It’s convention season, but we’re not talking about political punditry and barb-wired ensconced “free speech zones.” We’re talking about the summer-long equivalent of pop culture Christmas. Between massive comic shows in San Diego and Chicago, and a myriad of other specific events, there stands one gigantic tribute to all things gaming. It’s called GenCon Indy, and our fair city is its home.
Over 25,000 visitors will descend on North America’s largest consumer hobby game convention at the Indiana Convention Center from Aug. 19-22. Shockingly, the already-massive event continues to grow; pre-registrations went up 20 percent from last year.
Attendees can look forward to 230 booths that run the gamut, from card to miniature to video gaming, and then choose to participate in any of 3,500 game events that will occur during the show.
As is the wont of popular conventions, the floor will be sprinkled will celebrity appearances of the genre entertainment variety. Those scheduled to attend include David Carradine (Kung Fu, Kill Bill), Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (of Buck Rogers), Marc Singer (The Beastmaster himself), Tanya Roberts (a former Charlie’s Angel), Linda Blair and many cast members of the original Battlestar Galactica.
Among the highlights planned for this year’s show include the rather stunning True Dungeon. As part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons, fans will be able to participate in a life-sized mock-up of a game. It’s a full-sized shout-out to the grid-maps of old, with props, sets, puzzles and traps. As an added bonus, the traps are decked out in William Castle fashion; if players fail to deactivate them properly, they might receive squirts of water, bright strobes or mild electrical shocks in response.
GenCon truly represents a quality community experience for those who love games of all styles, from the old-school RPG to the latest video craze. Four-day badges run $70; a one-day pass is $27. Kids under 8 are free with an adult. Hit GenCon.com for event and retailer details.