MoCCA Fest is essentially an indie comic book venue, many of those selling their wares are either independent comic book creators or students (not sure if recently graduated or this is often one of their final projects - I know I've seen people identifying as teachers at the tables of some of them). The quality is... very hit or miss, though I usually find at least one book, poster, or piece of art that I feel makes it worthwhile. This year it was okay.
Before I go further I'll just go over what usually catches my eye. I tend to prefer cute somewhat toony art over too realistic or too toony, I prefer something with an actual story than just an artbook or some random crazy crap happening with no rhyme or reason, I usually prefer fantasy settings and with adventure themed storylines, I hate politically themed books and I am not a fan of crude looking art (both in terms of stuff that looks like unfocussed scribbling and stuff that is just plain crude - as an example, this year one of the art books I flipped through had a realistic outstretched human fist transform into a realistic human penis... honestly I tend to not like too much sexuality in my books, it can be implied but I tend to prefer imagination over just showing it). Now obviously all that is a general feeling when I go browsing, I have plenty of books I've bought that go completely against what I just said... but those are the exceptions not the rule.
Anyways, it's funny with this event I almost always end up doing the same thing - I roam the entire floor and see very little which catches my eye, sometimes I'm wondering if I wasted my time this year, but then I start noticing things I may want to buy on my second walk around. In past years I've found some amazing books (Tiny Kitten Teeth, I think this event years ago is where I first encountered (or met the creator of) Mighty Skullboy Army, etc) this year... nothing that super stood out for me but some books that looked fun. One thing I've learned, if there's something that even partially has you curious - you may be better off buying it because it's unlikely you'll have another opportunity to see it again (some creators have returned in following years but that can be rare, and even for the bigger sellers there they don't come every year. Consider this a one-shot chance to buy something that's not going to be repeated).
That being said, this year some of the stuff which caught my eye included an obvious Adventure Time inspired book called Billy Johnson and his Dark are Explorers (the first four issues were available and I figured why not - it's what I was looking for, cute art and an adventure storyline), a Banjo-Kazooie fanbook filled with mini-comics (one of the comics I recognized from Twitter so I figured worth supporting) called Banjo-Partie, the second issue of a very simple comic about a kitten heavy-metal band called Kittens (the first issue didn't really offer anything more and the paper he used to print it was kinda cheap feeling), and lastly Ortho (comic about a grasshopper mercenary as best I can tell - very art student quality). Bought a few other things but those were the ones worth highlighting... so yeah, can't really say super great selection for my tastes this year.
Now PAX is a huge gaming convention that takes place in Boston, so in order to get there I had to travel up to my parent's home as soon as I was done with MoCCA. Sunday I left fairly early in order to make the three hour drive to Boston, I arrived a little earlier than I did last year (part of that was helped by using my phone gps which is a lot more current, the actual gps I've used in previous years is about ten years old and I only just realized it didn't have an update for a last couple mile drive to my destination that avoided some high traffic areas during this con). I didn't even play with parking this year, the lot near the convention center was almost empty when I arrived around 9am so I paid the fee and used it (I think one year I tried to find something cheaper and ended up paying maybe a little less and having a much further walk, last year I had some issues with traffic and the lot was full when I arrived and I ended up parking a little further away for maybe the same price or so). So by this point I have concluded, convenience can be worth a bit more - especially if you end up buying stuff (this year I didn't) and need to get it back to your car after exhausting your legs walking around the convention from start to finish.
Anywho... so I managed to arrive before the convention started so had honor of entering the hall near opening time and experiencing that enjoyable feeling of a blessedly mostly empty main hall. I usually go to this convention these days without any plan in advance, I mostly hit up the indie game developers and the board game area, the larger developers I'll also check out. But really I've mostly decided to give up on looking for freebies like shirts or bags, the freebies you get from trying out x-amount of games from a developer, the panels I might attend one once in awhile, even the raffles it's more often an accident that I stick around for one (I tried to win a bike this year, since it's something I'd like to start doing again and wouldn't it be awesome to win one rather than have to buy a new one... but no, didn't win). And since these days I travel alone to the convention, it's more for the sights than anything else.
This year felt, I dunno, is it possible to feel more subdued when there's about as many people attending as do New York ComicCon? Maybe it was the layout, it was a bit of a change from the previous years (the tabletop area seems to have expanded a bit from the previous year, the board game and competitive pc gaming a little more spread out (though maybe they had fewer booths and that's why it felt that way?). Just the previous layout that they mostly seemed to adhere to was switched around a bit.
I also felt, at the very least for the first half of the day, far fewer cosplayers than I usually see. Always see at least one fursuiter at this event and this year was no different (though didn't see the Fallout dog guy, I think I saw him the previous two or three years). One especially awesome cosplayer near the end when the main hall had closed, guy on stilts with a... kinda clown costume? I'm guessing he was a Final Fantasy or Disgaea character maybe? He had a giant pinwheel in one hand and a paper megaphone in the other hand, and I say he was awesome cosplayer because you could tell he was having fun with the character (got a pic with him which I posted on FB, wish I had gotten longer video when he was doing stuff rather than on the way out).
Another year when they did not have the video game museum (which in previous years was a couple rooms where you could play for free some old fantastic arcade machines).
This year I didn't bother bringing a Pokemon game (it's weird how almost every year I attended I had a new pokemon game that had recently been released). I didn't see any trainers walking around this year (as an fyi, a group attends PAX where they're endorsed as gym trainers who you can challenge for a battle (they usually have the most current Pokemon game) - your team vs there's and if you win you get a button or something. This year instead I brought Bravely Second, thinking I could get streetpass characters to use in that game. Sure got a lot of streetpasses for my 3ds but I kept wondering why I didn't get any for BS, was no one playing that game? Only after I got home for the event did I realize I never enabled streetpass for the game, I had only recently started playing it and it had been awhile since I played its predecessor (Bravely Default) so I completely forgot you have to enable the pass feature in the save menu... doh!
Y'know... for the bigger convention of the two for this weekend, not feeling like I'm saying much about it. I didn't buy any board games this year, I have far too large a collection at home which is collecting dust, and there wasn't much else that caught my eye. I knew ahead of time that an artist who drew an awesome short comic would be selling a physical copy of The Kitchen Door so I made sure to buy that, also found a... sorta Battle Beast inspired comic? which I bought as well. And that's mostly it. This convention I try to take pictures of games which I may look at, possibly buy, at a later date and I got some of those photos this year as well but... not much else.
Also to note, wulven spotted me fairly early on at the convention while he was in line for the VR station. Chatted for a bit, met his bf, then parted and when they were next in line.
But as dreary as my con-report might have come across, always have fun at this convention.