T-Mode 2010 Overview

Tony Testerman 2010 Leave a Comment

It has been a very long time since I have been to a small convention such as T-Mode. There was an atmosphere here of friendliness, not only with the staff, but the attendees and hotel staff as well, that was a welcomed change from the larger, oft times impersonal conventions. Though a very nice hotel, it is deep in the beautiful city of Old Alexandria, Virginia. Traffic was a bit of a nightmare, with the cities narrow streets causing backups and a general loss of direction a common likelihood. If not for the location it would almost be the idea location. While T-Mode is very nice, to the more experienced con-goer, it is really only a one day ordeal. Keep in mind though, small conventions are not about doing a lot. They are about the social experience, where you get to experience first-hand the pure joy of being a fan of the culture. Its what Otaku’s really need to do from time to time: Go back to the roots of your fandom, even if its only for a day. Its like going home.
The dealers room is not very big with only eight dealers total and a few of them better known artists. The atmosphere is quite relaxed with a very relaxed sale approach and only one major dealer (J&J). The Artists Alley was setup in the main hallway, altogether not the most ideal location. Especially when it was partly filled with booths from other, more well rounded cons like AUSA, Katcuson, and such. Up on a second floor, there is another layout of artists and dealers. Again, organization and layout is definitely an area in need of improvement. It is to be expected of a smaller convention though it is not without its perks for guests. The usual pain of crowding is a all but nonexistent in the dealer and artists alleys at T-mode. While not a concern for con goers, a fair amount of vender’s commented that there was no issue with setting up and tearing down booths even with them being in the main walkways and having to do so at the end of every day.
The T-Mode staff was pleasantly friendly. Staff remarked that attendance has risen substantially from its previous year due to their presence at Sakura Matsuri. When asked about the success of the “Passport Program”, staff stated that members with the function could attend special events such as the Breakfast with the Guest, kind of like a backstage pass.
The Table Top gaming room, powered by Games Club of Maryland, had a wide variety of rare table-top games. The room had a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere though it should be noted that there were no really main stream games going on. The video game room, powered by our friends at GPX gaming, made due with limited space amicably with a good assortment of games. They held a Rock Band contest, even going as far as to set up a digital drum set for contestants to practice on. The sheer amount of equipment was a little much. With the flow, small room, and amount of equipment it made things a tad suffocating.
Iron Artist was an interactive and creative twist on the Iron Chef television show, showcasing different artists skill sets. It was a fun and slightly addictive crowd pleaser to say the least.
Cosplay Variety Show was a fun filled event with the combined MC might of Todd and Christian Vee, a Tiko Drum intermission, and Jon McDevitt, the leader singer of Geist, as a judge on the panel.
Cosplay judging was at an almost professional level, but very mild mannered and respectful. It was well done cosplay contest for a convention as small as T-Mode.
I guess the main question in closing is, “Would I return to T-Mode?” Even though I spent only a day at T-Mode I would definitely go again. Its nice to relax and be a fan again. Its a pleasant change to merely sit and speak with fellow con-goers that have a common interest and swap opinions about the same culture you so adore.

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