Aug 04

Gen Con Is Coming…The Threequel

Less than two weeks to go!  That means it is time for another installment of Gen Con is coming.  Once gain we delve into past adventures, plans for this year, and hopes for the future!  At this point, it has ceased to be an abstract concept that I will be “Going to Gen Con later this year,” and has become a reality that is only a very short time away.  My excitement is palpable, and I am already starting to develop my course of action for the Con.  More on that later, as I see an old friend heading this way…

The Ghost of Gen Con Past…

This week’s flashback will be about the last Gen Con I attended before getting together with my future wife.  It is a story of triumph in the face of great adversity!

This tale takes place five years ago when Heather Tresner was still more than 13 months away from being Heather Hamm.  I was still a free range Hammy, significantly poorer, and had just started the job that I still have, under the impression that it would be a very temporary position.  The vehicle I drove was a 1997 Crown Victoria that was less than affectionately know as The Beast.  As you may have already guessed, The Beast was not the most reliable of cars.  Despite being very poor at the time, I had purchased my pass to Gen Con earlier in the year when I had more cash.  There was no way I was going to let a shortage of money prevent my journey, and had made plans to meet up with my good friends Kris Hublar, Adam Pressnell, and Nick Garwood.  We were planning to carpool on the later days of the Con, but on Thursday I was heading downtown by myself.  I loaded up my bag.  I verified that my pass was firmly secured about my neck. I threw my gear into The Beast, turned the key, and NOTHING HAPPENED!!!    Not good.  Not good at all!  For those of you who do not know me I will make this quite clear, I am not good at working on cars at all.  I had been having this problem with The Beast for some time, but part of being broke is having to nurse a car that barely works until you can fix it.  I had planned on going to the mechanic on Monday after the Con, but this was Thursday.  Fortunately, I knew the problem was caused by the battery cable falling down between the motor and the frame pulling the contacts loose.  Unfortunately, I had idea how the hell I was going to fix it with no money, no time, and no skills.  It is times like these that test the hearts of men, and I decided that through an exertion of sheer willpower that I would make The Beast run!  I went into the house to search for something with which to Mcgyver the battery cable.  I emerged the house with a jaw clinched in determination and a plastic coat hanger. Yes, a plastic coat hanger, and headed back out to make my repairs.  “Why a plastic coat hanger,” you might ask.  I knew that whatever I used to support the battery cable could come into contact with electricity, and that it would be unwise to choose anything metal.  I reached into the belly of The Beast, seized the battery cable, drew the cable forth to where it was level with the top of the battery, and slid my coat hanger underneath it.  I turned the key and The Beast started. However, I have had many crappy cars and know better than to trust one so easily.  I took The Beast for a little spin around my neighborhood, accelerating, slamming the brakes, and hitting every bump I could find before returning home where I proceeded to shut it back off.  Time for the moment of truth…I turned the key and The Beast roared to life!  VICTORY! Plastic coat hanger for the win!  I had no further difficulties with the Beast for the remainder of the weekend because of my creative fix, and on Monday had the real repairs done.  In addition to making the car run, my hanger provided and interesting security opportunity.  When I arrived at Gen Con I removed my hanger, tossed it in my bag, and thought to myself, “Good luck with that mess would be car thieves!”  The whole process had only taken an extra 15 minutes, but I walked into Gen Con with feelings of relief and tremendous sense of accomplishment.

The Ghost of Gen Con Present…

There are some things that I do at every Gen Con: Peruse the art gallery, hang out in the Rio Grande Games room, watch the start of the zombie walk, the exhibition hall, Mayfair Games room, grab the wife a Nene Thomas calendar, and scan the event book for games that catch my eye.  However, I also head into each new Gen Con with a few specific games that I hope to seek out and play if they are available.  Games that I am on the prowl for this year are:  Trajan by Stephan Feld, Kingdom Builder by Donald X Vacarino, London by Martin Wallace, El Grande by Wolfgang Kramer, and Dust Tactics to play with the boy.  That does not mean that I will succeed in playing any of these games, but they are most certainly on my radar.  I am also always looking for some oddball games to play at Gen Con that I have no intention of buying, but are good for a bunch of laughs.  So far this year I have decided to look into a little game called Go Goblin Go.  Will it be an awesome experience that will cause me to rethink everything I know about games?  Highly unlikely!  Will it be fun?  Almost definitely!  After all, that is what Gen Con is really all about!

The Ghost of Gen Con Future…

I believe that we are living in a golden age for gaming the likes of which the world has never seen.  At no other point in history have people had the ability to engage in the playing of games anytime and anywhere of there choosing on a level even remotely close to what we experience today. There are literally millions of people who do not even realize that they are gamers.  Countless people play Angry Birds, Words With Friends(I’m talking to you Mr. Baldwin), and Farmville obsessively, but would laugh at what a geek I am for attending a convention devoted to gaming.  I have to smile when I think of all of the kids in the world today who are being raised by their electronic devices and playing games of all sorts from the moment they are able hold them and what wonderful games they will devise in the future.  The Geek, truly shall inherit the Earth!  As the number of future adult geeks multiplies at an exponential rate, the probability of a genius, or handful of geniuses emerging to direct their talents towards the creation of games that we cannot yet imagine only increases.  Interestingly enough, not all of the growth in gaming taking place by the youth these days is limited to the electronic.  Everyone these kids know from the football player, to the cheerleader, to the honor roll student are all playing games of some kind, and this has destroyed any remaining social stigma associated with such pursuits.  The creations of this next generation, born into technology and raised by games, will truly be something to behold, and I plan on playing all of them at future Gen Cons!

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