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Otakon 2003

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Click here for the pictures of Otakon 2003. Enjoy.

Otakon 2003
August 7, 2003. 5:30 PM
 Yup the eve of my second Otakon convention, another adventure with my boy Jared Brice Adams awaits. This time I picked him up from work at 5:30, when it was supposed to be 5 PM, considering it was rush hour in the treacherous traffic patterns of the Greater Baltimore area, and I was getting lost and was going out of my mind. This time I had to do all the driving, because due to circumstances beyond his control, he was car-less. That's aight whatever it takes.
9:15 PM
Anyway, me and Brice had one mission: to go into Baltimore City, catch the Metro Train from Owings Mills to downtown Baltimore and run to the Convention Center before 11 PM. It was a beautiful view while waiting for our train, considering we were SMACK DAB in the middle of Interstate 795! Even though it was late at night, the purpose of being at the center that time was strictly for people that pre-registered ahead and get our ID badges and be all set.(that would be us of course, I don't know about him, but I barely made 1 more hour before the post office closed to get my preregistration out the way on the last day of the 35 dollar preregister deadline.)
 However we thought that got screwed because at the back of the line, a member of the Otakon staff had told us we're not going to make it. So we gave into him. But, we did the slyest thing ever. I ran into someone that I knew from AOL Instant Messenger, and we started talking, and we just simply cut in line, because I pulled out my backpack, and started showing off my Famicom and Super Famicom games and it attracted quite a few people. So as a result, everything was on the gravy side from that point on. We got our badges and brochures and headed back to Owings Mills Station.
12:30 AM, going into August 8.
This time, there was no partying at Hammerjack's like last year. Speaking of Hammerjack's, remember Rick, the guy I talked about that drunk himself out? Well, we went to chill at his place, and for the first time I showed Rick about NSF files and making WAVs out of NES music and putting them to CD. After that, our closed our long ass day by going to another friend's house to sleep over. Once again, we pulled out the Dreamcast, and for the first time since East Coast Championships 8, we played some Marvel vs. Capcom 2. I think Brice is gonna make my Magneto skills better, cuz he showed me a few new things to take to the gameroom at the convention.
4:30 AM
The weather: Still dark, cloudy, hot and humid. Tired and worn out from Brice's work day, my 5 hour drive up, and the train ride, we had to be out of Chris' house before his foster dad (who he claims is a straight up PUNK) woke up to go to work. But like last year, the thought of soon being in otaku nirvana was enough to keep us going. We drove back to Brice's place so that we could wait for his mom to leave the house for work.
6:00 AM
It's the dawn of a new day. Unlike last year when Otakon began on a rainy depressing day, the sun was welcoming us with open arms. We were gonna get more sleep in the truck, but what I had in mind, I didn't think we'd need sleep after this. There was alot of dew forming on the truck, so me and Brice just started drawing pics and random stuff with our fingers. We even got the pictures to prove it. They'll be coming soon, since I gotta get them developed. To kill the time in waiting for his mom to leave, we went back out driving again and calling up on a few people, to plan about what we were going to do with our stuff before we get our hotel room, considering that it's a long way from the city. Finally it was 10 minutes to 8, so we went back to his house, seeing that his mom was gone, so we could take our showers and stuff like that. Between showering and finally getting to the Big O, we both needed a haircut so bad, just being so tired of the bushes on our heads, so we did that, and ate at International House of Pancakes.
1:30 PM
This is it. We couldn't wait. We nearly got lost trying to find the same Metro station but in another location (Rogers), which is closest to the city as possible. So we got out, left our bags in the back of the truck locked everything up, and took what we were going to bring to Otakon with us only. We got our tickets and we were on the caravan to extreme bliss....
2:30 PM
We finally got off the train, and in our path to the convention centers, there were cosplayers, some dressed like Rurouni Kenshin, some wearing regular Samurai outfits, and something that really caught Brice's eye that made him want to take a picture: Yup! You guessed it! A female cosplaying as Lulu from Final Fantasy X. And to consider it's been over a year and his crush on Lulu is never gone. Shouldn't be surprised. After all she IS one fine piece of...well gotta keep it clean for the kiddies reading this. Anyway, I had quite a moment myself, it was also when I first met "AE86", member from Neo, who happened to be hanging with the Lulu cosplayer, we got into a 5 minute conversation about Neo Geo and other stuff, and evenutally Brice and I just joined the group on the way to the convention center. He told me that if I want to meet the other Neo Geo members to come to the Gameroom when it opened up at 3. The first thing we did was go to the pit of temptation known as the "Dealer's Room". And the first thing I saw and bought:  "Last Resort" one of the many Neo Geo games I was after, for 39.99??? I'd kick myself if that were to happen. And I also bought a Bouken (Wooden Sword)After that, we heard somebody say that the Game Room is about to open, so Brice and I left. Good Lord! It was wild. The crowd was so packed in front of just two escalators. Finally it was time. When I walked into that huge auditorium, I was blown away! There were Neo Geo MVS Cabinets (including the weird but really cute SNK Candy Cab, King of Fighters 2002 and Last Blade kept shifting back and forth) Dance Dance Revolutions, and over 100 Television sets with Guilty Gear XX/X2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, King of Fighters 2002, any Metal Slug, Halo, and lots of computers with Warcraft and Diablo on it. There were some odds and ends games too. I understand that on one of the screens I watched a guy beat on master mode this hot new shooter called "Ikaruga", it looks excellent, it's basically 3-D graphics and plays the style of the shooters I grew up with over the years. While in there I finally got to play several fighting games that seem out of my reach in buyingthem, but everybody's talking about them too. I got to play Rage of the Dragons (which some people don't know is another Double Dragon game), Matrimelee (New installment to an obscure fighting game series called "Power Instinct"), and the real bombshell: I finally got to play SNK vs. CAPCOM CHAOS! What an experience, cuz it was also in front of 40 people watching too. The guy on the 1 player side used Genjuro and bust up a nice long win streak I think was 50 something. He was a machine. When it was my turn to play, I wanted to pick my boy from the KoF games Iori Yagami, but the damn game wouldn't give me time to find him, so I got Akuma instead. I still lost, but I won one round, and that was good enough and well worth the wait.
8:30 PM
Meanwhile, Brice was at one of the Marvel vs. Capcom 2 displays watching action. I was disappointed at their setup, cuz everybody was using the Dreamcast control pads instead of joysticks! What gives! I told Brice I was gonna be back, I went to the Artists' Alley (which was the escalator across from the Game Room) to meet a certain person I had been talking with on AOL Instant Messenger for a couple of years (you knowwho you are ^_^), I talked to her for a few minutes and headed back for the game room. I saw that on one of the cabinets alongside the wall, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was being hooked to it. I managed to get a 12 win streak on it with Magneto/Sentinel/Cyclops, Magneto/Sentinel/Psylocke, Storm/Cyclops/Cable, and Magneto/Storm/Psylocke, but this other guy, when he pulls out Juggernaut/Tron Bonne/Doctor Doom, the man is virtually INVINCIBLE. His win streak of 69 was the longest I've seen yet since almost a couple years ago I saw a man get 71 when visiting Boston Massachusetts. When I finally got beat on my 12th win, I met several other Neo members talking to each other (Captron and Saturn Gamer).
What was in store for the next two hours was just one big ordeal. And also a matter of beating the odds. You see, the guy that got us our hotel room had to go to work. So Brice and I had no choice but to leave our luggage in our vehicle until we got our room. Thing was, it wasn't until 10:30 that the guy had showed up telling us to meet him at McDonalds. There's more than one Mickey D's in downtown Baltimore! That's ok, there was only two so eliminating was no problem at all. Well, as dangerous as Baltimore looks outside at night, we still had to ask people how to get to the one we wanted. Eventually we found the McDonalds where he was at, and we had to walk over 5 blocks to take him to our hotel. After checking in, we dropped our Otakon souvenirs in our room, which was on floor 26, high rise with a beautiful view of Baltimore itself! To my surprise, he pulled out his Neo Geo Cartridge System, along with King of Fighters 98, & Metal Slug 3 and 4! I was like "no way!! we're gonna be in a hotel room with a Neo Geo?! now I can try out Last Resort after we get our stuff back!" But back to the root of this scenario. The metro stops all trains at 12 Midnight, and no matter how tired we were, we had do to it EXTREMELY FAST, or I would've had to get in the truck and drive all the way to the city. At approximately
11:46 PM,
We arrived at Rogers and made that mad dash for the parking lot and scooped up all our bags! As were running back up the escalator, getting past the security guards, we heard our train coming and missed it. But luckily it wasn't the last one. So basically, we made THE final train before services were terminated for the day. 
1:06 AM, going into August 9
Everything was on the gravy side from that point on. The worst case scenario after that was from weariness walking with 6 bags on our shoulders all the way to the hotel. Heh that was the least of our worries, and half our bags had wheels on them. I got my shower, played some Last Resort, Metal Slug 3 and 4, showed our third roommate how to get rid of the choppiness in the Winkawaks emulator on his laptop computer. After that it was lights out for me. That's pretty much a wrap of Day 1 of Otakon 2003.
9:15 AM
Woke up, looked out the window, and the view looked so much better considering the sun was out. Me, Brice and Mike (that's our 3rd roommate's name) straightened up our room for the room-service, and got our clothes on. Once again for me, I took another bad stab at cosplay like last year. I tried to be Kyoya Izayoi from the obscure old school anime "Demon City Shinjuku". Nobody recognized me....and I thought the Bouken I bought was a clue. Anyway, the first thing we did was catch something to eat at the same Mickey D's we picked Mike up at, then stopped at CVS for something. Then after that, it was a replay of yesterday, Brice had his camera ready to shoot any cosplayer that caught his eye. But to my surprise, I saw a group of Sailor Scouts across the street from us. Thing is, the Sailor Pluto I saw in the group was a familiar face. She happened to sign my guestbook last year when I mentioned Otakon 2002. We talked for several minutes and continued having fun. We had to take Mike to the registering stand to get his badge, and the first thing we did was go to the Dealers' Room.
11:00 AM
In the Dealer's Room, I bought more stuff. A Star Wars poster, a poster of the movie "The Goonies", and a couple of anime DVD's and a huge arcade joystick that was 30 bucks, which ended up sucking when I finally tried it out when I got home. Argh! I had to carry not just a bookbag but a huge box all around all day. I was so tired of itI saw these awesome cosplayers dressing in black trench coats like the Matrix movies holding wooden swords. The first thing that came to my mind was, since I got one too, we should take fight pictures. Eventually as I was helping him find his friends so we could take those pictures, I had lost Brice in the process, and hadn't seen each other for the rest of the day. Of course when we ran into each other back in the hotel room at the end of the day, we forgave each other quickly. It was very tough considering that my cell phone was dead, and communication was impossible, unless I had to ask the girl I told about earlier in the Artists' Alley if I could use hers to locate him. But in any event, I decided I could make soup. I looked into this class of cel painting, and it was run by one of the hottest artists. At first the time there seemed boring because he was just talking about his childhood background on how he learned to draw. But there was a purpose behind that. Bottom line: PATIENCE was what he was trying to get at. And patience is one key to cel painting. And I like him for unique teaching like that. Other than that, I took a cel of the "Dirty Pair". I didn't manage to get really far on it, but I had my mind set on other things. Went to spend more time in the Game Room, but this time I did a little bit badly on Marvel vs. Capcom 2 than yesterday. But I did get to relive my youth because a guy had a Supergun with a CPS2 board of Capcom's "Alien vs. Predator", and got my ass kicked on King of Fighters 2002 by a guy cosplaying as K'9999. I retreated and went back to the Artists' Alley again, and these people made me feel more than welcome to just sit at their table and draw anything. I haven't drawn in awhile, but I gave it my shot. Um if you certain people are reading this, I drew two pictures, a Final Fantasy battle with a Cactaur, and a MC Rap Battle.
1:00 AM, going into August 10, 2003I went into a Anime Music Video Room, and saw the most repetitive but brilliantly funny music video ever. Went into another room, and what looked like a loud colored shoujo anime turned out to be HENTAI!!! as these two people were getting it on, all the people were like rooting as if they were watching sports or something. Then it was on. The search for Brice and Mike continued. Assuming they went back to the hotel, I went ahead and returned. As I walked in, they still weren't there. So I called Brice and told him I was alright and that I had TWO numbers in his cell phone number backwards! I slapped myself for that. Eventually, Brice and Mike came in, and played each other in King of Fighters 98. That wraps day 2.
Like last year there wasn't much to do, the Game Room, Artists Alley and Anime Showing Rooms closed earlier. The only thing exciting was that the Dealer's Room was open until 3 PM and they had some slammin' discounts. The last thing I bought were 2 How To Draw Anime books and a head band that supposedly read "Banzai". We had one final mission. Check out of our hotel room, drop Mike off so he could visit his grandmother, and drop our stuff back in the truck, and go back to Otakon if we had the time. And Brice and I did. We got back on the train, and spent the last hour and a half in the Dealer's Room before the convention closed up totally for another year. I swear, the last walk out of the convention center felt like a funeral march. We went to the Italian Restaurant across the street from the center and got a chance to talk anime one last time with a few other people over slices of pizza. Then after that. We walked to the Metro station, and this time back to our normal lives, and that wraps up Otakon 2003 for another year.





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