With the current pandemic going on conventions all over the place have been canceling to comply with health regulations; however, that has not stopped people from finding the best alternative which is virtual cons. Now with my internet I can’t say I will do a lot of these events; however, when one advertises themselves as being 100% Fire Emblem them I am instantly planning to attend. So without further delay here is my review of my first ever virtual con.
One thing I will note is I love how accessible the vendors and artists were. Normally I’m used to high volume crowds that make it difficult to shop and view all the merchandise but with everything being online it was easy for me to browse comfortably and look at everything. I bought some artwork, cards, and stickers and it was so much fun. I will say there were not that many physical merch vendors but that’s understandable given the added difficulty of shipping so many orders at once. I think once virtual cons become more common a means of making such large scale orders easily manageable will also be created. I want to go back to the artwork a bit and say there were so many amazing pieces and what I loved is so many chances to get custom commissions. A thing that I’ve never seen at in-person cons so if commissions become a norm for virtual events I think that will be a huge benefit to the virtual con scene. If anything I thought the shopping experience at this virtual con was actually better than shopping experiences at in-person conventions.
The panels were a lot of fun. Because everything was online I didn’t worry about having to get a good spot in line or wander around a building hoping to find the right spot. The panels actually felt like your traditional panels such as the Q&A sessions with guests and discussion panels so it really felt like nothing had changed during these moments. This event had incredible people such as Greg Chun, Sarah Blandy, Jenny Yokobori, Khoi Dao, Bonnie Gordon, Rena Strober and Christian La Monte all notable voice actors in the Fire Emblem franchise. Other notable people involved included other popular Fire Emblem content creators like Bismix and TheElieson, I really enjoyed all the Fire Emblem themed questions and even got to be part of the audience for a Jackbox games session with some of the actors.
I also was greatly amused by the repeated questions on what should go on a Pizza. While Pineapple had mixed reviews, maraschino cherries, a favorite of voice actor Brandon Winckler, was met with resounding confusion by all. The panels were all very organized too. All of the panels happened either via Discord or Twitch and the staff did a great job providing updates for every relevant detail. It was a bit more organized than a lot of events I’ve attended in the past.
One thing I did miss was autographs. While it was nice not having to pay for traveling or lodging, or even badges, I did miss being able to get autographs from the voice actors I admire. I don’t really know the best way to implement something like that for a virtual con but maybe once more of these events start to happen more ideas on how to make autograph sessions will be created.
Overall I had a blast at this event and thought it was an excellent celebration of my favorite franchise, Fire Emblem. The panels were great, the art was amazing. The limitations brought to this event this year I believe were due to the fact that this was created due to a spur of the moment pandemic and is one of the first few of its kind. So for it to give such a close feel to the cons that we have been needing for so long is an incredible accomplishment. It was also nice to not have to wake up early to travel, pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for traveling and lodging and expensive food at the event. I hope ideas are created that allow for autograph sessions but other than that I really just want to see this con get bigger. More panels, more guests, and more vendors. Who knows maybe my blog will be a big enough hit for me to be a content creator guest next year hahaha. That would be pretty fun honestly.
Normally that’s where I end reviews but I wanted to kind of point out that I find some pros and cons of virtual cons in comparison to physical ones. The pros being significantly less expenses, less crowds and easier shopping. The cons are mainly just the limitations on autograph obtaining and the fact that you can’t meet anyone face to face. Overall I found that I liked virtual cons more than I originally expected and I think Emblemcon 2020 proved that I can still find my joy for cons even if I can’t physicall go out and attend them.