Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chicks Dig Giant Robots: Anime Detour 2016

Netrunner on Friday Night
So I was sitting here this past Monday, completely mute again.  You'd think I'd learn from prior years to take care of my voice, but no...

Anime Detour 2016 was a ton of fun this year.  A whopping total of 5,500 people crammed into the Doubletree in Bloomington, MN, for another year of cosplay,  antics, games, and awesome.  And hoo boy, do I have stories!

The Gaming Department had its share of awesome games this year.  In addition to the Raiden, Orbitor 1, DDR, and Pump that we've had in prior years, we added two new cabinets!  We added a multi-ROM cabinet full of SNK games like Bubble Bobble and Metal Slug, and a new pinball table called Party Animal!  Both new additions saw a lot of play, all weekend long.  I'm glad we had them available, and our attendees loved what we brought out this year.

Aya and another attendee playing Street Fighter V
This year saw two new guests to Anime Detour.  We had two Twitch Streamers join us this year, Briana "TacticalPinup" and Aya "DancingFighter."  Both were very happy to be at Anime Detour this year, and they loved seeing all the games we had available.  Aya, bless her heart, left her mark on Street Fighter on Friday afternoon.  She was cosplaying as Sakura from Street Fighter, and ran across another attendee playing Street Fighter V on the PS4 in Video Gaming, she sat down next to him, asked if she could join in, and he agreed.  They loaded up a match, he as Ryu and she as Chun Li.  Suffice to say, it wasn't even close.  She BODIED him!  Double Perfect, not a single hit connected.  It was insane!  He turns to Briana who's nearby and asks, "do you wanna play?"

You could see the pain on his face.  Poor soul...

Aya is insanely good at Street Fighter.  Far more than she will ever let on.  Don't fall for her tricks!  I kid, I kid.  She's awesome.

In addition to the tournaments this weekend, there was an insane grudge match that went down in Video Gaming.  A small group of friends have run a Mario Strikers league for several years now.  These guys have been going at it for a long time, and the salt generated from all the smack talk could rival the salt mines in Eastern Europe.  This time, though. everything is serious.  Big wagers on line. Biri hasn't cut his hair in 5 years.  If he loses, he's shaving his head.  AJ put something huge on the line.  If he loses, he's burning over $300 worth of hentai.  There's 15 DVDs, three PC games, and a handful of other items.  This wager was made two years ago, and they're only now getting around to settling it.

Biri scored the first goal within 30 seconds. And it kept going from there.  It was slaughter.  Around the 9 minute mark, AJ scored his second goal of the game, making it 16-2.  His friends all started chanting, "14 more! 14 more!"

Now, there was a Mario Kart tournament going on not even 6 feet away from these guys.  People stopped watching Mario Kart to see these guys going at it.  The game was utter carnage.  The final score?  Biri won, 35-2!  Adding insult to injury, Saturday was AJ's birthday.  The game ends, and his friends start singing Happy Birthday.  That hentai is getting torched!

Sony Room
In addition to our regular offerings, we had representatives from both Sony and Microsoft!  Both companies brought consoles, free swag, and other awesomeness to Detour.  We had Microsoft last year, and Sony just HAD to join the fray.  Not that I'm complaining, mind.  It's great for them and the convention.

Microsoft Room
I found it funny that both groups brought Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 with them.  Then again, it was a popular game!  I don't think it ever took any time off when the representatives were there.  People certainly loved talking to the representatives, though.  Both rooms were constantly packed!

Truth be told, I didn't really get out of gaming much at all this year.  When I did, though, I did make sure to get some pictures.  Some of the gaming staff helped out, as well.  I'm glad they did, so hat's off to Josh Paquette and Robert Setter for their assistance!

Some of the photos I took came out a little blurry. I had a brand new camera, and getting used to manual focus on the new lens was a little difficult, evidently.

On Saturday morning, Lisle Wilkerson stopped by Electronic Gaming to pay us a visit.  We ran an event called "Play Tekken with Nina Williams," in which attendees could play Tekken Tag Tournament 2 with Lisle.  She voices Nina in the video games, and she told stories about working in voice acting and other awesome stuff like that.  The audience had a ton of fun, and they definitely loved having her there.  Big shoutout to Lisle for joining us, and thanks for the picture!

Photo: Robert Setter
The big highlight of the weekend, however, was the Random Tournament on Sunday afternoon.  A whopping 22 people showed up for the wackiet, zaniest tournament anyone could ever imagine.  Nothing like choosing games at random to see if you can stack up.  Jarrell, one of the guys from the grudge match on Saturday, was up in the first round, playing Katamari Damashii.  Half the fun of the Random Tournament is that most people have never played some of the games mentioned.  Jarrell did not know how to play Katamari Damashii, nor did he know of the game's existence.  So we forced him to watch the opening cinematic.  There were no regrets for this absurdity.  And everyone loved it!  A small group of us started singing the theme song from Katamari Damashii as we were setting up, which was fun for everyone involved.

Photo: Robert Setter
Also in the Random Tournament lineup was Burger King Pocketbike Racer.  This game was far more competitive than it ever should be, but that's what people loved about it.  Nothing like seeing Subservient Chicken racing against Whopper Jr. for bragging rights and glory.  A couple people talked about wanting Burger King, and I (admittedly half joking) said, "grab me some chicken fries!"  About 20 minutes later, someone comes back with a thing of chicken fries for me!  Big shout out to Ben for being awesome.  You're great!

Photo: Robert Setter
The one game nobody expected, however, was Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi.  If you've never played this game before, you're not missing much.  It's a terrible game, horribly unbalanced, and god-awful graphics.  But with the Random Touranment, that's where it has a chance to shine!  Adding to the insanity is
the character names.  There's nothing like a Tusken Raider named Hoar!  Hoar was the crowd favorite right out the gate.  When Hoar pulled out his stick, the audience cheered.  When Hoar beat up Luke Skywalker with the stick, everyone cheered. When the audience started chanting, "Hoar! Hoar! Hoar! Hoar!" people walked away from the Pump machine and looked at the audience like they were crazy.  They're not wrong, but that's what makes the Random Tournament awesome!
Kris T, left, defeats Binh L, right, in sudden death. Photo: Robert Setter

I think I surprised several people at the Random Tournament.  One of the games on the list was Split Second.  They played Survival Mode.  Fewer controls to deal with, easier to pick up and play.  But the thing about Survival Mode, if you've read my review, is just how utterly insane it is. And the people loved it!  Nobody expected Survival to be such a fun gameplay mode, and nobody expected the thrills and spills that came with it.  There were a couple of neck and neck races that were decided by who could survive the longest in Sudden Death.  Bear in mind, that's no small feat.  All the barrels being dropped out the back are now going to kill you instantly.  And they're everywhere! Yikes!

During the tournament, I asked the attendees if they're going to buy a copy of Split Second now that they've seen it in action.  A half dozen people instantly raised their hands.  I'm okay with this!  The tournament ran really long, we went over by about an hour and a half.  I was not expecting that, but I'm absolutely okay with it.  I also lost my voice shortly after the tournament ended, and was mute through most of Monday as well.  Like I said up above, you'd think I'd learn by now...

All in all, the convention was great.  There was a lot of really cool people that showed up, and like every year, it's always for a good cause.  This year's Charity Auction raised $18,000 for the American Red Cross.  In addition, the man known only as "Waffles" ran Waffles for Hope out of his room party again this year.  He and his wife raised over $2,000 for Child's Play, another phenomenal organization I love to support.  Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Waffles, and I can't wait to see you guys do this again!  There was a woman who went into labor Saturday night while in line for the Cosplay Contest, and a new bundle of joy has entered our world.  Welcome to Earth, little one!  I'll be seeing you at Anime Detour in the future, I gather...

Gaming received the biggest compliment ever from Briana at the closing ceremonies.  She went up on stage and told the audience that the gaming room at Anime Detour was better than the one at PAX.  I was floored that she said that.  I could not be happier to get that kind of recognition from one of our guests.  So thank you Briana, if you ever read this.  I appreciate the sentiment, and I'm glad you had fun this year.  Hopefully you'll be back?

But yeah, that's all I got.  Come check out Anime Detour next year, and Don't Stop the Beat!

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