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'Animation & Gaming' convention brings hundreds of animé fans to Covington

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With warm weather once again returning to the Cincinnati area, hundreds gathered for the seventh annual “Animation & Gaming” convention, also known as A&G. From April 4 through April 6, attendees turned the three-day convention into a weekend long party, celebrating everything video game, pop culture, and animé (Japanese animation). Last year’s A&G filled up the Radisson Cincinnati North in Sharonville with back-to-back attendees, so the Northern Kentucky Convention Center played home to this year’s convention and gave attendees not only the much needed legroom, but also gave them more to take in during the weekend.

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A&G builds its' convention on not only fan-active panels and events, but also through unique and creative programming featuring the guests and staff of the convention. One of those events, the Multiverse Rumble, features your favorite video game and pop culture icons battle it out for a chance at the A&G Championship. This year’s cast featured everyone from Batman clashing with Bane, to Captain Planet taking on Ted from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Journey.” Calling the matches on commentary was “Botchamania” creator Maffew and even he found himself in the middle of the action as a special guest referee.

"Animation & Gaming" also plays home to one of the biggest video game collections that any Ohio convention has to offer. Arcade classics like "The Simpsons," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and even "Dance Dance Revolution" are a few of the titles that were available to play throughout the weekend. There is also two convention halls dedicated to console gaming. Throughout the weekend, various video game tournaments were held where gamers got the chance to test their skills with classic console titles like "Super Smash Bros. Brawl," "WWE No Mercy," and "MarioKart 7."

For those who have never attended an A&G convention before, like first-year attendee James McIntosh will tell you, A&G has quite a lot to see in just one short weekend. "My first time at A&G was enjoyable. There were quite a few panels and games I was interested in. It was still a lot of fun and I can’t wait to check it out again next year.”

Jason Taylor, the convention chair of A&G, says that this year's event had to overcome several hurdles to even happen. "Sometimes you make a leap of faith and try to do something more," Taylor said. "A&G had to overcome a HUGE cost deficit, moved into a space twice the size of past conventions, competed the same weekend as five other events, and we still came out on top."