lol @ us.
Every year, Summer of Sonic improves. The team gets more experienced and the official support from Sega gets more impressive. That this year maintained that level of improvement given the obstacles in the way is quite something. Event organisation is my profession and the relocation after the issues that the Hove Centre had are amongst our top worries. While I've moaned about aspects of past events, I've done so out of a genuine desire to see the event improve and the team has never let me down. Every concern I've had from past events has been addressed. Demo pods were increased from last year (which already had more than 2010). The policy for the signing desk was a massive improvement. However, with the increasing professionalism of SoS comes the odd change. The official Sonic merchandise store ran this year's merch desk and while the abundance of DVDs and such was cool, I did miss the harder to acquire items from previous years - old Fleetway comics, the odd game, you know the stuff. That slight feeling of being jumble sale wasn't present this year.
The offering this year was still staggering, as always. Beyond cool things that have previously been done such as Crush 40 and the cosplay contest (for which the prizes are pretty nuts), I'm a big fan of the new stuff like Jam with Jun and the unfortunately cancelled art workshops with Nigel Dobbyn and Nigel Kitching. Additional fan interaction is really cool and to be encouraged at all times. The goody bag was also nuts. A free game for every attendee? Holy shit. While my own show floor experience was punctuated by bouts of running away to do interviews (not that I'm complaining!), it's also great to get the opportunity to see friends from the wider community. I had a blast!
In fact, beyond the crazy food prices in the venue - which weren't set by SoS in the first place - I only have one gripe. After such an excellent event, I just wish more people had been able to go to it. Ticket-only entry undoubtedly improved the event this year, with the hard limit on numbers allowing for much more accurate planning and seemingly quicker entry. However, the event is ridiculously popular and ticketing created some level of ill will. Members of our usual group just couldn't make it because of the system, which really sucks. I'd like more people to be able to attend next year, and if cost is a barrier to that I would be happy to pay for entry.
Summer of Sonic 2012 was incredible and we have more coverage to come from the event. Please keep checking the front page over the coming days!