It’s been a little more than a week since Hasbro held its first ever Hascon convention – a brand-centric toy show celebrating the company’s slew of legendary properties from Transformers and My Little Pony to Magic: The Gathering, D&D and Monopoly. Wondering how it went? I have you covered. From the show floor to the panels and guests, here’s my breakdown and summation of Hascon 2017…
The Show Floor
For me and my kiddos, the show floor was the shining jewel of Hascon. This was the first convention any of my kids have attended. I took my entire crew, including my 9 and 6-year-old daughters, my 15-month-old son and my 14-year-old sister-in-law. Remarkably, there was something for all of us. There were many things for all of us to do, and the idea of age went out the window altogether. For the weekend, we were all kids, and the show floor was a boundless playground of immersive gaming, hands-on play, and what could essentially be described as the world’s coolest pop-up toy store.
All of the big Hasbro brands had experiential booths at the con, and each and every one was chock full of photo ops and uniquely thematic activities. My geekdom was satisfied by the Transformers area and its display of first generation toys, as well as the Star Wars area, with working BB-8 and R2-D2 droids and new Last Jedi toys.
My girls loved it all, especially the interactive pie-face area, the Disney booth with its Beauty and the Beast and Descendants 2 costumes and the totally hands on Baby Alive area. The little guy enjoyed crawling around the Fur Real Friends and Baby Alive booths with his sisters and checking out the new Tickle Me Elmo at the Sesame Street booth (sadly, he was terrified by the Elmo and Cookie Monster costumed characters). This was the most enjoyable, comfortably spread out and interactive convention floor I have ever been on. We all loved it!
We didn’t attend any panels at all. I would have liked to attend the Star Wars toy panels, especially the unveiling of the awesome new Black Series items, but we were so enamored with the show floor that we were perfectly content spending all of our time there. Some cool news came out of the panels, including exciting Dinobots news from the Transformers team, but with the little ones, I felt that panels wouldn’t be too appealing. Next year, I plan on setting aside time to check out a few panels and take part in the numerous D&D gaming experiences throughout the weekend.
Hascon had some fantastic and wide-appealing guests. We each had our goals of who we’d like to meet and get a picture or autograph with. My girls, the YouTube generation, wanted to meet video illusionist Zach King. I wanted to get David Ortiz to sign a baseball. My sister-in-law and I both wanted to meet Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.
Unfortunately, my only complaint from Hascon is that the process for getting meet-and-greet vouchers, an hour prior to each signing, was a bit of an unorganized mess with little communication from the Hascon staff. We lined up for each and were sadly shut out of every line. Luckily, we ran into Zach King on the show floor later that day and he graciously posed for a picture with my girls. Other than that, this part of the con was a bit of a disappointment. I heard the same complaint from loads of other people hoping to meet Stan Lee, Maddie Ziegler, Frank Welker and Peter Cullen. What a bummer.
There was, however, an awesome takeaway from the guest-side of the con, as we all attended the Hascon Flo Rida concert on Saturday night. We didn’t know what to expect. Flo Rida has some great singles, but would this be family friendly? Well, to my surprise, Flo Rida put on one heck of a fun, energetic, positive and 100% family-friendly concert. He understood the vibe and audience of the con, and this was a highlight and an absolute, unexpected delight for all of us.
Having attended countless, overcrowded cons like New York Comic Con, Pax East, Wizard World and Rhode Island Comic Con, this was the most comfortable and least stressful.
That was a surprise, as I was certain that bringing three kids to their first con would lead to disaster – especially with a toddler in tow. Nope. This was a family convention. Hasbro knows its audience, and they really took the idea of play and interaction to a new level with Hascon. This was a corporation-run, brand-heavy con that felt far from corporate. The fact that it was in my home state of Rhode Island was an added bonus. Hascon may well be my new favorite convention. The reason why? Because it’s a safe and comfortable place where the entire family can geek out together.
Disclosure: Hasbro provided passes for us to attend Hascon.