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Report on: ConBravo! 2016

“A celebration of all things Geek”. Fans of all the traditional convention media like anime, comics, and both computer and tabletop gaming are invited to come and meet other enthusiasts. ConBravo! is a social occasion made for active people willing to interact and play a game like the Godzilla Smash event or going to one of the performances or wandering into a bit of 404s improv comedy. If spend the weekend going around trying to catch Pokemon with your phone, why not spend it in the company of people who are more interesting than whatever Snorlax you’re trying to attain?

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But the one particular niche interest ConBravo caters to is the Youtube Celebrity culture. They’re a generation of self-made stars who might not have mainstream appeal but are known to all the people who spend more time on streaming internet video than they do watching television. People from Screw Attack, Pure Pwnage, and guests like Linkara who manage high production values without corporate backing. One of the largest lines was for the “Thrown Controllers” game show. For people not interested in Youtubers there was Chris Sabat, the voice of Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta – one of the flagship shows of Anime’s conquest of television animation.

The cosplayers all came out to show off their outfits. One of the big guests was the artist Temmie Chang, famous for her work on the game “Undertale” a large portion of the cosplayers were dressed as bipedal sheep and skeletons and flowers because Undertale has absorbed much of the former Homestuck fandom.

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The gaming room had plenty of consoles so everybody could play a bit of Smash Brothers against strangers to pass the time, and the dealer’s room and artists alley took several laps to see all the items for sale – a highly diverse mix of vendors although, although Anime fans would have the best luck finding something to buy. The hottest item for sale were the adorable anime T-shirts from Ocean In Space.

One bother of note, outside food brought into the Hamilton Convention Centre was considered contraband. This wasn’t a great policy, and left many attendee rather peckish for better cuisine than the limited options sold on site. The other complication is because events were spread between several floors on multiple buildings, it was easy to completely miss attractions on a different floor or panels across the street. It’s not as bad as Youmacon’s navigational ordeals but some better guidance would have still helped (Attendee tip: To get to the Sheraton quickly, just cross the street on ground level instead of using the pathway).

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With an organizational crew that’s receptive to feedback and suggestions, it’s easy to see how ConBravo has grown from a humble start as a “Let’s put on a Convention to see if we can.” to an open-concept alternative to corporate events and as new media replaces the establishment, ConBravo’s is designed to keep growing.

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