Convention Spotlight: Mobicon

The roundup of Convention Ideas is here.

Mobicon is a convention in Mobile, Alabama with a long history – it's in its 13th year and shows no sign of slowing down.  Mobilcon also takes its diversity very seriously, so its probably one of the few cons that you'll find that includes psychic readings, the Anime Tractor Pull game, and geek speed dating.

Of course, I had to ask them just what kind of fan-to-pro events they had.  It may not surprise you they thought of that too.  What's their secret?

  • They leverage experienced con staff to make sure they get events both expected and innovative.
  • A heavy focus on leveraging the guests' expertise in subject matter, and to make sure they cover other areas beyond the basics.  For example, their next convention will have guests speaking on indie film.
  • Continuing the heavy guest focus by making sure the website contains detailed profiles, information, and even accessibility information.  Mobicon's big on guest involvement and makes sure guests aren't listed as just names and credits.
  • Getting people from the dealer's room, the convention, other conventions, etc. to speak on their own career experiences.
  • Making sure pros judge contests, which also encourages entrant-judge networking deliberately.

Mobicon's focus on making sure everyone involved helps build fan-to-pro content is one worth emulating.  I'm sure they'll keep surprising us more in the future – and I'll be watching.

(And no, I'm not sure what an Anime Tractor Pull is.  I'm afraid to ask.)

– Steven Savage

Convention Spotlight: Templecon

The roundup of convention ideas is here.

Templecon is a gaming convention in Rhode Island, though calling it a
"gaming convention" doesn't due justice to the diversity of the
convention.  It's a convention that started as a gaming convention but
has expanded to include everything from live shows to bands to

Of course when I see a convention like that, you know I'm going to
do a profile of it.  As you may also guess, it's a convention that has
branched into "profan" panels for people who want to use their hobbies
in their careers.  A few of these fit the convention's focus on doing
things differently:

  • Doing a seminar on legal issues in game development and publishing,
    exposing people to important issues too often ignored, in an area of
    career interest many forget.
  • A panel on game development by actual game developers – an area that gets too little attention as far as I'm concerned.
  • Assorted workshops, including those run by known authors, diversifying the convention offerings.
  • Finally, the really unusual panel – a panel on why one does not want to
    turn their hobby into a job.  Now as much as I emphasize using their
    hobbies in their careers, I applaud a little bit of contrarianism. 
    Maybe sometime I'll make it out there and have a debate . . .

Templecon's constant growth includes a lot of profan panels and
getting outside of focusing on "just gaming".  I'm looking forward to
seeing what they do in the years to come, as I expect I'll learn a lot,
I think they're a great example of keeping your focus while
experimenting and going beyond people's expectations.

– Steven Savage