I am fresh from my first venture into the wonderful world of GenCon, my friends, and I feel revitalized.
This may have been my fiance's 11th GenCon trip, but it was my first, and it was a lot more fun than even I expected!
As you wander the halls of the Indiana Convention Center, surrounded by people talking about Star Wars and Star Trek and Magic and trolls and hobbits and demons and swordplay and any manner of geeky activity, this is the only place where it's okay to stop someone and ask if that device they are carrying is a new game (no, it's just a fancy thermos), or which version of Settlers of Catan they are playing, or where they got that fantastic bright pink wig with the matching corset, or find people who actually *get* the jokes on your t-shirt.
It felt... like home. *sniff* Surrounded by people who are even geekier than myself. Inundated by social awkwardness that melts away as people find a common passion. Tip-toeing carefully around board games and card trades and minis spread everywhere, knowing just how valuable those items are to their owners and friends. For once feeling like the coolest person in a room because you can spout off the fundamental differences between a WoW priest and a D&D cleric, and which stats are most important for each type, and finally locating the one vendor who understands why it is so important to you to have a delightful female dwarf mini.
So... what did Miss Medicina do?
Drank way too much beer at The Ram. (And bought a t-shirt!)
Spent far too many hours wandering the exhibit hall (And bought a t-shirt!)
Picked up a fancy gencon badge holder (And bought a t-shirt!)
Restocked on card sleeves for my new-found delight in the WoW TCG and for my D&D spells
Remembered the prayer bead for every skill check for my cleric in True Dungeon (And almost fell through a mirror!)
Relived my childhood at Video Games Live as an orchestra rang out the midi files of my youth from Nintendo's Zelda to Mario Brothers to Lament of the Highbourne.
Bought dice. So... many.... dice....
Discovered Kill Doctor Lucky, and almost managed to do exactly that.
Ran into someone else from my hometown academic program, where we could reveal our secret geekygamergirl obsession for the first time.
I walked away with a few new collection hobbies that may come back to bite me in the ass, but I had a ridiculous amount of fun. I also have a new appreciation for the City of Indianapolis, which I confess pleasantly surprised me. I did not meet a single person who showed any sort of resentment towards the mass influx of geeks upon their fair city - in fact, we were welcomed with open arms. At the local mall where we stopped to get some food, we sat next to two well-blonded and tanned high school age girls whom I expected to be weirded out by us. Instead, one of them brightened up and pointed out a costume of someone walking by in great excitement as she recognized the Sailor Moon fans.
Everyone has a little bit of a geek somewhere inside it seems. GenCon is one of the few events at which you can completely let loose, and it's cool to be "uncool". We don't think your full suit of homemade chainmail is the mark of a loser here - we are all very impressed. Go ahead and rock out in that steampunk corset, lady, it's welcome here. See that dude over there? He writes the best Harry Potter fanfic.
I've been to several academic conferences in my life, but I probably met a greater number of truly brilliant, creative, and enthusiastic people at one GenCon than at all of my academic conferences combined. I was blown away by how welcoming everyone was. Ever since I met my fiance and was introduced into the deep geek world of gaming (I had been a closet gamer previously), I always felt a bit like an outsider. But not at GenCon! There's so much content, so much new stuff to see and learn, that everyone is new at something, and everyone is getting exposed to new things. Everyone is both a pro and a noob depending on the scenario, and it felt excellent. So much knowledge exchange...
I will followup with a picture post. Blogger isn't particularly picture friendly, so I need to do some finagling.