By Salvador Villa of Mario Party Wars 10629362_10152447725651185_4154763364410072368_o

Nerd Con was started on the beliefs of uniting and helping the nerd community through events. Located in the California Center of the Arts in Escondido, California, the layout was separated by 4 zones with each one representing different aspects of the con. Zone 1 was where most of the vendors were located at and where the side stage was located at. Zone 2 was the place if you wanted to play games, karaoke, and just hang out and chill. Zone 3 was the main stage area where many cosplayer booth were located at along with plenty of vendors and lots of panels throughout the day.

Zone 4 was for those who enjoyed the outdoors and was located throughout the lawns of the area. The vendor aspect was interesting as you can find vendors throughout each zone and varied from artists, propmakers, cosplayers, store booths, and so on. Overall, the location was great and easy to navigate. Since everything was spread out by each zone, this would represent its own challenges for them to overcome if they continued using the arts center as their venue. I do love the idea of having both indoor and outdoor areas as it adds new atmospheres to enjoy during a con.

This was their second year and it was everything I could have asked for in a small con and more. From the various events and performances to the attendees, there was a little bit of everything for everyone of all interest to enjoy. Many locals were surprised when I told them that I came all the way from Las Vegas to attend this but it was worth it.

Nerd Con Highlights (Mario Party Wars)

Day 0 started off with a little something for the VIP’s to enjoy. All attendees who pre-registered for 2-day weekend passes got the chance to meet up and watch performances by Random Gibberish(a geek comical duo band), a sneak preview for The Video Games, & lightsaber battles by the San Diego Star Wars Society. It felt like a secret meet and greet with special access to performances that will start off the festivities. The atmosphere was just fantastic with plenty of people to talk to all things nerdy and just have fun. The DJ provided great music for all interested to get their grove on and dance the night away.

Day 1 began the following morning and was treated to a VIP only performance of The Video Games, a theatrical act based on The Hunger Games with video game characters. The audience gets to decide from a dozen different video game characters who gets to be crowned the winner. They ranged from classic characters such as Mario, Pikachu, & Megaman to more modern characters like Master Chief, Yuna, & Commander Shepard. Great use of improv, choreography, storyline, & audience involvement make The Video Games a win. Other events that went throughout the day included musical performances, panels, cosplay contest, and much more.

There was plenty of cosplayers around ranging from anime to superheroes to video game and movie characters. There was even an inflatable Hungry Hungry Hippos game to play where you play as one of the hippos and grab as many balls in the middle as you can against 3 others. Not something I’m used to seeing at cons that’s for sure. It all ended with a VIP party where various musical performances such as Random Gibberish, the Phenomenauts, & MC Chris came out to perform. Just like the pre-party on Day 0, the whole area was filled with attendees and special guest all ready to dance and have fun. A rave was even created in one of the rooms for people to show off their dance skills. This was a favorite highlight for me as I got to meet so many new people during Nerdcon and getting to hang out with them during the party made my experience here that much more amazing.

I was unable to attend day 2 as I had to head back to Vegas but days 0 & 1 made it worthwhile to attend. The community, the events, the variety of interests that can be found throughout the convention; it all made it worthwhile. Like any other cons, Nerd Con did have its own problems that they will need to overcome but they were minor for the most part and can be easily fixed for next year. For anybody looking for an event to express their inner nerd and geek, Nerd Con is a great two day event to do just that so when it comes back around in 2017 don’t you dare miss it!

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