How To Have The Perfect Virtual Con Experience
At Legit Nerds, we like to call conventions “Church”. And these times during Covid where conventions have paused, well, we like to call it “hell”. BUT, those creative folks behind our fave cons have risen from the ashes to give us something, anything to cling to during this hellish period. “Virtual” cons!
Cons like E3, Gamescom, Crunchyroll Expo – pretty much most cons now – have come up with a virtual equivalent while we’ve all been embedded in our homes, hiding from the pandemic.
And if you’re thinking that with the potential end of the pandemic ending (get your vaccinations my dudes!) , these virtual cons will just fade into a distant memory, you’d be wrong. Many convention organisers, chuffed with the success of their virtual creations, are planning on integrating a digital element into all of their cons going forward. We can’t always travel the world to visit pop culture events (as much as us Legit Nerds want to!), so virtual cons will always be an excellent way to enjoy sweet, sweet content from afar.
And while these virtual experience don’t have the same flavor as the real life equivalent, we’ve come up with ways that you can absolutely still have a banging home, firmly ensconced on your couch. Read on for ways to level up your virtual cons!
1. Get your food right
Ok, so first off you need to make this an *event*, not just another night at home. Something that good events have in common is good food, so get this sorted as a priority. There’s going to be at least a few hours of entertainment to get through, so plan it out properly. Start with a solid meal or “substantial canapes” to be ready just as the show is about to start. You’ve got time beforehand to do some cooking (or order some sweet Uber Eats), and really lean into it. Go for some of your favorite soul food, or try something new, but importantly make it something you don’t have very often. Again, this has to stand out, not be just another night.
Next, plan your snacks. As you’ve kicked off with a substantial meal, aim for dessert style sweet snacks. Chocolate, biscuits, ice cream (defs ice cream), what ever you fancy, have it sorted. Again, go for something new or that you rarely eat here. You’ve got alot of choice in the world of treats, so make an effort to get something cool.
And last but not least, drinks. Let’s get this out of the way up front by saying that unlike cons, you can freely drink alcohol here. A nice wine, or some craft beer, can really bring everything together (see part 4 below about parties). But try not to get smashed – you’re taking away from the fun of the experience itself if you do that. If, like this author, you don’t really drink, it’s a no brainer that fizzy drinks are a solid option to keep you alert throughout the presentations. Or, if you’re planning a more cosy affair, look at hot drinks like hot chocolate or coffee and maybe splash out on a new flavor (like caramel or white chocolate).
For Aussie readers, if you haven’t had Milo in forever, get down to your supermarket for a can and put your milk at the back of the fridge to get nice and icy cold. You know what I’m talking about…
2. Get your environment perfect
By environment we’re talking what you’re sitting in, and your AV set up. We do not recommend sitting at your computer for a virtual con. This should be a couch and big screen affair. make the effort. It’s easy these days to stream internet content through your TV. Some Smart TV’s will do this directly, otherwise a simple dongle will do, or even just connecting your laptop by HDMI to your big screen will work just fine.
Make sure your audio is booming nice and loud – make it feel like you’re watching a big sports (or esports!) event. Get hype for this.
And of course you’re on your favorite couch. Pimp it up with a bunch of comfy cushions or pillows, and make sure you can put your feet up. This is going to be a long night.
3. Invite friends
This can make the difference between a great virtual con, and a f/cking awesome virtual con. Having friends over, setting up banging food, comfy couches and showing off your big screen and big sound can create a really memorable night. Just make sure they’re your gaming or comic friends so that you’re all into the content.
And if your friends can’t make it in real life, have a Discord party. Just sync up everyone watching the live streams and have your friends in a Discord chat at the same time.
4. Make it a (lan) party
Why not set up a second screen (or screens) for gaming to happen in before the virtual con kicks, and even in between presentations? This can add alot of fun to the night and really get it feeling like an event in your own living room. make it thematic – if you’re watching a comic con, get a superhero game going. If it’s BlizzConline, well of course play your favorite Blizzard games!
Fun party games like Mario Party are an awesome choice. Or, get that authentic con vibe going and play some new indie games, or even some retro titles.
5. Buy something
And the last thing on our list to level up your Virtual Cons is to spoil yourself with a little gift at the end! Mimick that IRL con experience, where buying things you may or may not ever use is a solid part of the fun. Some virtual cons have memorabilia you can buy directly. Or if you’re really into a pop culture or game universe, just juse the wonderful world wide internet to buy yourself something sick. Do the buying in downtime during the virtual con, and have fun perusing and selecting something cool. In a few days it will arrive on your doorstep and you’ll forever have a fabulous memory of your amazing virtual con night in.