Joe takes on Gen Con: Day Four

 

Well today was the last day. And, as a Sunday, it was appropriately relaxing.

The video game front was mostly calm, with a smattering of Dota and League of Legends still going on, though there wasn’t anything close to the fever pitch of competitiveness that can boil up around gaming contests. It was nice to sit back and play a fun game of Smash Bros and unwind.

Most of the people there were just there to have fun on the big screen Smash set up, not there to compete. And I have to say it was fairly awesome to play with a new group of people.

After the game, and a quick stroll down Capitol to stretch my legs and pay a visit to the Soul Food truck for a basket of perfectly seasoned chicken wings, I did another walk through of the exhibition hall.

There was a lot of stuff I really wanted, in particular three different statues from the Tales Of series, featuring Asbel, Lloyd, and Sorey, the new hero of the upcoming Tales of Zestiria.

Except they each cost over a hundred dollars. I had enough money on me, but that’s a lot of mullah to drop on a fancy figurine, even if it’s an incredibly nice one. Thankfully for my wallet, the Kingdom Hearts figures had sold sometime in the last two days, so I can’t splurge completely.

The entire convention center had the air of winding down about it. There were still enormous crowds, but all those with shiny four-day badges on their lapels had a notice tired gait to their steps. It’s been one hell of a long weekend. I think people will be just as relieved that it’s over as they will be sad.

There was a noticeably denser crowd today, with the throngs having grown so thick that I was impossible to move between the various displays without being surrounded on all sides. I’m usually a very calm person in crowds, but even I got claustrophobic. Shuffling through shoulders isn’t as easy as it seems.

From there, I walked across the street to Crown Plaza Hotel, and attended a double length panel on Japanese folklore, and how it’s influenced various anime and video games. A lot of the references I’d already known, like that Dragonball is basically a straight up retelling of Journey to the West, but I ahd no idea that Sailor moon was based on Princess Kaguya. I really do need to get into that series at some point.

Next was a series of comedy shorts in the Westin ballroom by the Dead Gentleman. Overall they were fairly good, though some of their earlier work was far less than perfect, with jokes that didn’t land and awkward staging. But they were newcomers after all.

The day ended with one last walk through, and a happy gaze at everything. There’s a fantastic atmosphere to Gen Con, one of enthusiasm that you usually don’t see very often. Nerds, passionate as they are, can be a very cynical bunch. Half of the internet is angry rants about certain games sucking, and the most popular commentators get their viewership through vicious ranting.

So it’s good to see people bonding en mass with complete strangers. Tabletop gaming is an older medium than video games, so they’ve already gone through many of the growing pains that their digital siblings are still going through. You don’t see nearly as many flame wars between tabletop fans.

Gen Con was a fantastic experience this year, and I very much hope to go again next year. I’ll have too, seeing as the layered schedule meant missing a lot of what I wanted to see. So, next time, less anime and more fantasy writers.

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