Are you a gamer? Do you like anime? If yes, then you have probably heard of CONQuest.
“See you in the Skies” is the official tagline for this year’s CONQuest, one of the biggest gaming and pop culture conventions in the Philippines, held last June 2 to 4, 2023, at the Mall of Asia Arena. AcadArena handled this yearly event. The first event held in Iloilo City was in 2017, with at least 700 attendees. This year, because of the accessible location in Metro Manila and as the pandemic subsided, thousands of convention-goers attended.
What people went to CONQuest for
CONQuest is a gathering for people with similar hobbies and interests in gaming, anime, cosplay, comics, music, and more. A lot of conventions are like this, but why is CONQuest different? Conventions have booths where you can buy merchandise made by talented artists, games, and computer parts such as keyboards, mice, hard drives, microphones, and more. But in CONQuest, there were booths and stalls for guests and gaming companies such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Call of Duty: Mobile, League of Legends, Valorant, and more.
Besides the booths showcased, events, show matches and game tournaments are scheduled differently on all convention days. You can also meet and greet with known cosplayers, voice actors, streamers, and even idols such as Sykkuno, Newt, Pokimane, Valkyrae, Joshseki, The Rose, etc. Only a few conventions have such a massive lineup like this one!
Awesome cosplays by many people were also seen everywhere, even outside the venue! The event indeed showed that the cosplay community is alive and well. Schools and universities from all over the Metro also participated in collegiate tournaments and show matches.
See you in the Lines.
We went to this year’s convention, and as much as we were excited, we also got disappointed about this year. Although many of those good things happened, many issues and challenges were present. So, what exactly happened?
We were able to secure tickets for the convention. When we arrived, we were in awe of the sheer amount of people at the venue! The lines on both sides were quite long. As we lined up, getting into the venue took an hour or more. The security also informed us that too many people were inside and it exceeded the capacity. Luckily, there were food stalls outside where we could buy food while waiting in line, and the weather was not too hot. We got inside before the show match we aimed to watch started. It was not overcrowded inside, but there were still tons of people.
Many of these problems happened because of the overselling of venue tickets, which caused many people to line up for hours just to be told they could no longer get in. The venue is estimated to have a capacity of 18,000, but it is assumed that the tickets sold exceeded that.
It was sad to see the many cosplayers who couldn’t showcase their crafts because of the long lines as well as those people who bought VIP tickets and were not given the treatment they paid for. It was especially difficult for PWDs who were also not given proper accommodation. Many people got upset, frustrated, and mad because it was too inconvenient.
Numerous issues with international guests were also heard and seen. The staff should have informed many guests that the meet and greet would be in public, not private, as they had been told.
Overall, while we had fun and met our friends and famous people, it was not a positive experience due to the many issues. Let this be a learning opportunity for the organizers and guests/congoers.
Let’s not be too ambitious and hasty with our plans. We can always take it one step at a time and not be too blinded by our greed. Like Icarus, the organizer might have dreamt too high and did not expect the outcome.
How about you? How was your experience with CONQuest?