The History of Anime Punch is a tale with no beginning, and one that we
fight to keep from having an ending.
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Fieldcon
go back to our roots, we must look to "Animate!", the OSU anime club.
Even we do not know the complete history of this club. What we do know
is that it's at least ten years old, that it used to have an active
internal fansub group, and that it hosted the prolific server
"Soyokaze," an instrumental part of early online fandom. For all we know, this club has existed since
before Starsha of Iscandar offered her support the survivors of Earth.
What we do know, is that in 2004 a girl named Susan took charge of the
In the club's more-recent history, there was
a loose tradition of holding some sort of larger spring event for club
members, later named "Bakuhatsu Anime Fest". In 2005, Susan decided to
have it take the form of a campus wide cosplay event. Fearing that
cosplay alone wouldn't be a big enough draw, she enlisted the help of
Michael, who had experience from staffing various Ohio anime
conventions, to help make it more interesting. Eventually, the plan
settled on throwing a single-day "micro-convention". While coming up
with a name, "Anime Punch" was among the first suggestions, but was
immediately rejected for being too lame. Unfortunately, nothing else
seemed to stick, and "Anime Punch" was a loose translation of
"Bakuhatsu Anime Fest", so they gave up and went with it.
Microcon was a testament to the ability and greatness of the core AP
staffers: There was next to no planning put into it, no staff was
scheduled, and no obligations were pre-written or planned. It amounted
to a rough schedule of events, two video rooms, a main programming
room, a panel room, and a game room. It probably should have collapsed-
the framework was in place, but there was nothing holding it together.
However, by virtue of the devotion, knowhow, and independent expertise
of the members of Animate (most of whom became the foundation of AP),
more than two dozen showed up to staff, bringing TVs, video games, and
the initiative to work hard without any real instruction. Even more
amazingly, over three-hundred people showed up for the event! They, who
had agreed they would be satisfied with forty people, were amazed to
have nearly ten times that many arrive. It was pretty awesome for all
Then it ended, they broke down, cleaned up, and
retreated back to their home base in the Baker dorms to play the new
Naruto game, drink soda, eat pizza, and watch some anime (an Urusei
Yatsura movie, some Magical Project S, and 4play, the clubs favorite
hentai). It's almost hard to believe that is how this all started.
the success of what later came to be known as "AP:0," the staff became
ambitious. Though still overwhelmed by Microcon's turnout, Michael took
over as head of the convention-related aspects of the anime club and
began talking to hotels. Before they knew it, they had found one,
negotiated, and drafted a contract. As if mandated by the Fates
themselves, those who had gone to the signing of the contract returned
at the conclusion of the episode of Genshiken where they decide to go
to Comiket as vendors, and in the wake announced that Anime Punch would
become a three-day event held in a real hotel!
Of course, this
added a lot of liability. The difference between success and failure
ballooned from seven-hundred dollars to a much more serious thirty-five
thousand dollars. If staffers didn't show up, it could mean
pandemonium. If guests flaked, it would be a mess. If the game room
didn't materialize, there could be a riot. The stakes raised
considerably that night.
It was in the face of these odds that
Anime Punch found its place in the world. Trusting in the power and
ability of its staffers, AP decided to avoid the traditional
departmental structure that most anime conventions employ and
everything was decided by the collective. Positions were never
assigned, staff schedules were never written and, overall, it was an
entire year of "fly-by-the-seats-of-our-pants" convention management.
It was often (half-)jokingly stated: "We promote the convention, we
don't plan it."
During this period, Anime Punch found its core
principles and soul. Disillusioned with the monotony of other
conventions and their cookie-cutter feel, the staff of Anime Punch
decided to create a revolution against the conventional convention; a
revolution against fandom itself. It was unanimously agreed that this
event would never pander to the fickle pop interests of fandom at
large, and would stay true to what the staff themselves wanted to do;
that this convention would never fall into a rut, and would always
bring something new to the table year after year; that it would not
have the same things that all the other conventions did, and would not
fit into their mold; that it would create new events, new panels, and
even new ideas; and when they had to do something that everyone else
did (like cosplay) that they would do it in a new way. With this spirit
in mind, the event was subtitled "The Armageddicon" - A revolution in
the way we think about anime conventions.
In an odd twist of
fate, the Armageddicon of 2006 saw great benefit from its inexperienced
staff. Few had ever worked for other conventions and thus were not
already set in their ways of thought. Only Michael (the "Kaiser") had
experience at the top levels of organization, and only a handful had
any experience at all. Michael at the helm, the energetic Armageddicon
forces came up with their own solutions to problems that had been
solved a decade prior by everyone else. While much of this was
re-inventing the wheel, it drew the core AP staff together and helped
them rethink every minute detail of the convention. In that time, at
that place, the staff spent nearly an entire year together, day in and
day out, working relentlessly to build something great; something that
had never been before and might never be again.
Because it was
a rejection of the convention conventions, the theme for 2006 was a
communist revolution and the theme color was red- a symbol of
revolution and homage to its Ohio State roots. AP was declared a
convention of the people and invited everyone to contribute ideas and
suggestions. "You suggest it and we'll do it!" was the call and "do it"
they did: a number of signature events were born of innocently-given
suggestions made by complete outsiders.
In keeping with the
rejection of others' precedent, an important decision involved finding
the focus of the convention. As AP was built from an anime club, and to
further distinguish the Armageddicon from the numerous other Ohio
conventions, it was decided that it would be "Anime Only," with the
focus firmly centered on anime, rather than "anime plus anything
remotely Japanese." At the time, the only other anime event in the
Columbus area was Ohayocon, which billed itself as a "Japanese Culture"
convention. Ohayocon was doing a good job of catering to all the
elements of Japanese fandom, so the AP crew felt they could get away
with locking on to the one thing all the fans had in common. By
limiting the convention to a single topic, it was thought they could
better explore it.
AP also decided to have a much stronger
academic focus than other anime events. Being a bunch of college
students, the staff felt that they had the ability to raise the bar on
fandom. At that point the teenagers had started to outnumber the adults
in fandom, and many adults stopped going to the conventions as more and
more of the programming was oriented to an audience they weren't a part
of, and at a level they found insulting. Anime Punch, with its aim to
be the con for disillusioned con-goers, declared themselves the
"college-aged convention". All panels were to be held at a college
level, professors and academic guests were invited to speak, and
censorship was considered a taboo. Around this time the staff started
hearing rumors that AP was a major party convention. Although it is
still unclear how those rumors got started, the staff decided to roll
with it, as partying was also a part of the college experience. Prior
to that, few AP staffers drank.
The staff also wrote a plot for
their event, and set it in the year 2096. The year was chosen because
several staffers were fans of the ELO album "Time" and even more so of
the animation studio GAINAX. Back before they founded the studio, the
staff of GAINAX had hosted several science fiction conventions, and had
created opening animations for them. For the 22nd Japan Science Fiction
Convention, they produced "Daicon IV," featuring the ELO song
"Twilight" (later used in the Densha Otoko opening to parody the
original Daicon animation). The following track on that album was
titled "Yours Truly, 2095". As the staff wanted to have the convention
set sometime in the future, idolized Studio GAINAX, and had started in
2005, they moved the date of the convention 90 years into the future.
had a solid year of planning, the convention itself was extremely
successful. There was an unprecedented atmosphere of togetherness, and
a reckless sense of instability. Dozens of figurative fires sprung up,
and the staff was running around in circles putting them all out, but
the attendees seemed energized by that atmosphere, rather than upset.
The new events and attitudes were very well received by most, and many
attendees contributed to the fun by spontaneously starting things on
their own. Somewhere in the well-coordinated chaos that was AP06, a
certain vibe was found between staff and attendees. It was an
unparalleled feeling of unity that hadn't been felt at an anime
convention for years, and will likely never be felt again.
planning for 2007 started amidst a heavy post-convention depression of
the staff. Having worked together for so long and so hard, literally
eating and sleeping together for months as a pack, the void left after
the convention's end was crippling to morale. The anime club was a
ghost town that spring, and many of the staffers' GPAs dropped
considerably that quarter. Due to a scheduling conflict, they were
unable to return to the same hotel for 2007, and were not having a lot
of luck finding a new location. Eventually, and against their better
judgment, they signed with the Radisson Worthington; a small,
awkwardly-laid-out hotel about a block south of their old location.
Every trip to this venue brought with it more despair.
then, the seeds of a new hope were found! As relations with the
Radisson became more and more strained, the staff discovered the
Columbus Airport Marriott, a hotel with an identical layout to the 2006
location. One meeting with the sales representative was enough to
convince the staff that this was where they needed to be. AP and the
Radisson mutually agreed to end their contract, and from that point
forward, planning flourished again, the Armageddicon forces were
reenergized. Lost vigor restored, there were again many late nights
filled with laughter, plotting, scheming, ping pong, foosball,
foos-pong, and the clackity-clack of Guitar Hero controllers.
of the practices established in 2006 carried over into the planning of
2007, including the idea of a backstory. The theme from the previous
year endured in modified form: the revolution had been won, and the
revolutionaries found themselves the new fascists, unable to reconcile
their beliefs with the harsh realities faced by those trying to rebuild
a divided and war-torn nation. The disciples of Mao found themselves to
be the axe-men of Stalin, and although the propaganda still spoke of
the constant state of revolution any dissent was answered by a chorus
of patriotic Kalashnikovs.
Although the theme had become jaded
and twisted, the staff was largely the same, and their spirit remained
uncorrupted. They still aimed to push the envelope, and stayed true to
their goal of being a new experience, tempered by good response to the
"Anime Only" and "College Aged" goals that the first Armageddicon had
established. Just as the plot from the previous year advanced into
2097, in many ways, the planning for the 2007 event was a continuation
of the first Armageddicon.
In 2006, the musical guest had been
Steve Conte, a well-rounded, extremely respectable musician who had a
following in both the anime world (for his work with Yoko Kanno in
Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell) and in the New York music scene
(we've even seen him as a guest on the Conan O'Brien show). Although he
was solo, he put on a phenomenal show and would be a hard act to
follow. He also set the dangerous precedent of AP having extremely
noteworthy musical guests, one that the staff has since committed to
keep up. The Protomen were the perfect solution to this problem. Their
discovery helped the con commit to a glorious music tradition, and also
fired up the staff and the attendees alike. Anime Punch may very well
have been the first anime convention to have a full fledged mosh-pit.
the convention hit, it hit hard. Due to a series of glitches with both
the staff and the printers, the badges were not ready until noon
Friday. As the line grew restless, the staff settled on an open
convention for Friday's events. Everyone could go see what they wanted,
and could get the badges at their leisure without having to wait in a
line all day. While the it was almost certainly a loss financially,
it's widely accepted to have been the correct decision, and congruent
with Anime Punch's goal to put the people first.
registration debacle was the first of many glitches in 2007. However,
it was similar to 2006 in that most were minor and didn't affect the
overall experience. Any real catastrophe was safegaurded against by the
hardened Armageddicon staff, though many of the small issues were
easily preventable and many notes were taken for future events. The
biggest and most famous glitch revolved around the emergency
cancellation of the "Hentai Olympics" - but that story shall never be
put into writing.
In spite of these issues, the convention was
extremely successful: It was very well received, and had a lot less
screw-ups than the first Armageddicon. While in 2006 there had been a
lot of wild spontaneity just outside the boundaries of control, it was
a concern of the staff that the chaos was less "creative and
productive" and more "dangerous and threatening," so greater attention
was paid to things that might be unwholesome during the weekend. It was
still a lot of fun and had a great atmosphere, though, and many of the
more disconcerting rumors and accounts were found to be false. The only
truly negative feedback to come from 2007 was from the furry community,
and that was rooted in an unfortunate misunderstanding. It was
regrettable that the convention didn't reach the same chi that it had
in 2006, but they figured that's how "once in a lifetime" atmospheres
work and looked to the brighter side, appreciating the substantial
growth seen that year.
After 2007 there was the
usual long, dark teatime of the soul. Some of the people who had been
with the convention from the very beginning dropped off the face of the
planet, never to be seen again. However, unlike previous years, there
was already a lot of momentum being put towards the next event. Once
again, a new hotel had to be chosen. Attention was especially placed on
space as it had been extremely crowded at the Marriot, and a location
with more breathing room was essential. The staff accepted a favorable
offer from the Crowne Plaza, a hotel with a drastically different
layout than the previous venues. A long look at previous themes and
ideals was also taken, to ensure they were in alignment with the cause
that the staff believed in. Most of the ideals remained, but a lot of
the themes began to change. Never being content with running the same
convention year to year, the similarities between 2006 and 2007 were a
disappointment, and the 2008 Armageddicon was to be different from the
outset. Although the communist/fascist themes were not completely
weeded out, the convention started on the path of taking its theme from
a specific anime. To those close to the staff, it came as no surprise
that the first official theme-show of Anime Punch was made by Studio
Gainax and was having a tremendous affect on members new and old:
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. With its theme of expanding outward, guns
forward ballsyness, and the chorus of "Fight the Power!" it was the
perfect fit for the Armageddicon. The plot of the Armageddicon advanced
another 100 years into the future, bringing it to 2198, away from the
bygone revolution and the misery of its outcome.
in 2008 went a lot more streamlined than in previous years. Some new
programming was experimented with, but it required little involvement
on the part of the core staff. A lot was accomplished in a small amount
of time and many hands made for relatively light work. For the big
musical guest the convention staff decided to take a gamble on Hsu
Nami, a then-unknown experimental Asian-Rock group that was just
beginning to get some exposure. To stick to the theme, the band
graciously agreed to learn and perform several anime songs recommended
by the convention. AP also expanded its cadre of academic guests, while
slimming the number of industry guests.
After all the planning
and preparation put in, the event itself went extremely smoothly.
Registration ran flawlessly, never getting backed up. Video didn't
cause any big problems (though it maintained its inability to be
completed before the very last moment). Hsu Nami turned out to be an
incredible experience, far surpassing the expectations of the con staff
and maintaining AP's record of having excellent musical guests. The
experimental RFID badge system worked almost perfectly and cosplay even
finished early. The fundamentals of the convention itself ran so
smoothly that the convention chairman was actually became frustrated
with how easily it all went by. Ominously, he vowed to make the next
year more interesting one way or another.
Alas, it wasn't
completely smooth sailing, and what problems did arise ended up being
extremely frustrating. The night manager of the hotel decided to be in
bad-cop mode the entire event, and would go out of his way to be to
trouble con staff and congoers. Fortunately, he was an isolate; the
rest of the hotel staff was stellar the entire weekend. The frequency
with which people were actively obnoxious and troublesome was also
greater than in years-past. There were three guys in particular who
managed to get red paint all over the hotel and the staff had to forgo
sleep and partying Saturday night to scrub walls until 6am to undo the
damage. Damage to the premises, otherwise, could be described as
When the dust had settled, 2008's revolution proved an
extremely successful event. Most of the attendees claim it to have been
the best Punch yet (contrary to the staff opinion), it was financially
successful, and it helped to further establish the Armageddicon's
history of being awesome. Perhaps the least fortunate aspect was that
it marked the last year that Susan would be a part of Anime Punch. The
originator of this great scheme, and the powerhouse that kept con-ops
running in top form at all hours for three years running, she will be
impossible to replace.
In 2009 we lacked the usual wave of depression that normally followed hosting an event. We started later than usual on planning the convention, and that may have contributed to the increased momentum we would experience that year. There was an influx of new staffers, and this year we allowed more involvement from wayward staffer refugees from other conventions. Armed with such an energetic staff we began planning more ambitious events than before, and were better able to perfect the small details we had always struggled with in the past. We also introduced new procedures and checks and balances, moving from a single dictator to a collective board that required all decisions to have a majority approval.
With Armageddicon IV, we returned to our homeland, the now renamed and remodeled 2006 location. For the theme we chose the combined canon of Leiji Matsumoto, and the official movie for this gathering of intrepid souls was "Arcadia of My Youth," the Space Pirate Captain Harlock movie. The convention was set a year after the 2008 event, placing it the infamous year 2199, the year that The Yamato left on its dangerous voyage to save Earth in the classic space epic "Space Battlecruiser Yamato".
Plot wise, we diverged from our previous experiences significantly. Previously, the Armageddicon had always been the rally of survivors. In 2006 we were the survivors of the end, not coming together for shelter or preservation, but to have one last party. In 2007 we found ourselves still alive, and it was a gathering to start a new future! We had proved we could do more than just survive, and it was time to boldly blaze a new path of our own. In 2008 we endured hardship and holocaust. Survivors again, we struck out to take down all those who stood in our way so that we might rebuild in peace. 2009 had a darker story, more in keeping with the tone of Matsumoto's work. Rather than survivors refusing to let our light be extinguished, we were the soldiers sent out to fight an unknown enemy. We went with the knowledge that, whether we lived or died, we would never return to the home we gave everything up for. Where in the past we had sang the songs of freedom, of revolution, and of life; now we chanted the solemn hymns of soldiers sailing to an unfamiliar foreign shore.
Playing in our home court, with a lineup of energetic staffers, good planning, and the Protomen returning as guests, the event was guaranteed to be a success. There were only two major hang-ups. The first was that due to space reasons, the dealers room had to be in an external structure. In 2008 there had been a permanent "tent" that the dealers were in, this year it would not be directly connected to the hotel and would not be climate controlled. Much effort went into finding a suitable tent for them, and no expense was spared in trying to make sure that it was sufficient. In the end, it was woefully inadequate, much to the chagrin of staff and dealers. The other big issue was that due to hotel availability Anime Punch had to move to Easter weekend. It was also a difficult decision, as many staff and attendees have religious and family obligations on that weekend, but there was unfortunately no avoiding it, and we bit the bullet.
As expected from the dates, the convention had less turn out that the previous year. As that was budgeted for there was no real ill consequence from that, and the event was still a financial success. Past that, it was overwhelmingly well received. In terms of audience enjoyment, level of energy, and success of events it was the best year yet for Anime Punch. We had next to no member complaints, no major security issues, and everyone seemed to have a really good time. We did have one injury during a game show, and thankfully the girl was alright, leading us to look into better safety measures in the future. To celebrate The Protomen we decided that rather than have people line up and wait for the doors to open that we would have a peasant revolution in the courtyard to pass the time during the sound-checks. Attendees chanted war-crys, sang protest songs, and waived red flags. To open the event the staff stormed the crowd dressed as riot police and funneled the rebels into the "containment area". This too was greatly enjoyed and we have had much positive feedback from it. In the future we will look to find alternatives to lines for popular events. Alas, there were a few staff casualties from the riot, due largely to a miscommunication, though none were serious. The Protomen put on one hell of a show, and the crowd was perfect. Some still waived red banners, the moshing was as wild as the most intense ska concerts, there was even crowd surfing (quite the spectacle at an anime convention). The Protomen countered our energy by rocking us harder than ever before, and by working some of their then unreleased tracks from the second album into their set.
We also experimented with some new events, most notably the extremely ambitious "Legend of the Hidden Temple". Based on the Nickelodeon game show of the same name, LotHT required far more planning, props, and technological support than any event we have ever seen at an anime convention before. Despite the subsequent injury, the event went over remarkably well and has served to raise the bar on the quality and complexity of our live events. Sub events to this show tested contestant's physical ability, general knowledge, electrical engineering, agility, and ability to assemble a firearm. For the temple the winning team had to search through the entire convention for the prize, being chased by a staff member with a streaming webcam.
After all was said and done, we had put on an excellent show. Our feedback was more positive than ever before, and for a while there was a great sense of accomplishment. Alas, we just can't have nice things. Immediately after the con, a small faction of staffers attempted a coup of the con over various concerns, relevant and otherwise. Unfortunately, they elected to resign as a group, and even more unfortunately to this day spread nasty and untrue rumors about the con and its staff. It is very unfortunate and depressing to see our former friends, staffers, and allies acting in such a manner, especially against us. Now more than ever we have aimed our energy at the fandom community and the flaws within it. It is our chief mission to end the drama and factioning in fandom. We are all brothers, there is no excuse for the bitter rivalries and pettiness between subgroups of anime fandom.
There is a tragic irony to the fact that the most successful AP in terms of attendee enjoyment was viewed as such an objectionable year within the staff, or that the year we "finally get it right" we also have our first major staff drama. However, Anime Punch has always been focused on putting on a good show, and regardless of conflicts happen behind the scenes, our goal will always be to put on the best show possible. While some may want us to become tamer, more generic, more universal, bigger, or more financially successful, our focus will never shift from where it belongs: on the people we put the show on for. Still, following the split many staffers were insecure about the future of the event, and were legitimately upset about the rift in not just our staff, but in our social lives.
2010 had us all very fired up. After so much BS at the end of 09, we were ready to kick some ass and show the world that we will never stop outdoing ourselves! 2010 also marked a great change in the venue, as we left the world of mid-sized hotels and moved into the Hyatt Regency at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. This was (as all venue related issues are) a very difficult decision to make, but we decided to rise to the challenge. The biggest concern going in was that we feared it would feel like a ghost town, especially in stark contrast to our previous years where the principle complaint was that it was too crowded at the convention. In the end, it did feel a bit more roomy than we would have liked, but not to the point that it was lonely. Our numbers went up and we did a good job of keeping the events, gathering areas, and hallways full. Moreover the hotel handled us amazingly and hit the perfect balance of assisting when we needed it without getting into our business. For the first time we looked towards the future as well, perhaps because we had a location with a lot of room for us to grow into. We really locked down on our documentation, focused intently on staff training, and even hired some private security in case of a real emergency.
For the plot we decided that we should time skip all the way from 2199 to Ragnarok, bringing everything to the final battle. All heroes from all ages took up arms and fought ten thousand abreast against the very void itself! Theme wise, we built ourselves around the works of "Kill 'em all" Tomino, creator of Mobile Suit Gundam. It's very difficult to build a plot around both the horrors of war, and the glory of the fight, but for as much as it actually matters we made it work.
We augmented our academic guests a bit, pulling in more professors from out of town than ever before. We also brought in the voice actor Brad Swaile, who was a tremendous addition to our lineup. Along with being a fun and involved guest, he also wore a Rick Nash hockey jersey, wining brownie points among the Blue Jackets fans on staff. Previously to this point our musical guests bounce back and forth between the Protomen, and something artistic/different. We maintained this tradition by bringing in a local Funk group that covered some anime classics (a number from Cowboy Bebop) and wrote some original music about anime. A lot of anime fans didn't quite seem to understand Funk, but that's just something we'll have to work on over time. For the rave we brought in the Benami musician Kosuke Saitoh (DJ Kors K) for his first American convention. This was our second Japanese guest in two years, and our first Japanese performer. Alas, long time guests The Spoony Bards and Patrick Seitz had last minute cancelations and were unable to attend.
Our events went more or less as planned. The Hentai Olympics really came into its own, pushing the bar so incredibly high that we're pretty stressed about how to top ourselves in that department. Legend of the Hidden Temple continued to be massive, difficult, and pretty neat. Distraction may have emotionally scarred an entire audience. The video game room was especially impressive, featuring over 70 game stations in a huge hall. We also introduced a new miniatures game in the tabletop gaming room that utilized Gundam models. No one showed up to play it, but it's a really cool game! We also majorly upgraded the con-suite (the room that provides free snacks and drinks to attendees) and amped our sushi budget by three fold. Last but not least, we hosted a party floor on Saturday night and managed to keep it rocking until 8am.
The thing that really can't be ignored when talking about 2010 was the caliber of the staff. Every year we have good people working staff, but not like we did in 2010. With few exceptions everyone did their jobs above and beyond, and there was an all-time low of slackers who had been around too long to fire. Our veterans were like experts, and the freshmen were smart, reliable, and capable. Whether it was because they had something to prove, or because they are just great, we easily had most capable staff I have ever personally worked with at any con, period.
2011 was a year marked by perfecting our formula. Basically, it was sweet, and we will continue to be sweet indefinitely.
Oh yeah, Fieldcon, et al.
started as a joke, kicked around by the staff at meetings for a laugh.
For better or worse though, the Armageddistaff has an adage of "Once we
say it, we have to do it." This mentality has been responsible for some
of the greatest events and attributes, as well as some of the biggest
mistakes associated with the convention. Fieldcon, however, is a
triumph and success; not just for Anime Punch, but humanity in general.
Its original concept involved projecting anime on the backs of polar
bears, but it rapidly evolved into a nearly feasible plan to have an
anime convention in a world without power.
The first Fieldcon
took place a few months after the first Armageddicon, in 2006. It was a
small gathering of between 14 and 18 people. The legendary tent of the
first Armageddicon was put to use and formed a nearly-functional
shelter. There were no events scheduled but several planned, so that
people could take part in them if they like, and if not so be it. In
the end, most of them involved Frisbees or swords, and a fairly epic
game of Capture the Flag also happened.
As with the first
Armageddicon, many traditions were forged that year, such as starting
and ending the convention with a bonfire (making it a three day event
that only lasts 24 hours), and for sealing that bonfire's sanctity with
a round of Wild Turkey. The erecting of the tent became the traditional
first event of Fieldcon, and has evolved over time as well. Last, and
most importantly, a bold history of playing with fire was established.
kicked everything up a notch. The building of the tent became a hazing
ritual for first-timers. Playing with fire became flaming sword
fighting. Flogging Molly was introduced, as was an epic log run. A hot
chick in a bikini chopped wood with a sword. Live action duck-hunt was
played with shirtless guys and paintball guns. Very little else can be
said about the event that should be put into writing. The stories are
out there, and they are almost always true.
2008 upped the ante
even farther. "Awesome" became institutionalized. The caretakers of the
site left a small mountain of logging refuse to be burned. Ten gallons
of stew was produced. New revelries included sword football (it's like
football, but everyone has a sword), fireball (it's like soccer meets
dodge-ball and everything is on fire), and a brutal game of Battle
Battle Royale was played as close to the movie as
possible, wherein everyone was led deep into the woods (near a cliff),
given a weapon selected at random (with a preset list of abilities and
limitations), and thirty seconds to get away from everyone else.
Everyone had to make it to a preselected area before the time ran out,
and only one could be alive at that point. The weapon rules were
frustrating for some, vicious to others, heaven-sent to a few, and
entertaining to all those watching the game. The rules were cutthroat
Possibly more epic than anything else at this
already-remarkable Fieldcon was the "event" of Saturday Night. Late in
the evening, a category 3 thunderstorm attacked Morgan County. However,
rather than smacking into the flimsy shantytown that was the tents of
Fieldcon, the storm literally parted around it, at one point leaving
the people with a 360° light show of malicious lightning and
earth-shaking thunder. Despite the horrors surrounding it, the
convention was left unscathed.
In 2009 it was business as usual (and in the business of being awesome, that's pretty great). We augmented our forces with a mighty potato cannon that proved to be completely over the top. Capable of projecting a potato clean over a football field, or over three city streets we put it to the test, shooting not just potatoes, but also paint balls, corn, pickles, fire, and Sunny-D. Again we had mighty stew, played a game of Battle Royal (which ended even more epically than before), battled with swords, played sword football, and went on epic side-quests. This year we also had a glorious pinata, managed to climb the cliff, and had a case full of corn! As in 2007, we played a game of Capture the Flag. It was an intense game over a huge field of combat, and had a dramatic ending. Alas, it also got us in trouble as we played it a little late, made too much noise, and one of the players accidentally ran into and broke a hydro-electric controller. The Saturday night partying was a little tamer than in previous years, possibly because we had worn everyone out so much in the day. As always, it was freaking phenomenal, and many of us are already anxious for next years event! 2009 most likely marked the last time that we do not have a set schedule for Fieldcon, as it is growing large.
As expected, in 2010 we introduced a formal schedule of informal events. This worked more or less alright, though in a world where clocks are replaced by cellphones when you get outside of signal range it becomes really hard to know what time it is! Battle Royal continued to be great, and had a mighty influx of new weapons. One of the top brass of Anime Punch sprained both ankles jumping off the top of a vehicle at 25 mph, and then played football on them anyhow the next day. Another guy managed to break a toe during morning stretches, thus proving we can't even do safety stuff safely. Larson got lost in the woods (if you know of his whereabouts please let his family know). Most importantly, we built a fire that was so mighty and intense that it was painful to stand even twenty feet away from it. Still, Louis light a cigar from it directly. To give you the idea of its temperature, it caused grass to burst into flames without contact to a spark. A mini-van did a 180 degree power slide. All in all, good con.
In 2011 business continued as usual. The dining regiment was augmented by the roasting of a whole pig over an open fire. There were less injuries than usual, and no one got lost. The Saturday fire did not impress as much as it did in 2010, but eventually burned itself into a furnace that was able to almost instantly turn a pig corpse into dust.
The staff plans to continue
running Fieldcon until everyone has lost a limb in the course of
running it. There are also tentative plans for "Swimcon" and "Skicon"
but those have yet to materialize beyond the occasional joke.