GenCon Indy 2011

GenCon is the world's largest gaming convention, and in 2011 it was held over the weekend of August 4-7 at the convention center in downtown Indianapolis. We had agreed to help the local anime club with anime programming, so we went downtown on Wednesday evening to attend an organizational meeting and pick up our badges. There was some slight delay in getting the badges and our swag bags weren't ready, but we were able to take care of the most essential things and still get home before it got too late and dark.

Thursday morning we headed downtown again. Although we weren't scheduled for a shift at Anime Alley until afternoon, we wanted to get a look at the dealers' room and pick up our swag bags. The dealers' room felt more like the exhibits at a professional conference like the American Library Association, since it was dominated by the huge booths of the major gaming companies. A lot of them even had gaming tables where they were demonstrating their newest games.

statue of a drow elfAfter lunch, which we had to eat out because the logistics of carrying a lunch were too problematic, we headed over to the Westin Hotel for our first Anime Alley shift. It was pretty simple -- I just sat at a table in the staff room and looked after the DVD's, answering questions as they came up. I spent a good bit of my time working on a short story I was writing for a contest.

By the time we were finished working, it was late enough that we just went home. The dealers' room was already closed for the evening, and the swag bags still weren't ready, so there wasn't any reason to hang around.

Dalek at Dr. Who exhibitOn Friday we headed back downtown. Since our anime alley shift started earlier, we picked up food and ate in anime ops before starting our shift. However, I was so tired that I spent a lot of my shift fighting sleep.

Afterward we headed home and I got some stuff printed up. Then I did a LiveJournal post about jumping on bandwagons and how it can feed a moral panic.

On Saturday we went to the dealers' room again and I saw an old flame from my college years that I hadn't seen in years. We talked for a little while and caught up on the paths our lives had taken.

Then it was time to head over to the used and classic game auction. There were some interesting items, but a lot of them had gone up significantly in price, so we only put out a few bids.

Tardis at Dr. Who exhibitBy the time we got to anime alley for our shift, I was pretty much wiped out. I was hoping to get some writing done, but I could tell that even with caffeine I wasn't going to have the necessary level of focus. So I pulled out my sketchbook and did some drawing, although nothing turned out quite the way I wanted. By the time we ended our shift, I was ready to head home and get some sleep.

On Sunday we thought we were going back to the Arby's to get sandwiches for lunch like we'd done on Friday, but they were closed. Apparently they cater entirely to the weekday office crowd and aren't even open on weekends. So we had to rethink our lunchtime strategy at the last minute, but we were able to get food and still get to anime alley in time.

At least this time I was more wide awake and was able to get a fair amount of work done on the writing. After our shift was over, we headed back to the convention center to make a last-minute check of the dealers' room and the used-game auction. The bag checker at the auction was being officious, so I ended up sitting out in the atrium while my husband checked our bids -- none of which we'd won, to our disappointment.

By then everything was shutting down, so we decided it was time to take off and head home. Still, I'd enjoyed the experience enough that I was looking forward to next time.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.