Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Getting Our Geeks Packed: GenCon Indy '10

Today many bloggers with ovaries are packing their bags for a huge national conference. So am I (or at least I will be as soon as I finish this post).

While they're probably looking for their cutest shoes and hip new laptop bags, I'm packing up little capes, felt mustaches, and two pint-sized Brothers Plumber ensembles.

Tomorrow, in Indianapolis, geek vacation officially begins with the opening of GenCon Indy '10. GenCon is a ridiculously fun annual celebration of (mostly) off-line gaming (board games, strategy games, card games, miniature games, role playing games, and live action role playing games).

Popular (non-geek) mythology would claim that this is the time when lonely pallid beings crawl out of their parents' basements to commune with other nihilistic slackers over tables full of multi-sided dice, pizza, Doritos, and Red Bull (Jolt or Yoo-Hoo for the old-school storytellers). This hokey tale is far less intriguing than the truth.

GenCon Indy is a gathering of very smart people with humor and imagination. If your brilliant tech geek is on vacation until next week, chances are good that she is wrapping her mind around some fun challenges while cracking jokes with other quick thinkers. It's not fair though to portray GenCon as a science, engineering, and tech party (though I'm sure one can get good advice on optimizing a laptop or building a laser-based game in any food line), geeks come in all flavors- history, literature, and art geeks abound. I suspect that my summer reading about Georgian England and the creation of the first wide-scale municipal sewer system may come in handy.

GenCon gamers tend to be pretty community oriented in their day-to-day lives. These are the people who have regular parties, volunteer in their communities, and hold the elevator for strangers. The GenCon staff and community are extremely kind to children and their parents, probably because GenCon folks retain more joy and imagination than typical adults.

The come-as-you-are spirit of the convention is really refreshing. I'm pretty sure that I won't overhear any GenCon attendee asking "Does this make me look fat?" because there's just not enough time for that sort of insecure myopia.

Most of the Jones family is pretty excited to return to GenCon (at 21 months, Scout has no recollection of last year). Yesterday Ranger refused to get out of the car when we returned home:
"Buddy, it's too hot to stay in the garage."

"Just get my Mario costume, and we can go to GenCon now."
I had to laugh. And no, he's not still strapped into his car seat.

I am Jim is chomping at the bit to stalk talk with our game designer heroes, and we're both anxious to get some play time on new games and old favorites.

If I don't start packing soon, we will never get to Indy.

***Baby Toolkit is the ongoing saga of a geek family exploring the world. Though posts may appear in the meantime, we will be on vacation until next week. We are Amazon affiliates, so if you shop through an Amazon link through our site, a small portion of the purchase price goes towards paying a portion of our connectivity costs. Thanks.