There is a convention where people get together to celebrate graphic, visual, literary, and mechanical art. It is an annual event where all who play games, read popular publications, and create unique works of art, share their wonders with the rest of campus. It is an event where tournaments, cosplay contests, and panels satisfy fans’ every desire.
That event is Minicon.
MiniCon is NJIT’s annual comic convention—it is a place for fans of comics, anime, games and more, to show off their love for popular culture. The event is similar to the annual Comic Con hosted in New York and San Diego.
“Setup for MiniCon required planning from December to almost the night before. To make the event successful we needed a battle plan of what we wanted, what limitations we couldn’t step over, and the cooperation of almost 16 clubs, departments, and organizations to represent NJIT MiniCon,” said Danielle Judka, Anime Club president, the head of MiniCon committee, and an Electrical Engineering Technology senior. “The setup was made easy with everyone helping as much as they could.”
Whether it be cosplay, game brawls, or robotics, fans enjoyed presentations and events hosted in the Campus Center. During the day, individual events took place to broadcast one’s own perspective and passions throughout the heavily engaging panel schedule. Being in the space is in itself a bit cramped and loud, but it was full of events, stands, and a ton of things to do and experience.
“It was real exciting to see a wide variety of clubs come together to hold fun and engaging events,” said Christian Alexander, a Computer Science student at NJIT. He was one of many students who liked that that NJIT holds an annual comic convention.
Much of MiniCon took place in the Gallery on the second floor of the Campus Center. It was filled with the stands of vendors, ranging from fashion to custom artwork based on popular anime phenomena. It acted as the central hub of the convention for over 600 fans.
Several attendees walking the floor were cosplaying as their favorite character or looking to upgrade their wardrobe by purchasing comic memorabilia from vendors. Everything sold by the vendors on the floor were unique and one-of-a-kind; the items supplied are either carefully handcrafted or made from scratch to provide proper fan-service that can be shared with the area’s inhabitants.
Going beyond the stands and down the hallways creates the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of panels. The panels covered several topics, ranging from the evolution of indie gaming to robotics. Every panel was different and unique, some were like game shows where attendees guessed what anime a particular song was from. Other panels discussed the lifestyles and exhilarating amusements of anime characters, and there was even a room dedicated to Live Action Role-Playing.
“It was good, we and the people who attended had a lot of fun. We look forward to coming back next year and hopefully having a bigger audience too [for his panel],” said Alberto Vergara, one of the panelists at Minicon.
The ballrooms that extend from the main floor contained most of the gaming tournaments that went on at MiniCon. The rooms were a gaming frenzy at all corners; several projectors lined the walls with dozens of people situated and participating in each game. Across the room were tables for card games, including Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic. Anyone could walk up and partake in the festivities, whether it’s a match or six in Brawl or a draw in a game of Magic.
“I thoroughly enjoyed helping run the LARP and placing 2nd in the Halo tournament. My only regret is that I didn’t have money to spend in the artist’s alley,” said Brady Van Blarcum, an attendee of MiniCon.
In the other Ballroom was Artemis, the spaceship bridge simulator. Set up by members of the Advanced Computing Machinery chapter at NJIT, participants could experience being part of a starship crew like those seen in the popular show, Star Trek. Groups of 5 or more could go into space battle with another in the game, emphasizing cohesive teamwork.
There were matches at an additional location in the basement of the Campus Center. Gamers could take delight at a League of Legends tournament hosted by the Highlander League Club. Filled with champions from across campus, the popular Multiplayer Online Battle Area drew impressive crowds as several teams competed for recognition.
MiniCon ended with a continuation of the main floor and ballroom events at the Atrium. A costume contest for the several cosplayers at NJIT displayed their devotion to the characters they portray. Also present was a mixture of original characters, some representing their Dungeons and Dragons character in real life. The contest was exciting to watch, with live music provided by NJIT’s radio club WJTB, and contained some of the most creative takes on how to portray characters.
Although this is only the second time this event has occurred, it brings the full experience of larger conventions, like San Diego’s or New York’s, to the campus here at NJIT. With an amazing atmosphere and passionate fans with admiration for what millions of people enjoy every day, it allowed all to have fun and show off their passion for all things popular culture.
“MiniCon came to us as a request last year as a sort of fundraiser,” said Danielle. “Eventually, the support and hopes to make a lasting legacy, and to bring the community of NJIT together with the entertainment based clubs and organizations, became sort of a dream for us, and that’s what we tried working towards. I think this year we finally made that impression known to the NJIT community, and I hope people come out to more events.”
Those that missed out should really look into the event and save the date for next year’s MiniCon. “I know NJIT already asked us to prepare for next year,” said Danielle. “The new anime club Eboard will be in charge of that as I graduate, but I hope they learned a lot from this year.”