Confessions of a First Time Convention-goer (GenConer)
Last weekend was GenCon. I’ve never been to any type of convention or expo or anything like that. I had next to no idea of what to expect. I want to talk about what I saw and what I did right and what not to do next year.
When I first parked my car I wasn’t actually sure where the convention center was but I had a general direction and when I saw a Jedi walking down the street I decided to follow him. I did have a good time at GenCon. I didn’t actually do a whole lot except for just sit and watch people/cosplayers walk by. The cosplaying was the first thing I really noticed and it was so awesome to see the Ox King walk by next to Goku and Super Android 17. Just behind them was Moka from Rosario + Vampire.
I did play some games. Battletech was one of those games and one of the very video games there. They had 12; I’m going to call them, emersion pods. It was a free-for-all mech battle simulation. There were 7 monitors each with their own display and function. I got my butt handed to me by people who had played this game before. I did walk through the rooms with arcade cabins and console games set up. People were playing Dance Central, Rock Band, Halo, Call of Duty, and things like that. But video games aren’t the focus of GenCon. The other kind of gaming is; board games, card games, D&D, and things of that sort. I watched people play those games because I didn’t have a clue what was going on. There were a series of games that were set on a 20’ish long table. There wasn’t a board per se, but instead was green felt to simulate grass on a battlefield. When people
moved they used rulers and tape measures to judge how far they could go each turn. I had never seen a game like that but there were a lot of them. Apparently Warhammer is played that way. They were just fantasy styled either there was an American Civil War game that I sat down and watched for a bit. I did also play a game of tag. Yes tag. It was called Cards vs. Zombies. When you start you get a green band and three dart cards. Humans wear the band on their arm and zombies on their head. If a zombie tags a human then the human has to give up a dart card. If the human runs out of dart cards then they are now a zombie. If a zombie collects 75 dart cards then they can upgrade to a yellow band and humans have to give up two cards. If they collect 100 dart cards then they can upgrade again to a red band and humans have to give up three cards. I only saw one red and one yellow zombie the entire weekend I was there. I snuck by the yellow zombie without him seeing me to immediately ran in a red zombie and he tagged me but I only had two cards left so I was zombified and the band moved from my arm to my head. Of course I only saw three humans all weekend after that.
Beyond that I hung out a bit in what was called “Anime Alley”. It wasn’t just anime though there were live action films shown in that area too. But mostly it was anime. There were episodes of anime being shown via Crunchyroll on a computer connected to a projector. I did poke my head into a couple rooms to see if a recognized the anime and I did a couple times. The only event that I knew about ahead of time and was looking forward to was the Mystery Anime Theater 3000 event. It was exactly what you think it was. Where Mystery Science Theater 3000 watches shitty sci-fi movies and does color commentary over it, Mystery Anime Theater 3000 watches shitty anime and does color commentary over it. The anime was Revolutionary Girl Utena. To which I do NOT recommend. This movie had no plot whatsoever. The movie ends with a lesbian, pink-haired, sword welding chick being sucked into a car wash that busts out of the ground on a floating rose garden and turned into a car. Yep she gets TURNED INTO A CAR. And her lesbian lover gets in a drives away. So it was just gold to riff on. I look forward to that event next year. While wait for Mystery Anime Theater to start I saw a humongous line for something. It was for the screening of The Gamers: Hands of Fate. I didn’t find out until the next day that that movie was a sequel to Dorkness Rising, its full title is The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. Luckily the next day was a second showing. The first movie was about a group playing D&D, the Hands of Fate is a continuation of that group only one of them gets into a card game and that game takes him to GenCon. Hey, I’ve been there. That was the only thing I did on my second day. Afterward while walking back to the rest of the convention center I passed by the cast of the movie I just watched. I had to do a double take.
Over all I really enjoyed GenCon. Now it’s time to talk about what I did right and wrong. What I did wrong was wear the wrong shoes. I’ve had these shoes for years and they’re my everyday shoes. But there also a bit worn especially on the bottom. So now I have a blister on the ball of my foot. Another thing I did wrong, well not really wrong but something I regret, I went alone without knowing any one there. I know I would have had much more fun with a buddy or two there. Next year, I plan to rectify that. As well as look harder for events to attend. For events tickets are required. You can either get a ticket to make sure you get into an event if the room gets full, i.e. The Gamers: Hands of Fate screening. Or you can buy general tickets which all events take if they require payment. General tickets are $2 apiece, I bought 15. I only used 5. That was $20 wasted. I thought that all events required tickets but that was not true at all.
Now for what I did right. I took a backpack; pockets tend to get cluttered full quickly. In that backpack I took pain pills which I did use because of my feet, a phone charger I didn’t need but better safe than sorry, and I also took my 3DS. Because of where I live I’ve never Streetpassed before so I figured GenCon was a great place to try it out. Oh boy was I right. There were so many people Streetpassing that by the time I had done the puzzle collecting and adventuring with the first 10 I had 10 more just waiting to go. Eventually I had just shut my 3DS or I would have sat there all day just Streetpassing like a mofo. I did end up with over 100 people added to my plaza and manage to complete three puzzles and the larger ones at that. I was really surprised to get a Streetpass from someone from Japan.
I am defiantly going next year. But like I said I will try to talk some friends into going with me. I now know what to expect so I will be prepared next go around also I’ll have an idea of what to expect if I go to other conventions too. If you’re around the Indy area next year around GenCon time hit me up.
All the photos I took (click to enlarge):