Derpy Con 2022: Better Later Than Never?

Derpycon 2022 Took place in the New Brunswick New Jersey Hyatt Regency from Friday, October 28th until Sunday, October 30th. Before I begin the review, I do admit last year’s review was very lenient. After all, conventions (including Derpycon), were just returning after a two year shut down! Unfortunately, the shortcomings of 2021’s event were at the forefront this year. 

As I  often mention throughout my coverage, I review conventions to help not just attendees get a perspective of a con experience, but also provide feedback to show-runners and staff. At the same time, it’s also important to discuss points which can impact a con itself. 

I understand that the convention was short staffed–the attendance for Derpycon was 2,801, according to the convention’s official Facebook page–and had a visibly increased crowd starting on Saturday. But even key parts of a convention, such as the main events, lacked clear communication to attendees in the case of significant delay. I saw attendees who looked visibly confused and staff did not have answers to questions. Sometimes this can occur and I also understand this, as well. But staff can reach out to other members to answer questions. 

The venue also did have an odd layout, with many abrupt corners and blind spots. 

The convention did experiment placement of convention areas this year, but the con is quickly outgrowing this area. I noticed one of the layout changes almost immediately in pre-registration.  Pre-reg was moved by the hotel lobby. The navigation of registration felt rather confusing at first, with two sets of stairs separated by rope. And was close to the regular traffic, main events, and even the dealer’s room.. Although the event did have additional signage, pointing to registration, additional guidance and direction from staff was definitely needed for the purpose of organizing crowds.

I arrived to the convention on Friday morning, shortly after pre-registration began. Press badges were located in the Press Operations room on the second floor, but I stopped by pre-reg first. The staff at the booth did not know about the press operation’s location and scrambled to get an answer from a higher up staff member. I stopped by the info booth for help, but the staff member stated he did not know about the room. 

Once I looked around on my own and found the press room, I was given a badge and asked for a lanyard so I could keep my badge visible and close by. It  can be easy to lose a badge without one!  The staff member informed me that the press room did not have lanyards. I moved over to the pre-registration area again and was given a bag, but it was missing the lanyard.

The hotel check-in had to be the icing on the cake for a somewhat frustrating day one. After attempting to check in, the hotel staff told me to wait for my roommate because of an apparent technical issue on our end. The tech problem ended up being from the hotel’s system.

  I was not allowed to check in until getting my roommate on the phone. Management poorly handled the situation. 

I frequent hotels  due to convention and have had years of great interactions with hotel staff, who seemed genuinely interested in the event or at bare minimum, had common courtesy. The food staff in the hotel were really lovely and made the stay a little more tolerable. (To the woman who helped me with gluten free cookies when I looked a bit bummed out, bless you). 

Source: A Video Game Con Facebook

After checking in and changing into my cosplay, I wandered the convention floor. Day one of the convention felt more like a day zero of a typical con, with folks settling in gradually and getting their badges. There were not as many activities on Friday but much like the previous year, the gaming room had plenty to offer! The gaming room ended up being a saving grace for the convention (and that Friday). 

Although  the gaming room had a delayed opening (unexpected issues can arise, and that is understandable), I checked social media platforms to see if there were any updates on the operation hours and even checked the guidebook but did not come across operation changes. The delay was significant, with an opening at 2p.m. rather than 10 that morning. Games ranged from rhythm games, pinball cabinets, and console games both old and modern.

I enjoyed an amazing bowl of ramen at a nearby restaurant, just a few blocks away from the hotel. The restaurants were surprisingly slow for a Friday despite the proximity to the Hyatt, but attendees had many options throughout the weekend within walking distance. As an added bonus, the convention offered badge discounts to some locations! If an attendee showed their badge, the restaurant would take off a certain percentage off the final bill. I also liked that there was signage with eating options throughout the convention center.

Genshin Impact remains to be a popular choice for cosplayers. I noticed many cosplays from my own earlier convention days, such as Konata from Lucky Star, Hatsune Miku from Vocaloid, and Naruto Akatsuki characters. 

I looked over the panel schedule that evening on Guidebook in preparation for Saturday. The delays in events continued onto Saturday–even for a main event. A concert for Otaku Ongaku had been scheduled. Lineups did not begin and I did not see any notifications from the convention about rescheduling. I asked a staff member if I could go in the room as press–if I went early, then I’d get a better view of the show. He allowed me to enter, but another staff member who was higher up mentioned that masquerade rehearsals were occurring and attendees and even press were not allowed to be in the room. It can be normal for masquerades to be delayed, but seating did not even begin at this point. Much like the concert from yesterday, I did not come across any social media updates on scheduling. . I  decided to change my plans and went to a panel on cosplay wigs instead .

The wig panel, run by cosplayer SpicyCreampuff , featured wonderful tips for new and veteran cosplayers. I learned new tools to use in future cosplays such as wig headbands, wooden brushes, and different types of wig scissors. The tips on products also were quite helpful! The cosplayer also went over wig basics, such as putting on a wig, attentively answered questions, and showed several wigs as real life examples. They even styled wigs at the panel as a demonstration! 

I went to a voice acting panel featuring Griffin Burns, Kent Williams, Lauren Landa, and Wendee Lee. I  have not attended many voice acting panels in the past–this panel ended up being in a Q+A format. It began with pre-submitted questions as attendees lined up in person with their own. The voice actors all had a wonderful stage presence, attentively listening to questions, and spontaneously getting into character. I partially enjoyed hearing how some of the actors started their careers. Some of the questions were common, such as getting started with voice acting and favorite roles. Other questions involved specific series and ‘what-if’ scenarios. 

I was rather amused by the rather random question an attendee asked the voice actors about vegetables: If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?

 Another question segwayed into a ghost haunting at a studio recording, which turned into a wholesome story about a loved one. 

The voice actors answered dozens of questions, giving plenty of time to fans. I have always loved seeing the voice actors behind great characters in person. It’s a new way to see the characters come to life. 

On Sunday, attendees still flocked over to registration early in the morning for one day badges. There were still a significant amount of cosplayers walking around and to my surprise, there was a decent line by registration for one day passes. I had a latte at a nearby coffee shop, picked up a hearty portion of breakfast from the lobby, and finished up packing to prepare for a family visit. As the weekend progressed, I began to notice attendees without masks, especially on the final day of the convention. Due to the short staffing, this may have been difficult to enforce, but there were less signs from the previous year about masks. However, I did see folks over by registration diligently reminding attendees to put on a mask due to convention policy. 

In terms of other convention offerings throughout the weekend, Derpycon offered some unique concepts such as a film festival with fan made videos, and a  ‘meme’ themed room called meme central. The meme room seemed to show tik-toks and vines and was not really utilized much by attendees, who passed by.

Derpycon also had Derpycon Online, which streamed events on Twitch and even on the hotel televisions! I feel that the meme central room and film festival were not advertised often on social media–I forgot that they were  a part of the event until I stumbled across reshowings.

The convention is certainly growing attendance-wise, but perhaps a bit too quickly due to limited staffing. I think this is a good convention to make a day trip out of and was an overall mixed experience with room for improvement. 

For future Derpycon  events, I strongly encourage the convention to look into feedback on overall communication with attendees,  organizational aspects especially with main events, and staff training sessions.


A grad school student and librarian who seems to run solely on espresso and sweets, Cinnaknight has been going to conventions for about eight years. In her free time, she loves to bake, cook, as well as write!

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