Wow! It’s been a year already since I first experienced the joyous splendour of Eirtakon. And now there I was, at the doors of Croke Park, press pass in one hand and a notepad in the other, but just like any lively convention that I get the honour of attending I didn’t take many notes this year, nor did I even have the time to look at my phone for the majority of the weekend, why? Because everybody was having so much dang fun that it didn’t seem necessary to distract ourselves with technology and Facebook. The only time that a phone was taken out was to snap the odd selfie or picture with a cosplayer, and boy were there many to be snapped!

I want to put this right out there, I don’t know the first thing about Anime, I’m trying my best to get into the culture because I do find it interesting, so if I offend any of you by not mentioning an anime or show a picture without your character’s name, send me a message on Facebook and I will gladly correct you for it!

Now, onto the con review shall we! MASSIVE CHANGE!! The floor plan has been re done, thank god! This year seen a new floor plan with everything on one floor (and one small staircase for screening and panel rooms), unlike last year’s where it was split among 2 or 3, this caused a lot of problems for cosplayers and attendees as the stairs were very small and there was only so much room for them to pass through, also bear in mind some cosplayers outfits are very large and elaborate, this making these stairs almost impossible to climb or descend!

This year they changed it and left it on one floor spanning the entire length of the stadium, although this made for a long walk to the Warhammer and CCG rooms, it did provide ample space for the Maid Café, Fairtakon, various vendors, the Artists Alley and the Trade Hall, which I will talk about in a separate paragraph, trust me, it needs its own! This new layout was one of the best changes to the con this year and it really made traversing the stadium so much easier, where as last year you had people wondering was the gaming area on this floor or the next, was the trade hall on its own floor, etc., this year it was merely a left or a right decision, and there were signs a plenty around to help you find it easier. Not a single flaw in terms of layout, bravo!

Image by Rian Creighton http://ricreations.tumblr.com/

Fairtakon was Eirtakon’s way of providing a nerdy arcade style area where you can hang out with friends and take part in nerdy games in return for tickets, after gathering a couple or a hundred of tickets you can head to the prize desk and claim your prize, and these were some pretty good prizes for all the anime fans in attendance! Some of the games included bowling, Sonic’s Hoop toss and one of the hardest games I think I’ve ever seen, picking up marbles with a chopstick…..from a bowl of water! Safe to say I didn’t do very well in that. Lots of fun was had in this room as there was always a scream or a shout of laughter as you entered, which is always a good sign!

After Fairtakon you were greeted by the Artists Alley, this to me was the worst part of the con, and I’m not saying that it was awful or terrible, it was very good and the talent that was on display was definitely of a high standard, but the location of the alley was a little cramped for the amount of artists there and to have one of the guests just sitting in the middle of it was not the best idea in my opinion, I heard a couple of people asking where the guests was. Other than that it was a very respectable artists alley with some of the best prices for prints and signatures that I have seen from any con, 15€ for a signed A3 print from Voice Actor Chuck Huber’s Girlfriend, signed by the man himself! Absolute Bargain!

Image by Rian Creighton http://ricreations.tumblr.com/

The Trade Hall was by far my favourite improvement to the con this year, last year was a decent trade hall, plenty of stuff to peruse and to buy, but it seemed very cramped in the Hogan Suite, it seemed like a good idea on paper I think, putting the trade hall in the main hall of the stadium, sure! Not quite so good when you have a few hundred people looking at stuff at the same time though. With no windows or good circulation the heat really turned up in that room and thankfully, the new and improved trade hall eliminated all of the problems from last year. Situated right in the back of the con the trade hall sat majestically in one of the most spacious parts of the stadium. Each side has floor to ceiling windows and even had windows that you could open, that may not seem like a big deal but when the heat started to get bad all you did was lower the blinds a bit and open the windows. The windows also provided a great view of the city which made the whole hall look bright and inviting. The stalls sold everything from games to DVDs, comics to posters and plushies to dresses. They even had section where you can bring items and but items that other people have left in, which was a neat little addition if you had any items that you were willing to donate.

The Gaming area was where I usually keep myself at these types of conventions, mainly it is because Akroview is a gaming website and that is where my forte is, but this gaming area at Eirtakon did not keep me entertained for very long, why? They were all modern consoles at it! Now it may seem cool to have a ps4 or Xbox One for the crowd to play with, but I’m one of the few that like to sit down with friends and play some Goldeneye or Mario Kart on the N64. They had retro consoles last year and that went down so well, it just seemed like a disappointment this year when I didn’t see any. There was also a lack of indie developers showing of their games, there was one studio showing of Bard to the Future but from what I saw, honestly it didn’t seem to appeal to me at all. Could’ve been a better gaming area in my humble opinion.

Image by Rian Creighton http://ricreations.tumblr.com/

Eirtakon this year really felt like a great convention, there was always plenty to do, the panels were witty and informative, and the staff were excellent. If you ever had any issues, there was always a staff member nearby to help you. The Yule Ball was very entertaining and certainly put the majority of the con into the Christmas spirit, and it was great to see all the youths looking so dapper, although most costumes now look more expensive than a Louis Copeland Tuxedo! This journalist/cosplayer/con-goer was definitely pleased with what he saw and will be looking forward to Eirtakon 2015 where I’m sure there will be near 4-5000 people in attendance (3400 this year so I heard!)

Well done to all the staff and volunteers and also to you the public for making it a truly memorable weekend.

And thanks for reading!

Adam.

And as always, lets end with the amazing Grahamedia’s Eirtakon 2014 Cosplay Music Video!

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