Before we start this article I would like to state that this is in no way a ‘review’ or ‘coverage piece’ about the event itself but mainly my personal experiences at the convention:
Coming out of the Summer of Sonic convention seemed to leave me with a few mixed emotions. I was hot, sweaty and angry, but I couldn’t deny that I had fun. So what caused these various extreme feelings at what was essentially just a fan convention made by and for fans of a fictional blue hedgehog? Well hit the jump and I’ll give you a summery of what happened at this years Summer of Sonic.
Walking out of the train station, I was lost trying to find the actual venue. I knew the place but I couldn’t exactly find an entrance to it. However after looking around for two seconds I found a guy dressed up as Amy Rose and knew exactly where I was. So I joined the line to get in. I didn’t have any reservations because they had gone down so quickly, but surely I’d be fine? Maybe an hour or two of waiting and I’d get in and everything would be fine. The queue would only be the very beginning to an eventful day for sure.
5 hours later I still stood in the line exasperated and frustrated at what seemed to be a never ending queue filled with the chatter of a thousand out dated internet memes. This was pure hell. It should be noted that even though we were waiting in line for ages, there were several attempts to bring the fun of the convention outside. With a distribution of free comics and several offers of merchandise to buy. This didn’t stop me though as all I really wanted to do was get inside and look around at all the potential fun I was missing. I was dangerously angry and perhaps worse: Bored. It was around this time however that I was saved from boredom as I randomly made friends with the people immediately surrounding me. I don’t know how it happened but I guess when you’re in line for a certain period of time the ice automatically becomes broken. Or perhaps to take this well known saying to it’s logical conclusion: The ice melted because it was so fucking hot.
If you think I’ve been talking about the line to get in, more than I am the actual convention then I apologize because that is what had the most effect on me. And while it wasn’t anyone’s fault in particular there was a feeling that they had rather underestimated the demand for this convention.
So after all this time we were finally let in. Yes. Amazingly our luck had changed and we were all let inside. Anticipation was in the air as we were lead upstairs onto a balcony directly above the convention. It was here where we were made to wait some more so that we could go downstairs into the actual convention. Yes more waiting. To make matters worse it was even hotter in here. Although it was slightly better than waiting outside, all of our collected patience had been tested and anger had settled on this small crowd that had been gathered to the upstairs balcony.
Here was when rock group Julien-K came onto the main stage to sing a few songs. I personally had no idea who they were but apparently they are very big within the Sonic community. And while I’m very sure they were great I just couldn’t get into it. Honestly I just wanted to go downstairs and play Sonic Generations. Being forced to sit through a band just felt awful and I didn’t really enjoy them because of this. God I wish I managed to get one of those bloody reservations.
However all was not lost. Here was where a mystical being made his way into my life and changed me forever. A guy who was pointed out to me by one of my new queue friends as ‘the guy in the orange shirt’. This great man changed my life so much it’s hard to explain. Maybe it was because I was so hot and angry at the time but seeing him dance and getting really, really into Julien-K’s performance was just hilarious to me. You have no idea how funny it was to see him rock out more than all the other Sonic fans put together. It was magic. The fact that he was the only person that stood out in the crowd made it even funnier. God bless that orange shirt. This became a big in-joke with everyone on the balcony as we all started cheering for him. He is the hero of our time and we had to make sure everyone downstairs knew about him.
So after my life was changed forever in every unimaginable way we finally made our way downstairs and waited (yes again) for some space to be available on the downstairs floor. And after all this waiting we finally made our way into the actual Summer of Sonic. Finally. Now was the time when I got to play Sonic Generations. Sadly though that’s a story for another time. Seriously this article is long enough already without a preview of that game. But I will say that it was fun. Not amazing, but just fun. I’m very much looking forward to it.
After this Yuji Naka, Takashi Iizuka and Jun Senoue came on stage for a question and answer session. This part was genuinely very interesting and the guys had some very funny and cool answers to man of the fan’s queries. For example: Yuji Naka is not very proud of that one bit of Chemical Plant Zone that everyone hates. You know that one platform? Yeah that one. Either way this was obviously the best bit of the convention, and was well worth watching.
While this was going on I took a look at the merchandise for sale. Unfortunately I didn’t actually buy anything as I suspected that all the good exclusive stuff was gone by now. Also I was I getting hot at this point to really care about merch. It was here when the little group that had somehow been formed out of the madness of the previous queue experience went out of the convention for a bit. Thank whichever celestial religious figure that you recognize, that we could get wristbands to go back in or I would have killed someone. I’m not even joking. Probably the guy dressed as Amy Rose if you’re interested.
Outside Takashi Iizuka was having a cheeky cigarette out back. Of course fans rushed up for autographs, pictures, forced hugs and all that stuff. Oh to be a Sonic programmer.
After a while outside and a drink inside the pub opposite where Summer of Sonic was taking place, we made our way back in to see what was going on. Nothing much really. It seemed to have gone quiet for a bit. This was however the calm before the storm as after I got myself a vegetarian chilli dog (I’m not a vegetarian, they just didn’t have any proper meat ones left), the Club Sonic event was put on. Here was where a bunch of remixed music was played on the front stage, while fans raved at the front and danced around vigorously on the floor. No orange shirt guy however, which made me sad.
Now that event wasn’t really my thing, but I could tell people were having fun so I stuck with it for a while. And by ‘stick with it’ I mean ‘went back into the cafe and made an autistic person feel paranoid’ (this was a huge mistake and I feel like the worlds biggest dick for it). Finally Club Sonic ended, and so did the convention. I realize that I missed a huge portion of the convention but unfortunately that whole queue thing happened. There was a farewell speech and an after party but my day had ended. I said my goodbyes and left promptly.
And here we are again, where the story started. A mixed feeling of anger and enjoyment. Yes I enjoyed myself, but was it worth the trouble? The torture of the 5 hour wait? Well in some ways it was. Out of the whole experience I made some new friends and had some big laughs with them. (Seriously big thanks goes out to Kenny, James and anyone else who put up with me for that long, sweaty day.) And I could tell that at the heart of it, was just some (well quite really) odd fans having fun on a day out. And you can’t knock that. Well I can but now isn’t the place to do it so I’ll leave that there. So the answer to the question you aren’t thinking is ‘yes’: I would go again next year. But I better get a fucking reservation or there will be blood.