With July coming to a close, so is our coverage of Anime Expo 2023. While many went to Anime Expo to check out cool cosplays, find exclusive anime merch, try video game demos, and see anime premieres, some went to just experience it all. At this Anime Expo, HP Omen decided to do something a bit different than how it has done things in the past. Instead of making a stereotypical computer stand showcasing products, they chose to do something else. At Anime Expo, HP Omen debuted its Spirit of Fun booth.
Rather than showcasing all of HP Omen and Hyper X’s new products, HP took a different approach by creating a booth for guests to interact with and create their own adventures. Along their journey, travelers could find amazing photo opportunities with hidden secrets located within each room. This new experience is called the #SpiritofFun. At the start, guests receive a wristband that they register and could tap against one of three blocks located within each room. These three blocks determined each guest’s spirit companion and could make a special appearance while adventures documented their journey through a video; the three possible spirit companions each guest could have found are a Dragon, Axolotl, or a Kitsune.
Within the booth, each room had its own unique theme and feel. When visitors interacted with the decision blocks, it triggered a special effect within certain rooms. In the Sakura Blossom Room, the Koi in the pond could light up or a fan would turn on and blow to make the leaves on the Sakura tree move. In the ramen room, guests could get in the Ramen, lie down, and play in the soup.
Once every room was interacted with, guests could go to the green screen room (XR Stage) and choose their video settings; this allowed guests to choose their background. Once the setting had been chosen, they could then decide how they wanted to pose or if they wanted to do a special action. For our preview, we chose to do the Fusion dance from Dragon Ball Z. Once the video had been taken, guests could create their own quick little reel and send it to themselves using one of the HP Omen computers.
Each choice guests made were based on three factors Magic, Play, or Adventure. Magic was described as “The energy capable of invoking supernatural effects; from powers to transformations. There are many universes with their own magical systems within them.” Play was described as “Whimsically engaging in activities for enjoyment and recreation, no real practical or serious reasons.” Finally, Adventure was explained as “The encountering of risks, a bold undertaking in which hazards are to be encountered; a daring feat.”
Expanding the Spirit of Fun
For guests who could not be at Anime Expo or just want to create their own adventure, HP has posted an interactive experience on their YouTube page. This experience titled Start Your Journey allows you to create your own adventure.
Although HP is typically known for its computers and Hyper X accessories, the booth focused more on guests’ interactions and the Spirit of Fun; it was an interesting experience overall that drew a variety of cosplayers and others to the booth to take amazing photos and videos. In fact, the interactive exhibit most likely increased the number of eyes that were on HP compared to a traditional booth.
Going through the exhibit, we could see what HP was going for with guests designing their own narratives. Based on guests’ responses and our experience, we would have to say it was a success. As we were leaving the booth, we could hear some of the people in front of us talking about their experiences and even mentioned looking up HP Omen laptops.
Before Anime Expo, HP and Omen were just another name in the gaming sphere. Yes, they are known, but there isn’t an immediate must-buy or need-to-have like Sony, Microsoft, or Apple products. This experience made HP seem like less of a robotic corporation and more like a group of individuals who want to create something for gamers to enjoy. Hopefully, the Spirit of Fun booth will present at other conventions for years to come.