Break the Con Down: Playthrough Convention
Convention season is upon us! If you’re like me, you go to a few conventions a year and are always on the lookout to add more to the rotation and want to know which ones to avoid. It’s always the worst to travel out of the way, to attend a convention, only to find out that it doesn’t necessarily align with your interests or no one else showed up! On the flip side, almost nothing feels better than having a fantastic time making new friends and having an awesome time sharing an experience and your passions with others!
What’s in a breakdown?
For a Break the Con Down, we look at five distinct ideas that should help you determine whether or not a convention would be a great fit for you and your friends. Those five sections are Basic information (this includes stuff like location, cost, discounts available), what to do (Panels, things to do with friends, food options), What can I buy? (What kind of vendors can you except, are there vendors?), Who’s There (special guests, specialized vendors), and Don’t call this a comeback (growth, is it worth coming back to?)
Now let’s talk a look at a convention I recently attended, Playthrough Gaming Convention.
Playthrough Gaming Convention is an annual con that takes place at the Raleigh Convention Center, in Raleigh North Carolina. It’s located in downtown and has an attached hotel for those who want to stay close to the event site. Tickets generally go on sale a few months before the convention and often have discounted pre-purchase rates up until the day of the event. Being in downtown allows any attendees to transition into the nightlife scene for food and drinks, including a close by barcade or attend some of the local museums in the day before reaching the event.
What to do
Playthrough hosted two different escape rooms, a cosplay contest, board game demos, an rpg play area, a free play arcade area, a small video game system museum/ play area, as well video game tournaments. The convention also hosted a Civ 6 auto-play event as well. Attendees are assigned a random empire on their pass, and at the end of the day whichever leader wins determine which attendees can be eligible for a prize at the end of the convention. They also hold something called “Card Halla”. Through the convention, people build elaborate card towers and houses. Then at the end of the convention, they auction off the chance to throw change at the houses to knock them down. Then, attendees take turns throwing change until all the towers are knocked down. All of the money thrown gets donated to Extra Life. Panels also took place on both days of the convention. These panels ranged from discussing classic games and game collecting to hosting D&D games. The Panels are a fantastic way to dip your toes into a topic you would like to learn more about. Playthrough did a great job of covering a lot of solid topics and introducing attendees to new information.
What Can I buy?
There were a ton of vendors at Playthrough Gaming convention. Tons of different items to purchase. While I was there I got some great deals on some video games, a tarot reading, and some custom artwork done. You could have gotten cosplay supplies, board games, miniatures, and tons of other items as well. Personally, I would like to have seen more video game vendors. It felt a little unbalanced considering a lot of the convention dealt with Video gaming and board gaming. I think if you’re into a little bit of anything you’re going to find something special to take home from Playthrough.
One of the strongest and most enjoyable parts of Playthrough is the attendance of indie developers. Attendees of the con are able to interact with the developers as they demo their games and products. You get a chance to talk to them on a personal level while you learn about their games. I think this a fantastic idea for a convention. It allows a little look into the development side of gaming. For me, this is one of the most stand out parts of Playthrough and the part that I enjoyed the most.
Don’t call it a comeback
Playthrough is a growing convention with a lot of room for growth. This two-day convention can seem a little overwhelming on the first day because of the sheer amount to do. However, if you go in with a game plan, you should have a good time, scheduling issues notwithstanding. The variety of vendors and activities is a strength of this convention and shine for the most part. With that being said, I would like to see more video game vendors and a little more seamless transition between different types of gaming. However, I believe that Playthrough Gaming Convention is worth your time. You can game, shop, and try out a whole bunch of new experiences with friends while being surrounded by vibrant nightlife and great places to eat.
When he’s not digging through bins at the local flea market, Donald Paris is a contributing editor for The NES Page. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte in 2015, and his non-gaming-related work has appeared in several literary journals. His gaming-related work can also be found on East Coast Games. He spends most of his time dissecting video games. All while looking for the next exciting piece of video game history. He is also a graduate fellow of The Watering Hole