children, entertainment, life

Dragon Con 2016 –or- How to Disillusion an Appropriately Expectant 9 Year Old

Josh’s birthday was back in March and for his birthday activity, he chose to WAIT 6 MONTHS and save his money to go to the legendary Dragon ConAs I mentioned I was pretty jealous since Jim Butcher was a special guest author this year.  He was there on Saturday but the Mr. and the boy went on Sunday which was fine—I didn’t want my son’s day wasted on getting an autograph for his mom.

A one day pass was $45.  For a 9 year old.

Fine.

I thought he'd want to keep this, but he literally doesn't care if I throw it away or not.
$45 worth of plastic and sadness.

Eternal member badges are picked up in one hotel, general admissions day passes are for sale in a different hotel.

Okay, sure.

He should start going by Ober.
He should start going by Ober.

Josh has been dreaming of this day for a long time and and was able to take $300 of his own hard earned and saved money.  He was excited about typical convention things:  tabletop gaming, trading card games, dice, dice bags, cool shirts, posters, etc.  He is also a huge Battlebots fan, so when he saw there was going to be a Robot Battle exhibition on Sunday, that sealed the deal for the date of attendance.  Unfortunately, he really got none of what he expected.

The Mr. hasn’t gone in 16 years—as long as we’ve been married?  Coincidence?

*whistles innocently*
*whistles innocently*

So obviously, in that amount of time there were bound to be changes.  For a 9 year old with practically carte blanche to spend at will, he should have been in nerd heaven.  I expected him to come home broke and happy and exhausted.  The Mr. was sure he was going to have to use fatherly veto power at least a couple of times during the day.

He spent a grand total of $55.

I honestly can’t believe how bad it was.  To be clear, Robot Battles and Battlebots are not the same thing.  This was made painfully clear with the exhibition of “Ant class” and “Beetle class” micro-bots in the semi-finals.  The matches were broadcast via big screen so people could actually see the tiny things, but they were poor quality and black and white.

Actual and exciting footage.
Actual and exciting footage.

WHAT THE FUCK.  Was Charlie Chaplin running the battle bots track?  (The answer is no, because if he was it would have been very entertaining and possibly scary because he’s been dead for quite some time now.)

There was not one single booth selling gaming dice.  Not one.  Let alone a cool bag for said dice.  He has a nice assortment but we don’t have a cool bag to put it in.  I have been eyeing some cool dragon eye bags but he wanted to wait for Dragon Con so he could physically touch his options before buying.  He’s pretty practical about money—more so than many adults (me included).

Here’s what he did buy:  a new tabletop card game called Epic for $35 and a Fairy Tail tee shirt for $20.  The card game sounds fun and he got to learn how to play at the booth.  He has been trying to teach me how to play but I’m hopeless at strategy games.

Good times.
Good times.

Even more frustrating was that the tee shirt he bought was the same as the shirts that Robin and I saw at the mall.  Same design, same price.  So knowing that he could have just gone to the mall and bought the same shirt (and other cool stuff) he was even more aggravated.  She and I went to the mall that day and had a great time just goofing around for **6 HOURS**and spent too much money.

The best part of the day at Dragon Con for Josh was getting to play arcade games with Dad—Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, all the fun stuff.  For free.  Robin and I spent $25 at Dave and Busters doing pretty much the same thing.  We got home later than Josh and the Mr.  That’s how much fun they had.

Just so frustrating.  To see your child work so hard for something just to see them so deflated is really heartbreaking.  They had tons of other things like superhero stuff and comics but he went with specifics in mind.  Cosplay is fun and awesome and I’m always amazed at the dedication and talent that goes into really nice work but it seems to be the primary focus at Dragon Con now.  I saw a lot of reviews that said how much they loved it and to bring the whole family.  To the parade maybe, since it’s free.

I found an article from 6 years ago that sums it up well for someone traveling for an overnight stay; luckily, we’re local and they only wasted a day.  I feel like there aren’t many complaints about Dragon Con because the people that go are going for exactly what they want:  eye candy and cosplay.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but god forbid you are interested in something else, like games or something pedestrian like that.

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