With the glory that is Gen Con growing closer every day, the time has come to begin counting down to the best four days (every year?) in gaming. For a somewhat different perspective, my wonderful wife Heather will provide an account of her personal history with Gen Con, in what will be the first guest post ever on lifeingames.com!
Gen Con: Eyes of a Spouse… By Heather Hamm
Although I am nowhere near the wordsmith that my husband is, I thought it was my duty as a spouse (the ball and chain icon as the event calendar has referred to us) to tell my side of the Gen Con story.
The beginning is actually pre-Hammy. (I know most of you know him as ‘Chris’ but in our house – and group of friends – he is known as ‘Hammy’ and will be referred to as such for the duration of this story) Even though Hammy and I were friends on MySpace and chatted fairly regularly, we were not dating or even thinking about it… as a matter of fact, I was dating another big nerd named Troy. In our chats, Hammy had told me (with a bit of a girlish giggle) that there was this convention that comes to town once a year that it was his version of Heaven. All I could do was nod my head and say, “ok” because I still didn’t get it. Then one night as Troy and I were talking, he brought up going to Gen Con and of course knowing two pretty cool guys who enjoyed this event and spoke highly of it, I needed to know more. This was August of 2007, a full month before my first non-date date with Hammy.
In September of 2007 Hammy and I started hanging out, watching shows together (mainly Heroes, but would make plans for specific movies such as The Princess Bride and Willow), and just enjoying each other’s company.
Fast forwarding to June-ish of 2008, we were engaged, getting ready to OFFICIALLY move in together, and merge all bank accounts that he finally started really talking to me about the one high he gets every year, Gen Con.
He asked me to go with him, and explained that proposing marriage was one thing, but asking me to accompany him to the inner sanctum of his geekdom was another (but you knew that since he told you pretty much that exact thing in his previous blog about his version of Gen Con). I cannot lie, I was hesitant. I didn’t want to not like it and disappoint him. I didn’t want him to look down on me for not seeing this as the Heaven that he knew. Either way, I said yes, but only for one day and opted for Saturday.
Saturday, August 16, 2008: Probably one of the best days of my life. We headed downtown about 8:30 in the morning and I had told Hammy my only goal was to get a picture with a storm trooper. He laughed a full belly laugh and said, “Oohh honey, that will NOT be a problem!” I thought he was just making fun, but little did I know what I was about to see. As we were getting out of my car, backpacks stuffed with snacks, water bottles, and extra pair of socks – Hammy likes to be prepared, I see them. Four storm troopers, and one was actually a lady. Had not even got to the doors yet and I knew this was a place for me. Growing up, my female friends had always goofed with me about not being very girly, and liking nerd stuff, and back then that was not cool… but that day, seeing that woman dressed in a full-on storm trooper costume, I knew I was not wrong, that being a nerd was not a bad thing.
Once inside, I don’t think my jaw ever came up off of the floor. The costumes, the booths, THE GAMES… it was all me. Everything I never knew I loved so much, was right there.
Hammy took me to the art gallery, and wow… What’s that old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” Well, I did. I got my face painted. To be more specific, I got fairy eyes done, and you know what? No one looked at me funny, no one cared, even got a couple of compliments and I never once felt like I was being stupid or too nerdy.
Several of Hammy’s friends were there as well, and we ended up spending most of the rest of the day with them. We played silly games, serious games, and even a couple of demos for new games, but everything was amazing. I know the word AMAZING gets overused, but that was how I felt… IT WAS AMAZING. Since I only had a day pass, when the clock struck midnight I turned into a pumpkin and it was time to go. I didn’t want to leave, but knew at that moment, it was not going to be my last day at Gen Con.
Moving ahead to July of 2013, our tickets are already purchased and the countdown has begun and only 42 more days to wait. I have spent four days at Gen Con since my first year and for as long as Indy will host it, I will continue to spend the best four days of gaming with my husband.
Now I know the title of this was GEN CON: EYES OF A SPOUSE, but honestly, I don’t think it is about gender. Do I get involved in the quiver making, learn massage therapy, or even belly dancing – not really, but that doesn’t mean I am less of a woman, it just means that those particular things are not for me. To go one step further, one of my best friends was there last year and she competed in the XBOX Kinnect, Just Dance – tournament (she did great by the way), and there were several men involved in that. Like I said gender isn’t even a factor.
Gen Con has a little bit of everything with a little bit of flavor for everyone, and that is why I love it!