One of the largest anime, video game, and pop culture conventions in Ohio brought in the crowds from the unusually mild winter weather. Snow didn’t hit until later Sunday, leaving the entire weekend open to fans of all ages to enjoy their respective fandoms. Hotels were sold out and costumed characters could be seen walking up and down the streets of downtown Columbus, Ohio.
This year provided interesting obstacles for the convention staff to work around – in particular the major construction that is underway at the Hyatt and Greater Columbus Convention Center. With some hallways and areas completely blocked off and some elevators confined to only a few floors, one would expect things to be a mess. But staff were able to clearly label cramped hallways to keep traffic moving and alternative routes were made. The remodeled areas that were finished are impressive, and leaves anticipation as to how everything will look when the project is complete.
With certain areas being unavailable, the game room this year moved to the other end of the convention center and took up a dead end hallway. While that may sound cramped, the area was actually opened up well, and there was plenty of room for fan favorite arcade games and consoles alike.
The cosplay costumes throughout the weekend were impressive as always. Gaming fans recognized many familiar faces – from large Final Fantasy gatherings, to Nintendo, Bioware, Resident Evil, and so many more. With the recent release of both The Force Awakens and Star Wars Battlefront, Star Wars cosplays were naturally among some of the most popular for fans.
Plenty of merchandise was available for purchase in both the dealer’s room and the artist’s alley – one favorite of gamers being a booth that sold classic game cartridges and accessories along with modern collectibles like the ever popular Nintendo Amiibos. There was something for everyone there, and even an appearance by the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming clubs. Sporting their screen accurate Star Wars costumes, they collected donations for Make A Wish from attendees who felt like trying out their Battlefront skills in real life – by shooting Nerf guns at real life troopers!
The weekend was enjoyable despite what could have been major hiccups with the location. Ohayocon has proved its ability to be adaptable in what can be an extremely tough situation for such a large convention. Staff was helpful and courteous as well, encouraging more people to give a second look at one of the Buckeye State’s largest conventions that continues to grow each passing year.