Wizard World Sacramento 2016 – recap and review

Wizard World Sac 2016

The Sacramento Convention Center became a Mecca for all things nerd related on the weekend of June 17th-20th as thousands of people, from near and far, gathered for the annual Wizard World Comic Con. Every time I attend, I am both amazed and glad to see the growth in attendance for this convention and this year was no different. This year, however, there were some notable differences.

The first big difference was the inclusion and emphasis of gaming. Recently, Wizard World started their own gaming convention in addition to their normal comic convention. While in some locations the gaming convention is separate, Sacramento saw the two combined. This created an awesome blend of comics, video games, and general pop culture so there was something there for everybody. In the past, Wizard World would have a large “stage” like section set up, approximately in the center of the exhibition hall, where they would do contests and live stream interviews to their digital content site/app, CONtv. However, this year that was replaced by a large stage that hosted commentated gaming tournaments featuring Street Fighter and the yet-to-be-released Tekken 7. The stage was surrounded by chairs and big screen TVs for the audience to sit and enjoy. Radiating from that were a couple of sections designated for PC gaming stations and console stations. Attendees were free to take a seat and take a gaming break through out the day. In addition to the gaming set ups, Newegg was also there with a PC Gaming booth that featured some state of the art gaming PCs, peripherals, and pros on hand to assist with questions on building a PC.

The celebrity guests are definitely a huge part of what attracts people to a comic con. Having the opportunity to meet your favorite actor or actress (for a not so small fee of course) is always appealing. This year, there seemed to not be as many big names as there have been in the past. The biggest stars would definitely be Sebastian Stan and Haley Atwell, who both did autographs and held panels. The next biggest name that we saw was probably William Shatner. He was definitely the headlining guest advertised on the local radio stations leading up to the convention. Aside from those three, the other celebrities seemed to be ones that may not have been as well recognized by the masses. One noticeable celeb absence was Wizard World staple, Jason David Frank, who played Tommy in various Power Rangers series. The smaller roster of celebrities wasn’t necessarily a negative aspect, just something that was more noticeable to the regular attendees.

Another staple of a comic con that was somewhat rare this year was cosplay. That’s not to say that there weren’t any at all, but compared to previous years it seemed sort of lackluster. The ones that were there, however, were in full swing. Suicide Squad Harley Quinn was probably the character that was done the most. Various incarnations of Deadpool were not far behind Harley, as it normally goes. What was surprising was the lack of Captain Americas, Iron Mans, and even Spider-Mans in attendance. There were a few Spider-Mans and Captain Americas, but not as many as I expected with Civil War being released with in the past few months and there were no Iron Mans at all that I saw. Of course with cosplay comes the costume contest. Like previous years, the contest was held Saturday evening. One cosplayer I spoke to, Raygunnzcosplay, mentioned some of the frustration that most cosplayers have with this schedule.

Looking at the line you can see everyone propping up themselves and their costumes up against the wall to ease some of the weight. What some people don’t understand is most cosplays are heavy and to be wearing them around the con floor all day and making sure they still look their best for the contest is exhausting. Not to mention those that are in full makeup as well. It’s tough having it at the end of the day when we are exhausted, as opposed to having it during the afternoon. The majority of us standing in line all agreed that it would be much better to have the contest around 2:00 PM. That way, as cosplayers, we can enjoy the rest of the con without worrying about our costume right before the contest.

Raygunnzcosplay was able to bring these concerns to the attention of the VP of Wizard World who seemed to take the suggestion to heart. Only time will tell if this change is implemented, but if it is I am sure it will make a lot of cosplayers happy and will probably increase the participation in the contest.

Overall I would say that this was another successful convention for Wizard World. Sure there were some changes, but none that I think could have negatively affected the show and some, on the contrary, that I believe made the show stronger. Having a strong gaming presence is an awesome addition and one that I know is welcomed by Sacramento gamers. Is there room for improvement? Sure, but that just makes me excited to see what they do next year.

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