I have an assortment of observations, notes, and vignettes about Gencon that, with a bit of effort, could probably be turned into a coherent and organized essay. Instead I’m going to toss them in, one after the other, with nary a concern for transitions or the unified whole. Structure Police, come get me if you dare!
All the links in this entry are to pictures I took with my trusty Powershot s45.
The Block Party: your typical outdoor music festival type of scene, complete with fans packed up against the music stage. But behind them, the tables are filled with guys playing CCGs while they listen to the band. Which was, by the way, AC-D-She. Four girls, none talented, playing covers. The organizers didn’t exactly break the bank with that one.
An observation at the bar that night, from friend and loyal reader Greg Bush: “Ah, Gencon. The only place where there’s a line for the boys’ bathroom but not the girls.”
The Marriott had a small pool and, more importantly, an adjoining whirlpool that was actually hot enough. Perfect for winding down after a long day. One night I found myself in conversation with a physics teacher named Leroy who was at the Con to compete in the MageKnight National Championships. We commiserated about the trials of Nationals-level competation as the whirlpool slowly filled with a bevy of chatty goths. I wasn’t all that surprised that even their bathing suits were black, though I was impressed that the one girl’s neon hair didn’t stain the water even a bit.
Mildly Disturbing Dept.: The U.S. Army had a recruitment booth in the exhibit hall. They also had a bunch of computers where you could play America’s Army, their freeware first-person shooter.
The House of Cards is a regular fixture at the Con. Anyone can help build it. It’s made entirely out of common cards from defunct collectible card games — a telling statement about the economics of CCGs.
The Costume Contest is something that everyone should see once. Unfortunately they didn’t allow flash photography, and consequently all my shots of it turned out blurry. The costumes range from impressive suits of armor and dazzling and intricately woven medieval dresses, all the way down to the Irish bard who slipped in and out of his accent and the kid who needed a few more muscles to fill out his Daredevil outfit.
There were quite a few Star Wars-inspired costumes, and by and large they were pretty impressive. It speaks to something ironic and a little tragic about that whole universe — it looks really really cool. Even the prequels have an excellent sense of visual design; if you hadn’t seen them yet and were shown a bunch of stills, you’d probably be very impressed. Watching the Jedi and aliens and bounty hunters pace the stage, I found myself wishing that there really was a story behind them all that was worth watching, too.
This costume exemplies the diversity of gaming geekdom. Or the obscurity of it. Or something. It’s a handmade costume that must have taken hours and hours to make, very impressive when you see it up close. I didn’t know what she was supposed to be when I took the picture, but later learned that she was depicting a Force Witch. “Force” as in “The Force Be With You,” though you won’t see one of those in any of the films. Force Witches are described in a minor sourcebook for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. So this lady drew her inspiration from a book about a game about a movie that nobody liked, and still made something that looks really cool. I like that.
And finally, a grab bag of other pictures:
A typical shot of the exhibit hall.
A shot from downtown Indy, whose architecture was quite interesting, actually.
Crazy Igor’s, the best place to buy anything old or out-of-print.
The requisite chainmail bikini. [UPDATE: Picture removed because it was generating insane amounts of search engine traffic that I wasn’t that interested in getting. Safe to assume that anyone to comes here looking for a picture of a chainmail bikini probably isn’t going to stick around for the articles, right?] Also, a dwarf, a Klingon, and the Ghostbusters. Plus some folks out of the Old West, I think. I don’t know why the girl has whiskers, though.
A giant Settlers of Catan board.
Jason only hugged the Hulk because I asked him too. Thanks, Jason!