Geeks in the Mist: Conventions

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A likely scene from a convention room.

If you’ve ever wanted to see a bunch of geeks in one place, check your local listings for conventions.  Gaming, anime, science fiction or just a mixture of all kinds of geek related culture.

Depending on the size and the theme of the convention, you can see quite a few different aspects of the geek community.  GenCon, held in Indianapolis, is arguably the biggest in the Midwest, dwarfed only by a few others, most notably Dragon Con.

I’ve only been to one in my life.  Archon, held in Illinois outside of Saint Louis, was three days of insanity that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  While geeks can be fairly geeky during the evening, their propensity and ability to drink is matched by none other than the staunchest of alcoholic football fans.

But it’s not all alcohol and bad decisions.  Take anime conventions.  If you’re a fan, you can go and be surrounded by people just like you.  Pick up some new stuff, get some ideas and meet creators, artists, writers and all manner of people in the anime world.  Every convention caters to a wide range of geek.

Since Archon is the only one I’ve been to, I can’t really comment with first hand experience on any others, but there is a certain theme that runs with them all.

First, you have your gamers.  Roleplaying games are one of the staples of the geek community, an you can usually find a room dedicated to these adventurers and dice slingers.  It is common knowledge to avoid this room by day three or so.  It’s not that all gamers don’t like showering, just enough of them.

Secondly, you have tech geeks.  These masters of the computer world often hold classes or Q&As for their various skills, like podcasting.  They can be interesting.

And there are other things about cons which are downright frightening.  Furries come to immediate mind.  I don’t know when they started to infect the convention world, but their inception comes with mixed results.  It depends on how much you’ve always wanted to see an adult wear a full fox costume.  I know it isn’t completely about sex, but enough of it is, and that makes it a little disconcerting.

Also present are the Live Action Role Players, or LARPers.  While we will go into more details about this phenomena later, the only primer you need is the knowledge that these people take the tabletop gaming to a new level.  Rather than sit around at a table with some beer and pizza, they take it to a new level by dressing up and living their characters.  Some geeks look down on them and their foam swords and capes, but there is one thing the LARPers have: At least they get outside and exercise on occasion.

I can’t talk too much on every convention as they all differ.  Stars from various geek shows and movies come to give panels and autographs, alcohol is drank, masquerades, dances and competitions are held.  While some may look down on the convention participant, they just don’t understand the fun to be had.

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