Up until now I had only ever attended the Armageddon conventions. Over the weekend I attended my first international con - Gatecon.
I really had no idea just how lucky we all really are to have Armageddon.
Gatecon has been running for 9 years, but the level of organisation made it feel like this was its first year. Every year (that I've attended) Bill has put on an extremely well organised Armageddon event. My only grumble with Armageddon's organisation was at last years AuckGeddon when I saw many ppl miss out on photos (or autographs, I don't recall which one it was now as both took place in the same area) because they hadn't been aware tickets needed to be purchased in advance, and sales stopped after a certain time.
Gatecon was a mess. Nothing started on time, guests missed panels because they hadn't been informed of the time change, and it was hard to get a correct (or polite) answer out of a staff member. I watched ppl grow more and more frustrated because none of the staff they asked could point them in the direction of the RDA photos. Itineraries weren't handed out, and no Thursday itinerary was ever put up (so I missed the meet and greet). When I went through registration the woman failed to mention it was even on.
I've often grumbled a little about the costs of photos at Armageddon. $30 always seemed a lot, but I still went ahead and got them.
At Gatecon, the photos there cost US/Canadian$30. Keeping in mind the exhange rate, and the fact minimum wage is $8, the NZ cost doesn't seem so bad.
To attend all three days of Gatecon I forked out close to NZ$500 - just on my entry (this included a numbered seat that was 5 rows back and at no time had a clear view of the stage, entry into the con all 3 days, 1 pre-signed Richard Dean Anderson autograph, and a photo with him.
Armageddon's Silver and Gold passes are a bargain!
We're all extemely lucky in NZ when it comes to conventions. Even though I'm now enjoying a year away in Canada, I'm disappointed I'll miss the next few Armageddons.