We are here to celebrate 50 years of Gen Con today. To those of you who don’t know what Gen Con is, it is the largest gaming convention in the United States. Gen Con covers everything game related, from tabletop and card games, to video games, role-playing, miniatures, and a surprising number of other categories. It is hosted every year in Indianapolis in August and has a major impact on the tabletop scene every year.
For me, Gen Con started when I was 16. At that time I was going for Magic: The Gathering. Our little band of card slingers went representing Metropolis Comics shirts and played countless hours of Magic in the open card halls. Back then the con was still held in Milwaukee, and as a kid from a relatively small town, it felt like a whole giant city just for me to play games in and enjoy.
Every time I step back into the convention center (even though it is in a different city) I still get that feeling. It is something akin to the feeling of arriving home after a long trip. This is the third con I have missed since I was 16, and it’s a bit of a bummer. Then I think about why I’m not there and I can’t help but smile.
This year instead of going to the con I am sitting at home working on a Kickstarter for a card game my friend and I made. That seems pretty cool. The last few cons I went to I attended seminars on game design, crowd-funding, and a few random others. I talked to creators, vendors, and gamers. Gen Con is part of why I am where I am, in a literal sense.
Who I am as a gamer today has been shaped over the years by those I have had the privilege to game with. That group of friends and family have often been with me while at Gen Con. Almost every one I went to Mitch was with me as well. To both of us Gen Con represents more than a good vacation. It is a place to aspire to.
We may not have a booth at the con in the next year or two (or will we?) but I think of walking the floor and seeing a copy of Renown sitting on one of the shelves there, at my convention, and I can’t help but smile.
Games mean a lot of different things to different people, but in the end they are all about having fun. Gen Con is four days of celebrating exactly that. It is four days of celebrating having fun with other people.
Gen Con officially starts today and the doors open tomorrow. This year they are celebrating 50 years of people coming together to play games with each other. So if you are at home, take the night to sit around and play a board game with your family. If you are traveling, or just don’t have the time, sit back and watch an episode of Tabletop or plan a game night for when you can.
Hello from the west coast! This is my favorite time of year, Gen Con! Sadly I’m out west helping a friend with some ranch work so I won’t be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary in person but I am always there in spirit.
My first Gen Con was 17 years ago. I went to play Magic: The Gathering and that’s what I did for the most part, but I fell in love with the games, people, and the atmosphere. When I wasn’t slinging cardboard you could find me in the artist room or the vendor hall. I was hooked from that moment forward.
I’ve attended the greatest 4 days in gaming 12 times since then and each one was memorable. I’ve had year long D&D games culminate there with stunning treachery and amazing heroics. I’ve played against some amazing Magic players and my favorite part: I’ve found great games to play.
I’m off to work, so Happy Anniversary Gen Con! Hopefully I’ll be there next year with Renown in hand.