Gaming galore 

Costumes, role playing and a life-size dungeon: No, it isn’t some sort of kinky throwback to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s Gen Con Indy, coming to the Indianapolis Convention Center Aug. 14-17.

Gen Con began 40 years ago as an informal gathering at a friend’s house and has grown into a multicontinental giant of a gaming convention, attracting as many as 300 exhibitors and 30,000 attendees and taking place over four activity-packed days.
Fans of all kinds of games can find a niche at Gen Con. Exhibitors will feature video games, card games, board games, role playing games and live-action role playing games, computer games and everything else. This year, the Family Fun Pavilion will also showcase games created to be played by families.

The convention won’t just feature games, however. There are also several hobby-related events, like seminars, panel discussions, workshops, a costume contest, a sci-fi and fantasy art show, a place to meet with authors and an area meant especially for children.

If you’re planning on attending Gen Con, tickets (called badges) cost $45 for one day and $75 for a four-day pass. Beyond that, Gen Con has estimated that about a quarter of its attendees will spend between $100-$200 while there, with about 40 percent spending even more than that. The sheer size of the event makes it hard to resist the pull of so many new products, but attendees will undoubtedly tell you that it’s worth it.

In addition to the events taking place at the Convention Center, Gen Con will be utilizing the space in the hotels surrounding the event in order to extend the fun for attendees. Gen Con’s Web site says that events will be taking place 24 hours a day for the duration of the convention.

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has teamed up with Gen Con to present Video Games Live at the Hilbert Circle Theatre, in which the orchestra will perform music from popular video games, including Zelda, Mario and World of Warcraft. Tickets for the concert cost $22-$58 and can be obtained online at www.gencon.com or at www.IndianapolisSymphony.org, or at the Convention Center during the event.

Unique events and attractions at the convention will include True Dungeon, a 10,000-square-foot dungeon built inside the event, and Cardhalla, a city constructed of gaming cards, which attendees will destroy by throwing coins into the display. All of the coins thrown during this event will be collected and donated to charity.

This year, Trade Day will be held Wednesday, Aug. 13. This day is meant for gaming developers and other industry insiders, as well as teachers, librarians and retailers. Trade Day will feature programs and presentations geared toward this audience and participants will be allowed early access to the floor on Thursday morning (the first day of convention).

If you’re into any kind of game, check out this year’s Gen Con, as it promises to be both entertaining and fun. And don’t be afraid to pull that Halo costume from last Halloween back out of the closet, because if there was ever a time to wear it again, this is it.

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