Someone Set Gen Con Up The Bomb

2008 February 19
by Vanir

In internets time this is old news, but some of you may have noticed that Gen Con filed for bankruptcy yesterday. For those of you who haven’t read the article, the con is thankfully still on this August. Apparently, all this nastiness is a result of them being sued by Lucasfilm. You don’t mess with George Lucas. Stormtroopers are really nothing but his gigantic legal team dressed in costume, except in real life they CAN hit the broad side of a barn. And I’m no stormtrooper, but last time I checked, Chapter 11 bankruptcy means sometimes the creditor winds up getting the assets of the debtor. That could mean a Lucas-owned Gen Con.

I really have to wonder what Gary Gygax thinks of all this stuff since the first Gen Con was held at his house. I somehow doubt he looked into a crystal ball and said “One day, this will be owned by Hasbro but then sold to a private individual who made a fortune off of cards with paintings and numbers them who was then sued by the people who will one day make a great space movie trilogy and then three seriously lackluster prequels”. Perhaps I am wrong?

Times Change

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but in recent years, I have noticed a change in the ‘con — and not necessarily for the better. I have noticed the sales floor shrinking rapidly. I noticed the Art Show suddenly occupying 1/3 of what used to be the sales floor two years ago. I saw less special guests brought by the convention itself and more from individual companies. Because, you know, Hayden Panettiere hawking a CCG about horses is what I drive to Indy for.

Up until a couple years ago, this really bothered me. Used to be, I came to Gen Con so I could basically do aggravated damage to my visa account. My first ‘con was in 1997, and I beheld stuff with my own eyes that I had only seen in Dragon magazine before when I was a kid. The only place that sold D&D books around me was Waldenbooks, and they didn’t have much. And I didn’t have any money to buy anything back then, so this was like retail Christmas. The Chessex booth alone damn near killed me. Now, it’s different. And I wonder whether it’s the ‘con or just times changing. These days, you can get pretty much anything your little heart desires on the Internet. And they’ve gotten rid of most of the really fun shops that sell stuff you can’t find other places. (Apparently, you can find bootleg copies of old cartoons on the Internet. Who knew??!)

Why I’ll Still Be Going

For me, though, there was a silver lining for all of this. Once the “main attractions” started to get worse for me and I started wondering if this yearly trek was worth it, I decided to go one last time and actually try some events. That got me into Nascrag and True Dungeon.

I could care less at this point if they can get big name actors to show up. I could care less if the sales floor is giant and tempting. It’s close enough for me to get to easily, and it draws enough people that I can still have a lot of fun with new friends. And as long as that’s still there, I’ll be on the road every August. We are Gen Con. All of us. And as long as we keep going somewhere each year to have fun, none of this matters.

We’re looking forward to this year in particular because this website has revealed to us a lot of new friends and readers we’d like to meet. I envision unparalleled levels of Completely Awesome.

Gen Con is one of my favorite events of the entire year, and I really wish the folks at Gen Con well. I hope they can weather all of this and keep on producing the event we’ve all come to know and love.

I Love My Wife Dearly, But She Is Really Strange Sometimes

I do have to mention, though, that when I told my wife Efreak (who is a professional graphic designer) about the whole bankruptcy thing, she got this evil gleam in her eye and said “does this mean you’ll be going to Dragon*Con from now on?”

She’s the only person I know who would have me travel another 800 miles just because she hates Gen Con Indy’s checkered-flag logo.

Admittedly, it’s about as “nerd” as having a deer’s antlered head in some crosshairs and having the text appear in camouflage tones. Or maybe a mud-covered pickup truck. Or HHH and Mankind IN A PINK SLIP ON A POLE MATCH.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. ChattyDM permalink
    February 20, 2008

    Woot Darth Vader will run Gen Con!

    Just my luck, I finally get the nerve to participate and convince my wife to spend thousands of our hard earned family money on it and the thing files for Chapter 11!

    Well, at least we’ll have a blast!

    I got my Paranoia XP book from Amazon so I’m all ready for you guys!

  2. Dave The Game permalink
    February 21, 2008

    From all the press releases, it’s pretty clear that GenCon Indy isn’t going anymore (as its the big money maker.

    Tell your wife to look at the Origins logo (without the weird photography overlay.) I always thought it was pretty nice typography.

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