Jan 302013

GenCon. 2013. 'Nuff said

Do you hear the siren’s call? How do you resist four days of dedicated gaming?

Since it is 2013, barely, it must be time to talk about GenCon. Again.

The nerdiest nerdfest of them all, GenCon has stayed true to it’s RPG roots, steadfast and pure. None of your fancy video console games here, no thank you, you want XBox360 talk you need PAX. And keep that Hollywood comic book culture out of here too, Robert Downey Jr. and his ilk will never be nerds.

We are. Nerds.

Those of us at GenCon, we are nerds to the core, the real true nerds. We drip with nerd credibility. Especially by Saturday evening when the “nerd credibility” hangs in the air in the Indiana Convention Center as if it were the foul miasma surrounding the Temple of the Six.*

* Actually at times the “nerd credibility miasma” may be worse than that. You know you are in some kind of weird nerdy time warp when you are bombarded with constant PSAs reminding you to take a daily showers. Every day. With emphasis.

But I digress. This is about GenCon 2013, not memories of GenCon past. And as usual, I am excited!

My Gamer Girl and I acquired our badges early Sunday when we were first allowed to do so. Housing became available Tuesday, except we forgot and were three hours late to the housing signup. Three hours. Only three. But already, all of the hotels in walking distance to the convention center had sold out. How many rooms does Indy have downtown? Can they really all be gone? In three hours?

Ditching the official GenCon housing website, I am off to Kayak to see what is available.

Hotels all now have pricing software that changes the room fee based on demand (I worked on software like this once so I know I am not imagining things). Rooms that are $150 per night normally are now going for $250 or more. Every time I refresh the search page another hotel has filled, and rates have gone up for everything else. Literally right before my eyes, I could see Indianapolis selling out.

How bizarre. An entire city. Sold out.

It is grim. I manage to find us a walking-distance hotel, but it is one of the very few left and costs way too much.

This is sounding like something to avoid. Yes I am talking about overpriced hotels allowing you access to 40,000 people who probably smell bad. But that is not the point, not at all. Maybe I should take another tack on this before I scare everyone off.

GenCon is NOT something to avoid, it is something to embrace. It is not the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle it was during the early 90’s TSR heyday, when all of gaming was centered there. Now we have places like Comic-Con and PAX and GAMES*CON in Germany to share the load. GenCon is a little slower-paced and less glamorous.

But also sweeter. It remains the largest RPG and board-gaming hub in North America. You won’t get Robert Downey Jr but you won’t spend four hours in line either. You don’t demo the latest Call of Duty but you will be demoing the finest from Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Mayfair, Rio GrandeFantasy Flight, and dozens of smaller RPG and game publishers, often seeing games that aren’t yet available anywhere.

Now and then Turbine makes an appearance but if they are there it’s gravy, you can’t count on it. Don’t go to GenCon just because you want to meet DDO devs. Even though you might.

Many members of the DDO community make an annual appearance, and there’s always a get-together Friday night. But that’s only one night; don’t go just because you want to meet DDO players. Even though you will.

Go because you’ll have more access to more RPG and board gaming than you can get anywhere else. Go because Indianapolis is kind of fun and charming in it’s own right. Go because it’s GenCon, the Mother Convention of them all. Go because it is a great time!

See you there!

🙂 😀 🙂

What do you think?

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