CONQuest 2023 , which ran from June 2 to 4, had multiple venues including the SMX Convention Center and Conrad Hotel. The event may be one of the biggest events ever in the country as it boasted over 4-5 venues within the SM MOA block. I had a lot of memorable firsts and this is where you can read them as this brief article focuses on my personal highs and lows for CONQuest 2023.
New and Old Faces
This year had bigger names compared to last year’s CONQuest. In terms of Anime and videogames, this year boasted bigger names like Adam McArthur (Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia), and the like. They also added a couple of new Genshin VAs to drop by as well. Sean Chiplock, the voice of Diluc in Genshin Impact and Mishima in Persona 5, was one of the first booths I lined up for. I also got to meet and greet Mr. Cory Yee (Gorou) and Laura Stahl (Barbara/Xinyan) for the first time. I also got to meet Titas Anne Yatco (Raiden/Ei) and Ratana (Yae Miko) for the second time in CONQuest. Safe to say I successfully met Sean, Laura, and Cory for the first time in person and was glad to do so!
As noted, Pokimane, James Reid and Valkyrae were the top names of CONQuest 2023 with big reason. Wherever they were, Pokimane and Valkyrae drew in the crowd. Trust me on this. Me and my friends hung out at their booth and the two ladies randomly walked by the booth next to it. Moments later, the crowd flocked there in less than a minute. Other big name streamers like Spicyuuu, Newt, and Sykkuno, were part of Day 2’s highlight: Valorant Showmatch. It was another first for me to watch a live Valorant match at such a big stage that Saturday.
Merch Booths Galore
As a con-goer, you cannot go wrong with merch booths. I had a limited time going around merch booths but managed to snag a couple of items that piqued my interest. Stickers, Prints, Totebags, keyboard and mouse pads, and even jackets were for sale during CONQuest 2023.
Another high point was the Just Dance booth. They were the MVP for all three days, especially on days 2 and 3. Props to the Just Dance booth for making CONQuest 2023 a memorable time for the people dancing or watching on the sidelines.
Lines and Overbooking
The only low I can say is the obvious one. There were still a lot of lines outside and inside the SMX venue due to overbooking. Now what I can applaud CONQUest organizers was how they executed the two days before Day 1 on claiming the wristbands. While there were long lines outside SMX for wristband claiming, it was moving at a very fast pace and we claimed it in less than one hour. The momentum carried over in Day 1, Friday.
The issue of overbooking/overselling reared its ugly head by Saturday (Day 2). From there some people could not even enter SMX as it exceeded capacity. Other issues also popped up such as lack of coordination between staff and security on access for Premium and media pass holders. Hopefully next time the staff and security personnel will be well coordinated on protocols regarding those with access badges.
While I was happy to be able to meet a handful of Voice Actors from Genshin Impact and International Content Creators, we cannot ignore the big issues on the lines and overselling of the event tickets done by the organizers. I will not be quick to condemn the organizers for this. In fact I do wish CONQuest and other convention organizers to simply learn from the mistakes and improve in the next events they hold. I believe the organizers will learn from the issue and will come back stronger for their next CONQuest event in Manila.
That said, it was still a memorable weekend for me at CONQuest 2023. As a fan of certain videogames and content creators, I am very thankful for the memories I have made and shared with my friends last weekend.
I wish to thank Acad Arena for giving our site a media pass for this year’s convention. We wish them more power and more awesome events.
Photo Credits: The Slickmaster’s Files