Atusacon held this year's edition on a very diffrent and new location. The ICC in Gent instead of the old trusted Antwerp Location. So it was up to us to discover how they managed to adopt to this new venue.
So the first thing to note is that it is a little bit tricky to find the entrance and especially find good parking spots near it. You do have an underground lot tough. Once we sorted this out we went inside at around 12:00. usually the time where people where lining up a bit to get inside on the old location. Now we confronted a crew just sitting around waiting for someone. There was a crowd seperation of advance payed and pay-as-you-enter ques.
Then there was not really anything in the very large income hall. Everything was tucked away at the back. On the groundfloor you had the usual quite large shopping area, a small gaming section, some pokemon duel tables and a large demo area for martial arts. If you did not check the website you would not have known there are 3 floors in this venue and Atusacon itself, No clear easy discovered signs.
The first floor contains only a fresh pizza stand and entrance to the lower sections of the auditorium, Thats it. Nothing to see here, moving on.
the second floor holds a small room crammed full of gaming consoles. a room dedicated to a dance-dance type of setup and a formal japanese dinner area. Of course there are also 4 rooms on the other side wich hold panel discussions and lectures about various subjects.
After exploring everything we are now looking to all the activities. By far the most fun and the most people are found in the shopping area, the gaming aera's and the food stands on the top floor. Besides that, you can find spots who are really quiet. Gaming includes like usual all the know consoles from old to super new. And the most fun is the 2 big screens where you can team up and mash it up in an 8player free for all Mario Smash bros. Fun guaranteed! The looks i recieved when grabbing a strange tabled-like nintendo console?. And ending up on the second spot while playing this for the first time ever are priceless! Most gamers in that row of seats where seasoned smash bros players. We also tried out an old dbz game on an old nintendo console and some fighter game containing characters from many less known Manga series.
Next to the gaming room was the Dance-Dance-Revolution room wich played really loud anime-like techno, j-core, nightcore and other tracks. The bass was thumping quiet good though. Besides that we also took a look at the lecture rooms. This was not for the ordinary occasional anime lover but for the hardcore nerd. Most lectures went about subjects we never heared of. So This failed to pike our intrest and we think the crowd felt this too. The rooms where empty most of the time. A point for improvement.
the very large auditorim also went largely unused the day we where onsite(saturday).This is a real shame and you clearly see the space Atusacon still has to grow to fill this up. There was a cosplay cloud groupphoto at 14:00 and afterwards nothing till 17:00 for 1 concert of an hour. While the activities in the lecture rooms stretched till far after 22:00.
So we cut our day short around 16:00 as it felt a little bit too thin to continue to dragg you around. By far the most intresting and time consuming are the gaming room and the mercandise area. If you look beyond that, there is not really much going on. The venue is far to spacious to be filled up enough to keep you here for hours. After an hour walking around you already have the feeling you saw it all. The most memorable things where the gaming, and the demonstration by a real Ninjitsu Dojo from Gent. Thats cool stuff! All the tricks you see in ninja type movies with chains and the like do have a real base.