Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Events & Play Wednesday - Gary Con VIII Wrap Up

Gary Con has been a growing concern for eight years since it first became the Old School convention of the northern USA and quite possibly the gem in the crown of all conventions.  Let's face it, gaming conventions got their real foothold in the American zeitgeist right in Lake Geneva, WI, with the help of Gary Gygax in the late 1960s and became the tiger all gamers and the game industry wanted to grab by the tail in the 1970s with the advent of Dungeons & Dragons.  Gary Con is now the forever-beating heart of the origins of gaming and game conventions, boasting more special guests from that early period than any other event, plus many newer guests as well.  It is quite possibly the purest expression of gaming fun that can exist and it needs to be better treated.


Don't get me wrong.  I'm not suggesting that Gary Con doesn't have folks who care about it.  Everyone who attends and staffs Gary Con, loves Gary Con.  If you told people involved in Gary Con they could never be involved again unless they got a small GC tattoo somewhere on their person, attendance would still grow and the few who hadn't done it would likely not have been people most others would notice missing.  "Clearly, in this modern age," one cries, "we'd make an exception regarding the tattoos for the needle-squeamish feint-of-heartsters and those with allergenerational pointytitus!" but, "Neigh," I cry in return.  "We of the deep imagination make no such exceptions and require those who wish to skirt the requirement come up with clever solutions of their own rather than ask for a pass."  It's the Gary Con way.  We send one of theirs to the tattoo parlor, they send one of ours to the Jim Ward.  He promptly tears up their character.


However, just as one would not allow their vintage car to be serviced by someone who was not a top-rated mechanic, the convention needs to be handled much more carefully to ensure that fewer mistakes are made pre-con, during badge registration, event submission, and event registration.  The number of online complaints was at an all time high this year which also suggests that behind the scenes there were even more from folks who were emailing, PMing, and telexing their umbrage (this is Old School, after all!).  The volunteers are all working hard and to their fullest to avoid problems, and their efforts are appreciated, but it simply isn't enough.  Ironically, the staff winds up working all the harder correcting mistakes that should be avoided in the first place.  At the end of the day, the vast majority of attendees have fun because that is the nature of gamers.  We take the situation we are in and make the most of it.  But make no mistake, taking advantage of that gentle gamer nature reflects very poorly on those who do.  While apologies are also appreciated, not correcting the problems going forward makes the apologies ring hollow.  It's not in the spirit of Gary nor of Gary Con.  Keep Rolling & Game On!


News of Conventions and Gamedays as well as pictures
from those I have attended and games I have played.
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