SDCC 2016 Recap: Funko Fundays Was Missing Some of the Fun

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Photo by Beth Riley / GeekShot Photography

From the people who I’ve spoken to, there seem to be two camps of thought regarding this year’s Funko Fundays event. Those who had never been before had a great time, and I heard from many that in a convention where everything is a lottery and a fight, how refreshing it was to simply be handed exclusives upon entry (as well as drink tickets and access to free food). But for those of us who attended in previous years — 2016 was definitely different, and was missing, well, some of the fun.

Let’s take a step back, though, and examine why it felt different.

While I personally enjoyed last year’s event, I sat in the very back near the bar (because hi, have you met me?), and didn’t witness any of the broken limbs, table diving, and other insanity that happened closer to the front. But it happened – so kudos to Funko for deciding to host a much more relaxed, calmer event in 2016. Gone was the chair dancing and the throwing of exclusives out into the audience (though fear not, Funatics – the chugging of cans of corn remains).

But in changing the event, they also took a lot of the joy out of it. Instead, exclusives at the event were distributed by workers walking to each table and dropping a black IMG_0503bag of identical exclusives on each table (and by ‘identical’, we mean that everyone at the same table received the same items – other tables received other items). Although Funko spent much of the night trying to pump the audience up and get each section to scream the loudest in order to receive more prizes, everything felt predetermined – from the sections that won, to being guaranteed that black bag on the table. After awhile, we started to wonder why we were bothering to scream at all, when it didn’t seem to have any impact.

Whereas last year I felt appreciated by showing my enthusiasm at the event, this time it felt forced.

All of that is maybe okay – again, we’re all for the lack of broken limbs this year! – but they also seemed to distribute way fewer items in general. Which, considering they’d also raised the ticket prices for 2016, is pretty disappointing. Was that chocolate bar they distributed to everyone our consolation prize?

On the non-exclusives side of the show, I will say that this year, we could at least hear the announcements. While in 2015 our yelled conversations mostly went something along the lines of, “WHAT’S HAPPENING?” “I DON’T KNOW BUT THEY HAVE CANS OF CORN!” – this year you could both see and hear the TV screens from any seat in the house. The awards given out to Funko Funatics board members were relatively entertaining, though much of the entertainment went on a little too long. When the awards only impact maybe 10% of the room, do we need to spend half the night on them?

Plus, despite Funko asking attendees not to show up too early – the line to get in started early, and went very slowly during check-in. But hey, it’s Comic-Con, so that’s all to be expected.

Look — Funko Fundays is a San Diego Comic-Con party where you are guaranteed awesome, exclusive items, as well as a chance to hang out with friends and fellow fans, drink, eat, and generally enjoy yourselves. So it’s still a great time, and one of the better parties at the convention. After last year though (and in talking to others about years before that), something was definitely missing in 2016.

We still enjoyed ourselves, but we also spent most of the night going, “That’s it?” – and I don’t think we were alone.

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Photo by Beth Riley / GeekShot Photography

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Photo by Shawn Marshall / Parks And Cons

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Photo by Shawn Marshall / Parks And Cons

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Photo by Shawn Marshall / Parks And Cons

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Photo by Shawn Marshall / Parks And Cons

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site’s resident panel guru.

  • Andre

    Couldn’t agree more with you Kerry. I had the pleasure of running into you the next day and we discussed the things in this article. I still had fun, but something definitely was amiss. I did get a lot of cool POPS so I really shouldn’t complain, but the night just seemed….anti climatic. I was on team Vader as well and as the night went on it seemed like the enthusiasm diminished. They definetley gave out more stuff last year so that was disappointing. Oh and one minor correction….everyone didn’t receive the same item in the black bags, at least not at my table. Some had regular size prototypes and some, like myself, received small key chain ones. Despite whatever short comings the party had, I will definitely try and attend for the 3rd straight time next year!

  • Animeman1000

    It was my first time and I enjoyed myself a lot!! Sorry if it was
    missing something this year, but I felt like the awards were given out
    more fairly this year. Maybe you miss the chaos, but from what I’ve
    heard about the previous years I don’t.

  • Randor

    This was also my first Funko Fundays and I must say….. I had an absolute blast. I keep hearing that more stuff was given out last year, but it seems to have all gone to the trampling mobs….. which really sounds like the worst time ever. That being said, I walked away with my Fundays bag, another pop, and a prototype and thought I won the jackpot! haha. I do agree that the ‘cheer races’ were obviously rigged which made the cheering seem worthless.

    All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Can’t wait for next year!

  • Was it just the protos that were different for you? Those were different for us too, but the rest of the bags (like the Night Kings/Charlie Browns/etc.) per table were all identical that we saw.

  • Rob Sibbald

    My first Fundays as well and I had a great time. I was at the end of the line coming in and I really felt appreciated that Funko sent people down and apologized for the wait and promised that the doors would not be opened to the main floor until we were all in the room. They kept their promise – thanks Funko! We had a great time at our table, shared laughs and yells… yeah team Vader. I could easily see some individuals who wanted to take the party to last year’s level of mayhem – they were quickly brought under control by Funko staff. I liked that each table got the same Pop’s as it avoided any possible conflict between up to 10 strangers – one or more who may ‘envy’ what someone else got. I believe that Funko wanted to run a fun – safe event which promoted Funko and the Funko family brand. I feel that overall they achieved that. Sponsoring an event that purposely promotes chaos and ill will towards others (as people literally ‘fight’ for ‘their’ Funko) is not what CCI nor Funko want as an end result. Sure the cheering races were rigged, but who cares, I had ‘a hoot.’ I also liked the playing card lottery, awards recognition and ‘corny’ impersonators 😉

    I will definitely try for a ticket next year.

  • Alberto Ruiz

    I got to see James there… I ddnt know how to approach him lol

    All in all, fun experience. I was expecting people jumping forward and such but was too exhausted to do it. So it was good to recieve this mild and enjoy your evening chill.

  • zonkttc

    “After last year though (and in talking to others about years before that), something was definitely missing in 2016.” Yes the thing/s missing was the broken limbs…things like that will change an event. just be glad you attended this year for god’s sake. stop complaining that you didn’t get as much stuff, or less stuff was handed out this year from other years. again just be glad you attended.

  • NYAvsFan

    This was my second year, and last year was a disaster. My friend was one of the people injured (she took an intentional elbow to the face during the mad tshirt scramble). This year my best friend brought his son (he’s 6 and a budding Funatic) and we were ready to bodyguard him if needed. I’m glad it was not.

    A lot of people complained they got “less stuff” however, I noticed last year a ton of things going to the same people over and over. This year the playing field was leveled at Fun Days, much like it was at the Funko booth.

    Also I know the upped the number of attendees this year, but the room seemed absolutely massive compared to last year. I enjoyed the food and booze and me and everyone at my table had a great time. I wouldn’t have minded getting another free shirt, but I walked away with a Kylo Ren and 4th Doctor Freddy and that was all I needed for the evening to be a complete success.

  • NYAvsFan

    I think those were the same for every table. Everyone at mine got Ernie but vastly different protos.

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