3 Cool Things From Otakon Vegas (Plus 6 Things I Hate About Las Vegas)

By Brian Hanson in Anime, Daily Lists
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 6:00 am

6) Rot-Filled Pain Pits, A.K.A.: Casinos

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One of our friends, a Vegas neophyte, looked around the neon-barf facade of the Planet Hollywood casino and made the most potent observation: "This is like Downtown Disney, except in Hell."

Right she was. Armies of confused tourists, drunk off of sixteen-dollar cocktails, plunking their hard-earned savings, one penny at a time, into constantly beeping nonsense machines. Push-up bras with human faces and glazed eyes collecting five-dollar chips from sunken-faced, smog-choked skeletons. It's like being on the River Styx, with a soundtrack by Phil Collins.

This wasn't exclusive to just Planet Hollywood, either. Our personal Dante's Inferno took us to New York New York, a place which probably makes Hell itself look like a Crate & Barrel, and the Bellagio, which is now a place that looks like what would happen if characters from Mike Judge's Idiocracy had to describe the concept of "luxury" in a college essay.

And that's just the inside. The outside is just as rotten.

5) Fuck The Strip

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I can't think of any other way to put it. FUCK THE STRIP.

A stupefying social experiment that could only be described as a rat's maze for horny people, the Vegas Strip is an Escher painting of overlocking walkways, skywalks, and sidewalks. Except you can't really walk anywhere, because your footed ventures are always thwarted by a stumbling army of drunks at nearly all hours. And poor men and women being paid a pittance to throw cards of nude call girls into the maw of every ambling Duck Dynasty T-shirt. Your attempts to dart in and out of Vegas foot traffic is like a Civil War veteran dodging mortars. Until you wind up stuck behind a very drunk girl in high heels attempting to slither up the stairs to the skywalk. In the words of Julie Klausner, "drunk girls are our culture's Godzilla."

All the while, you're greeted with the neon visage of beer cozies shaped like fake tits. Vodka slushies in oversized novelty Eiffel Tower mugs made from discarded plastic. In case your attempts to merely walk somewhere haven't already driven you mad, the sights and sounds sure will.

4) Really Disturbing Penny Slots

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During your Vegas stay, you may notice any number of hilariously weird penny slots. A number of them feature angry gorillas on them, with stupid names like GORILLA CHIEF or JUNGLE JINGLES. Or perhaps you've got a fondness for Lisa Frank '90s nostalgia? Why, there's any number of pastel-colored machines called UNICORN'S GOLD! My girlfriend actually made a tidy 95-cent return on a machine called OUTBACK JACK, where a burly, poorly-rendered Australian stereotype threw a boomerang and retrieved what I think is money.

My personal favorite though was PELICAN PETE, who is a pelican named Pete who has been force-fed gold coins like foie gras, and vomits them up from his slot-machine prison in an unending cycle of pelican Hell.

Normally all of this would be fun, and it was for a while, until I realized: there are people who do this all day. Like Liberace's mom in Behind the Candelabra. Pouring in dollar after dollar, watching numbers and symbols turn in arbitrary directions, robbing them pennies at a time for days on end. Look up "sadness" in the dictionary, and there's a picture of a chain-smoking woman collapsed in front of PELICAN PETE.

3) Cosplay and Vegas Tourists: The Shittiest Cocktail

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I happen to know a thing or two about cosplay, my friends and I had some costumes made up, and it sounded like a fun idea to cavort about Sin City dressed as characters from Bioshock Infinite. Surely the denizens of Las Vegas are used to weird people dressed funny, right?

I'm sure the people who live in Las Vegas are used to that by now, but here's the thing: nobody who lives in Vegas actually goes to the strip. The strip is filled with drunk tourists. Drunk tourists who definitely have no idea that there's an anime convention in town. Drunk tourists who see four people dressed as videogame characters and glare at them. Here are some of the choice quotes as overheard, by me, from these tourists:

"Woah, I must be going to the wrong place."

"What the fuck?"

"Huh?"

And my personal favorite: "*grimace, scowl, followed by furrowed brow and a long glug from a Bud Light tall boy*"

Consider this as an addition to the Las Vegas Yelp review: Not Cosplay Friendly.

2) In Short: Vegas Sucks Ii You Aren't Rich

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I'm Miles Edgeworth, and I approve of this message.

Here's the thing, though. Virtually all of the things I'm complaining about would be easily remedied by one simple thing - if I were engulfed in a fluffy cloud of millions of dollars.

I'm sure Vegas is great if you have the means for it. If you drop a couple grand at the poker tables, the casino will typically treat you very well. Complimentary drinks! Discount show tickets! Upgrades to the swanky suites!

And getting by the hellish strip is no problem, because you've got an on-call limo service to power your way through the human traffic of the damned. Spending an outrageous amount of money for mediocre food isn't an issue, since you can gorge yourself on any number of buffets.

Even if you lose every chip you've got at the poker tables, who cares? You're rich! Money flows like water! You're not like me, where you lose twenty bucks on a crappy hand of Hold 'Em and rage-quit, taking your remaining 5 dollar chip to the cashier with a sullen attitude!

But if you're just some schmo in town for an anime and manga convention, Vegas does not like you. You're nothin'. Just another easy mark to slowly drain your feeble earnings on terrible games owned and run by terrible people. Someone who goes to New York New York and is forced into the indignity of paying fourteen dollars to ride a roller coaster.

That reminds me of the thing I hate the most about Vegas:

1) FOURTEEN BUCKS TO RIDE A GOD DAMNED ROLLEY COASTER

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For Christ's sakes it's a roller coaster! I just wanted to ride a stupid roller coaster because I was looking forward to a brief moment of adrenaline-inspired joy to drown out the sorrows of a city-wide Misery Machine!

Or maybe it's just me. Is Vegas really as villainous as I think? Feel free to tell me why I'm wrong below.

More from Brian Hanson:

7 Other Weird (and Sometimes NSFW) News Stories About World of Warcraft and Other MMOs

Ten Manga and Anime Artists That Nearly Worked Themselves to Death

More links from around the web!

 
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