By: Ricardo A Landaverde Jr.

Otakon 2012 was my first time in which I’ve gone to a convention with a small group of people, I usually go with at least 6 people minimum, and this time was 3 close friends. During this con, I was often left to my own devices and ran amok. Now I know what you’re thinking:
“Ricardo, if you’re by yourself, you have more freedom to do whatever it is you want! How is that a bad thing? Go nuts, definitely!”

While this is very true, I’ve felt that I enjoy cons a lot more when I am with friends, a con buddy if you will, and makes my experience so much better for the overall weekend. I’ve been in the con circuit for the past 3+ years (and counting!) so I didn’t necessarily enjoy myself as I usually do this weekend, although I did manage to stumble onto a TM Revolution concert, which is still my favorite con experience to date. I tend to enjoy walking around with friends as my con experience solely on the fact that I can gush with said friend immediately afterwards and have them not look at me as if I have two heads.

However, as of lately, things have begun to get interesting. Having a “con buddy” doesn’t necessarily mean anyone from the group that you traveled with. Although I have been going to cons for a very long time, I still feel like I’m learning and growing with each one I go to. The beauty of even going to a con is to be surrounded by people who share similar tastes as you do. Wander around enough, and you’ll definitely find that one thing, be it an event, or even something like what I like to do and end up at the video game room. From there I’ve found myself chatting up with people who enjoy the same fighting games and shows I do. I mean it honestly isn’t too difficult a subject considering that’s the concept of going to a con in the first place, right?

From then on, I’ve made numerous friends that I try to keep in contact with and even look forward to seeing again the next time we go to the same convention! I’m sure you’ll find someone from a similar walk of life!

Sometimes a simple hello or fan boy moment can make a massive difference in the long run, especially in my case where a First to 10 in a fighting game made me lots of friends (and a few rivals!).

Now, if you’re one of those people who actually don’t mind experiencing the con by yourself, I will not judge you (my stand will though). Have fun however you see fit! One warning I give to you readers, while making new friends is always an exciting and wonderful thing at a con, you do have to be careful you don’t attract the sort of people who could exploit that for their own personal gain. I myself give the benefit of the doubt to everyone I meet, but unfortunately in our world we meet people who will bring you down. If that’s the case, shake it off and have fun anyway, that’s what it’s all about!

By the end of the day, it’s about what you feel comfortable doing, right? Now go on and have yourself a blast and share that experience with friends! Be excellent to yourself and each other!