I just flipped through all the pictures and videos I took during our 8+ hours at the first-ever HASCON yesterday for like the fourth time today – twice with Nolan, once with Graham, and once by myself. It didn’t matter who it was with, we were all smiling and/or laughing remembering the amount of fun and silliness we were having just hours prior.
HASCON, if you’re unaware, is an endless buffet of everything Hasbro has to offer – board games, superheroes, Transformers, role-playing games, and so much more – under one roof, the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.
Hasbro was kind enough to provide me with three 3-day complimentary press credentials, but school on Friday and a birthday party Sunday meant we had to pack everything in on Saturday.
The first stop was check-in to get our credentials and both boys had to pee. We’re still in the process of getting Graham potty trained, so this couldn’t wait. Thanks to a helpful HASCON Crew member, we were guided behind the black curtain to a restroom. The boys and I thanked him numerous times, but he insisted it was no big deal, he “has two grandkids around the same age, I get it.” So far, so good.
We got our credentials – Nolan was so stoked to get his own lanyard – and headed to the entrance.
We entered through security, walked up a ramp to a glass-enclosed hallway, and into the convention center lobby.
Since I’m watching football right now, it’s fitting I give you a little play-by-play of our initial path through HASCON.
We gathered ourselves, made sure no one had to pee, tied shoes, and headed in, where we were greeted by…
Because the kids and I had little interest in this, we made an obligatory loop, weaved our way through the throngs of people, and headed towards…
Looking back, this was our favorite area of the entire event. A giant, life-size Monopoly game board, a chance to throw your kids in jail, Hasbro staffers handing out stacks of $1000 Monopoly bills. They also had on display the new Monopoly game pieces – T-Rex, rubber ducky, and a penguin.
Nolan was in awe of the giant Rubik’s Cube wall depicting Mr. Monopoly’s face. The stage was empty but there was a Hasbro crew member was more than happy to explain how the gigantic wall was made, telling us the dude who put it together did so in 5×5 sections and took 15 hours to complete it – I think, we were in awe of all the Rubik’s Cubes. He also said the guy could solve the Rubik’s Cube in under 30 seconds, which wasn’t all that surprising but still pretty damn amazing.
A game we’d never even heard of, Egged On, turned out to be a hit. It was hilarious watching them take turns “cracking” plastic eggs on their head not knowing if it was full of water or not. For a kid who hates getting his hair wet, Nolan love this one.
Nolan had a love/hate relationship with the idea of Pie Face!, but after telling him I’d do it first, he gave in and tried. It was his “favorite game ever!”
A photo booth was set up for Speak Out, where they handed out mouthpieces that don’t allow you to close your mouth and force you to say every and anything incorrectly. The boys decided against the photos, but they both got a mouthpiece and wanted to put them in. And thus this photo, which might go in a frame on our wall, was born:
A giant wall of poppers from Trouble, a table with a some Coinhole boards, five or six games of Hungry Hungry Hippos, a giant game of Operation, among many others rounded out our first 45 minutes in the Hasbro Gaming area. Next up was…
We strolled by just in time for the boys to participate in Noodle Makin’ Mania, where a “chef” demonstrated how to make all sorts of pasta and ravioli, complete with molds of make-believe toppings. They had a blast as they totally ignored the giant television monitors that showed which pasta accessory the chef was using. Each table blew through container after container of Play-Doh, then got to smash their creation into a giant, rainbow-colored pile of Play-Doh next to the chef. Every kid got a Junior Chef Award certificate as they left but we took a right and backtracked to…
…Littlest Pet Shop
Despite never having heard of LPS, the area was set up with a giant mouse wheel that seemed to get a lot of attention from others (not us) and a bunch of wall displays showing off what seemed like thousands of little figurines. Along the back wall was similar figurines, but they were all white and unfinished. I found the woman with the clipboard and signed the boys up for a design-a-pet. Nolan went with the cat and Graham the frog.
Painting was done with nail polish and glitter glue pens. Oh yeah, not to mention the jugs of actual glitter they had for even more decorating. Most of it wound up on the floor and their fingers. For this exact reason, I’m not even sure we have any glitter at our house. But this wasn’t our house. And we don’t live on…
I’ll admit, we don’t watch a lot of Sesame Street, but you’d never know by the smile on Graham’s face when he laid eyes on Cookie Monster, who he enthusiastically took a picture with. Nolan, not to thrilled to see the man in blue. When Elmo came out, it was exactly the opposite, but with Graham shedding some tears as he adamantly refused a photo with Elmo, who from afar seemed cool to him. Nolan got right in there and was cheesing hard.
Sesame Street shared the same area with Playskool, who had a giant shape-fitting cube, wall of ladders and tubes for the kids to enjoy, and five Sit n Spins. I kinda felt awful because my kids had never seen one of these but enjoyed it nonetheless as they immediately figured out how to spin round and round.
There were also three tables full of Mr. Potato Heads of all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of arms, legs, eyes, hats, outfits, shoes, mouths, ears, costumes. It was mind-blowing how huge the Potato Head collection really is. We have a few at home, including a giant one with a few classic ones inside, but it hasn’t really garnered much interest over the years.
Once we were done with Sesame Street, we visited their neighbor…
There was a legit hairstylist Troll-ifying hair for those who wished to wait in line for it but the final result was pretty cool and probably super-exciting for fans of Trolls. There were four Operation: Trolls boards set up to pass the time as the line moved along.
Benches set in front of a big screen television showed the full-length movie every two-and-a-half hours – this served us well when we needed a little break later in the day, so the boys watched the last fifteen minutes of the movie before Poppy and Branch came out.
This is what I pegged as the climax of Graham’s experience as HASCON but I couldn’t have been more off. He was terrified and despite Nolan volunteering to take a picture with Branch, there was no getting Graham next to Poppy, his favorite character. Oh well, he settled for her head on a stick.
The Nerf setup looked amazing and was right next to Trolls but to get in on the action you needed to be at over eight-years-old, so that was out.
Our next stop wasn’t a galaxy far, far away, it was only a thirty or so steps…
This may or may not come as a surprise to you but I’ve never seen a Star Wars movie. I have seen Space Balls, which I think might spoof Star Wars, but that’s as much Star Wars as I know. I mean I know the names Hans Solo, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker. I know of the storm troopers, R2-D2, and Yoda. I’ve heard of Kylo Ren, Jabba the Hut, and Boba Fett. But yeah, never seen them on the big screen…or any screen.
They had lightsabers set up and what I’m guessing was the chair/throne used by Darth Vader? The boys grabbed a light saber each and began fighting – Graham going for the kill, Nolan trying to defend himself. It was actually pretty funny to see this interaction. Not funny enough to get me to watch the movies, but still. Our next and final thing to do was hitting up a concert put on by…
The bass kicked in and the kids’ faces lit up like the stage lights. It was so damn loud and we were exhausted but we didn’t care as we chair danced to a full set by one of the most popular and genuinely good dudes in music – Flo Rida. For “Low,” he welcomed 40-50 women and girls up on stage to sing and dance with him. He brought a young girl, maybe 12, on stage to perform with him on one song and then invited a young boy, maybe 10, to perform a different song with him.
Overall, his set – at least the ten songs we stayed for before deciding it was time to leave – was awesome. The place was rocking and the Dunkin Donuts Center was GDFR!
We hit the exit, Poppy’s head in Graham’s hand, and headed home so the kids would be tucked in by their normal bed time. Graham eventually passed out while Nolan kept me company by asking questions and singing Flo Rida songs the entire trip.
HUGE thank you to Hasbro for giving me the opportunity to experience HASCON with two of my boys, something I would likely have never attended. But you better believe after this experience, and realizing that some of my/our favorite games/movies were put out by Hasbro, they definitely have three life-long fans in us.
(Disclaimer: I received my credentials for HASCON free, thanks to Hasbro. All opinions and thoughts about the event are strictly my own…or Nolan’s…or Graham’s)