Past Entertainment Articles.

Article for the week of 8/22/07

GenCon í07: After Action Report
By, Puns McKenna (Continued from Preview)
Thatís right folks; the best four days in gaming is over for another year. This year was the Fortieth Anniversary of the Gaming Convention known as GenCon. This year we honored the man behind it all, Gary Gygax, the father of modern gaming. Mr. Gygax is the original creator of Dungeonís & Dragonís, and co-created the idea of a gaming convention.

This yearís turn out was huge. Many vendorsí booths were packed from opening to closing each day. Many actors and other important personages were present throughout the Convention. Some of the important industry insiders included names like: Peter Adkison, Dave Arneson, Ron Edwards, Larry Elmore, Kaja Foglio, Phil Foglio, Matt Forbeck, Ed Greenwood, E. Gary Gygax, Tracy Hickman, Steve Jackson, R.A. Salvatore, Jordan Weisman, and many, many more.

Several authors were also present, such as Mike Stackpole, Jean Rabe, Tim Waggoner, Paul Genesse, Elizabeth Vaughan, and Anton Strout. Some had tables in the Authorís Avenue; others were simply walking around the Con and giving the occasional seminar. I can highly recommend the seminars given by Ms. Rabe. She has a unique insight into the publishing world. As both a writer and an editor, she can see both sides of the fence and explains the ins and out of the business well.

I got to meet several of these authors in the flesh and it was a pleasant surprise to find that many of them are as rabid about gaming as the rest of the Con-goers. In fact I found several that were rabid Battletech fans. Talk about immensely satisfying. I was able to promote my own writing as well as the Gaming Universe I am immersed in. Imagine a romance writer being a Battletech nut and huge Axis & Allies fan. It was awesome and inspiring at the same time.

Now, I know before I said there were only five types of gamers. Boy was I wrong. There is also a little known sixth flavor of gamer geek. The conscientious type. These are the ones that hygiene may or may not matter as much to. They try to keep from being offensive in their body odor and manners. And many of them succeed. On no less than four occasions while I was at the convention, I saw other gamers giving way to less fortunate gamers.

Disabled folks were treated with common courtesy. If they needed to get through a door, they were often helped through. I saw several that were allowed to cut in line at the snack stands and often in restaurants. Even the folks that were brave enough to dress up in costume were treated like human beings. Females were ogled of course, but they werenít ever accosted. One guy I remember, I met in the elevator at my hotel.

He was dressed in one of the hottest costumes I had seen at the convention. From head to toe he was dressed as a Lion. A pretty wicked looking lion too. He had long ruby claws, and this walking stick that made The Witchdoctor look like small potatoes. It was awesome and a bit disconcerting to ride in the same elevator as this gentleman. But I noticed that he got a wide berth from most. And the man walking around on stilts in a kilt just blew me away.

This guy had a pair of stilts that made his lower legs look as though they belong to a hairy Scotsman. The bottom of his kilt was at about the same level as my head, which meant he was standing at least five feet four inches off the ground. More likely he was about six feet off the ground, perched on what essentially amounted to a pair of two by fours. It was awesome as he kept walking around shouting, ďIím the comic relief here!Ē

Despite the level of ďgamer funkĒ that was present, the Con was a great success. People from all walks of life came together for four days and shared common bonds. Companies unveiled new products, and won awards. Most notably the Classic Battletech 4th Edition Boxed set was released to thunderous applause. Demos were run almost constantly. Catalyst Games Labs, the publishing arm of InMediaRes made a very nice accounting of itself, and the booth was never idle!

This was definitely the Best Four Days in gaming. Fun was had by all that attended, and many of those will attend again next year.

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