Our ReCon experience
Updated: Oct 22, 2021
Last weekend, we attended ReCon [Reality Escape Convention] virtually!
When we learned that our industry driven acquaintances, David and Lisa Spira of Room Escape Artist, were hosting the first ReCon in 2020, we were so excited. There was little we wanted more than to listen to David and Lisa talk about the games they've played, the things they were working on and the state of the industry as a whole - besides going on one of their guided "escape room tours" - and ReCon Boston 2020 seemed to have it all.
Of course, with the second quarter of 2020 being well, the beginning of a global pandemic and our "new normal" - ReCon went virtual and was hosted through discord for all to attend, even without the ability to travel. So let's start there; we didn't end up attending ReCon 2020 - in fact, we weren't even sure what was going to happen with our business at that time and whether or not we would be able to emerge from the continuous lockdowns and restrictions as a brick and mortar entertainment company.
And we never looked into hosting our games online
... or developing a table top version to deliver around.
We took a few breaths and we pivoted.
We broke up with the company that we were managing and opened our own.
We knew physical, in person escape rooms and gaming were what we wanted to teach and sell, and we weren't going to let anyone, or anything stop us. BUT we attended ReCon 2021, and there was so much going on in the ReCon discord server (this is where it was virtually hosted) that we could literally write multiple posts per day, heck we could start a ReCon blog page specifically - check out roomescapeartist.com or realityescapecon.com if you would be interested in something like that - btw!
With all that was going on within the virtual CON - a good place to start might be the major pros and cons (IMO) about attending a virtual convention.
Pros: 1.You do not even need to leave your home for any of this.
-most conferences and conventions take place in the US, and not close to us either. We drove for 14 straight hours to Nashville in 2017 for the Trans world convention - just one example of how dedicated we are to networking and escape rooms.
we literally did not have to leave our business during the course of the event.
2. You can talk to everyone there, basically at the same time.
- the networking opps online are absolutely insane, I was able to interact with so many people from all over during the course of the event. My anxiety can tend to kick in when I am in new places and large crowds, and the virtual aspect of this event completely took that away for me.
3. It was "pay what you want" for the first tier of entry - this means all of the things listed in #2 could be obtained completely free of charge!
- No driving, travelling and eating fast food and paying for tickets this time around! (I can only assume part of this was due to the fact that Discord was our venue - real spaces are expensive. )
1. Discord is very overwhelming if you haven't used it much or at all pre event.
-Most people use discord now a days - niagara escapement nerds not included. We had no idea how to easily navigate the "rooms" within the server, and getting started was a bit of a hassle. [With that said, there was a TON of support from ReCon staff and volunteers throughout the entire event, which absolutely saved our butts!]
2. Organizing times to play games virtually is hectic at best
- Had I know that there wouldn't be scheduled times already set aside for us to play the online games that came with our play pass, I would've ensured that we had a specific team all attending ReCon to play with. Due to the nature of a virtual convention, it seemed almost impossible for everyone on our assigned team across the world to agree when to play...and I'm not sure we ever will either.
3. It's just not the same
- I cannot thank the ReCon team enough for doing what they have to create this event virtually, but it was a huge disappointment to not be able to attend in person. We don't regret attending ReCon 2021 - we learned A LOT, but there's just something about the travel, the bustling of people everywhere and running from talk to talk in an in person convention that you obviously cannot replicate in a virtual environment.
Well - there you have it! Our thoughts on ReCon.
Did you attend ReCon 2020 or 2021? Planning on attending in 2022?
We hope to see you there!