access only) so be sure to take full advantage of those late night adventures. Pro-Tip: Also doesn’t hurt to bring a flask during the day or to pregame. Some places even allow BYOB so be sure to ask about these things in advance.

Needless to say, don’t buy alcohol for people under 21. They will ask.

58dac73aa526aaf3471e573a80266a22_chris-hansen-busted-an-old-friend-and-things-got-super-awkward-chris-hansen-predator-meme_1280-720 I’m just trying to save some of you the embarrassment and/or jail time.


6: Take advantage of cosplay repair stations20170402_115704-600x338

These are usually at most large conventions to assist those who are having wardrobe malfunctions with their cosplay and need a small amount of tape, stitching or adhesive to keep their costume going. They definitely help cover the “what if” moments.

As a heads up, it’s best to always test-run your cosplay at least once before going live at a convention unless you are THAT confident your costume will hold up perfectly.



7: Make time for everything you can. You’ll miss it when you leave. PJA_2783-600x397

Because a great cosplay requires a huge investment in time, money and creativity it’s hard to remember why you bought the ticket to the convention in the first place. Try to remember why you are a fan of the stuff you see at this convention and make time to stop and appreciate that you are finally here. So whether you love panels, standing in line to meet your favorite celeb, and/or just love buying merch – you can do all of that (and more) while still being in full character for your cosplay(s).

This is where having a crew comes in handy as oftentimes your convention time may consist of wandering around as you can either run out of ideas on what to do next. So be sure to include your friends in on decisions and maybe do a little of what they would like to do, as you’ll likely appreciate that you gave it a try as well. At the end of the trip, knowing you explored every inch of the convention is a way better feeling, versus knowing you skipped over a few things just out of habitual nature that you would’ve probably liked.

Bottom-line: You FINALLY made it to the con, so have fun. We all have our preferences, but spend your time wisely – you’ll regret it later if you don’t.



Enjoy, have fun and nerd on. The Player Way!

If you agree, or have more tips, comment below.

-Darius (TrendyCosplayer)



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