Like a Flame at a Moth Convention

Brad Rice | 27 Nov 2007 13:45
Conventioneering - RSS 2.0

Sales are going great for Carlson. The boxed Neo Geo flew off the shelf right away, and he's pulling out a few more from the back. The Daigasso Band Brothers display sold a few copies of the game, and they managed to get rid of some more hand-held games at the same time. The sales help cover the cost of doing business at other conventions, where Carlson had to pay travel expenses. Since Otakon is in Carlson's backyard, he only has to take care of the entrance fee, and he's set.

Carlson says he puts games that haven't sold after three or four shows up on eBay, and the stock will rotate out almost constantly. "I try to make sure to mix up my inventory for almost every show. Some people have the same con schedule as me, and so they'll get disinterested fairly quickly if they keep seeing the same stuff." Carlson is also constantly managing his supply line - friends and family that live in Japan. At any given time, he's putting in orders to five or six different people and makes a couple trips to Japan every year.

Finally, there's a break. Many of the Otakon attendees are off having their first meal of the day, right around 3:00 p.m. Others are packed into FUNimation's panel room, where they're announcing their acquisition of Ouran High School Host Club. What does that mean for the people at Mad-Gear? "Free cookies!" Carlson and the other guys working at the booth shout randomly, just to see who will run by. "It's a great stress reliever and helps break up the day," he says. "We've got to have our own fun, too." Some customers run over to the stand, but everyone there just acts confused.

"One of our favorite things to do is to get a group together and start doing a demo of one of the music games. We'll ask for requests, and we'll play some. As the crowd gets bigger, we'll start to play 'it.'" Some of the people in the crowd will get the song Carlson plays right away - namely the ones there for the convention. Others will take a minute. Soon, everyone groans once they hear the voice singing, "We're no strangers to love." Some people applaud; others walk away. "Doing a live Rick-roll is just too much fun."

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