After living my entire life in and around the Indianapolis area (minus my short stints in San Fran and Tokyo), I finally decided to take the plunge into the "Geekdom" known as GenCon 09. For those of you who are unfamiliar with one of Indy's largest and most successful conventions to come to the Circle City, join me after the jump to be Skool'd by this N00B of the Gaming Convention World.
Totally Gay for GenCon!
If you were downtown this weekend, you had to notice that there was something peculiar about those walking down the street, and I'm not talking about the individuals dressed in white and blue headed to Lucas Oil stadium for the Colts first pre-game of the season. I'm talking about the Bards, Pirates, Goth-Lolita's, Anime Vixens, and sorcerers waiting at the cross-walks, walking in packs along the street and overtaking the Circle Center Mall. If you've lived in Indianapolis for any length of time, you know it must be time for GenCon once again. But what is GenCon? I think the GenCon website (www.gencon.com) explains it best:
"Gen Con Indy is the original, longest running, best attended, gaming convention in the world. For over 40 years, Gen Con Indy has been setting the trend and breaking records. Last year, more than 28,000 unique attendees experienced Gen Con Indy. The biggest complaint we hear is that there is simply too much to do, see, and experience. Get lost in a phantasm of art exhibits. Stare at jaw-dropping costumes, or better yet, wear one of your own. Meet the movers and the shakers in the gaming industry. Check out the newest games and get a sneak peek at the latest editions.
And, of course, play your heart out with fellow enthusiasts in a community that understands your passion. What you'll experience at Gen Con Indy is nothing short of IT. You know, whatever "It" is for you? This is IT! Get ready to get there.
So my "IT" may be just a tad bit different than the majority of "30,000 thought leaders, trendsetters and diehard enthusiasts in the gaming community" partly due to my sexuality but mostly due to the fact that my gaming has taken a back seat to my Chemistry Career, Husbandry, and political activism for LGBT rights through Indy Impact. But regardless - The world's LARGEST gaming convention and ANIME to boot?! Sounds like a damn good time to me, even if a one day pass costs $48/person. So I dragged my Husband (surprisingly NOT kicking and screaming) and decided to cash in my experience pts to become that Level 28 (Dark Mage) Geek.
We arrived at the convention doors at approximately 11:30AM on Saturday. The line to purchase our convention badges wound from inside the convention center around the corner to Capital street. My husband made the lovely comment "My - this is the most sun any of these people have seen all summer." After chastising him and explaining the political incorrectness of his statement, we were well on our way into a day full of gaming, anime and eye-candy galore.
Surprisingly, the line that stretched around the convention moved quickly and by noon we found ourselves in the exhibition hall. We spent over 4 hours browsing anime stores, gaming kiosks, and art galleries (with artists willing to turn you into your level 28 dark mage for nominal fee). For a newcomer to GenCon, the exhibit hall is very intimidating. With so many convention goers crowding the aisles, and everything on sale from Magic the Gathering cards to REAL glass bottles to hold your favorite Mana Potion, my ADD went in overdrive. It was all I could do to ensure the husband was in tow as I ran from shop to shop looking for my coveted Sailor Moon RPG handbook (for nostalgia purposes of course...). Everyone was extremely pleasant and more than once I was asked to pose for a picture because of my "I'm Gayer Than You" © shirt that I made for Disney World Gay Days back in June.
After the exhibition, we took a much needed break and returned home to let our kids (Skippy the Chihuahua and Diana the beagle) out. Using the GenCon iPhone app, I proceeded to map out the rest of our GenCon experience for the evening, which included watching an independent film about a homeless man sent to kill Vampire Abraham Lincoln in The Transient and the remake of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rebuild Evangelion. Sadly the few hours we had that evening involved no gaming, but I got to watch Abe Lincoln try to suck the blood of Four-Score and 7 virgins while reliving one of the very reason why I'm still a part of the gaming/anime community: Evangelion .
Overall - the experience was thoroughly enjoyable. Professing my sexuality on my shirt only garnered a disapproving look once, and that was from a 12yo girl who will probably grow up to become a faghag and into Yaoi anyways. The people attending the convention were all thoroughly enjoyable and friendly, though I did sense a lacking in the gay gamer population. Any inclusion of LGBT themed discussion panels or official LGBT meet-ups were completely left out of this year's program. Luckily, GenCon allows many groups to host events at their convention, and considering I'm already considering buying my 4-day pass for next year's GenCon, I plan on changing that. I hope you'll be seeing IndyImpact in next year's list of over 6500 events - hosting the first ever GenCon GayGamer Meetup! Level 29 DarkMage Geek here I come!