“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16

From what I was told, that Matthew verse was Gary E. Gygax’s favorite Scripture and goes a long way to illuminating how Gary chose to live his life. Gary, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons and founder of Gen Con, passed away earlier this year. His death sent reverberations throughout the gaming world and at Gen Con we were reminded of not only his legacy, but also of how many lives he touched. As D&D; sees its 4th edition this year, the equivalent of seeing a new pope, his loss was felt by the entire gaming community and community is what Gen Con is all about.

Gen Con is kind of like taking the typical high school hierarchy and inverting it. Suddenly the A/V squad, band members, and chess club as shoving jocks into lockers (literally, as Colts fans anxious to tour the newly opened Lukas Stadium had to give way to a parade of stormtroopers).

We all want a place where we can be included, where we can be who we are and not only accepted, but understood. For many folks, conventions like Gen Con are family reunions, where the blood of the family is found in their united passion for all things related to gaming.
The gaming community/culture encompasses writers, artists (like Steve and Becky Gilberts), gamers, collectors, role-players, filkers, and a whole host of like-minded individuals. The overwhelming spectacle of costumes, exhibits, games and activities takes four days to experience. Or at least do as much as possible. By Sunday, the body breaks down and almost everyone has “gamer’s cough”, that rasp from talking, laughing, partying, and gaming too much (while sleeping too little).

Of course there’s a hierarchy of nerds. Where would we be as a society and culture if we weren’t able to compartmentalize folks or better yet, rank them. Of course I consider myself in the upper echelon of nerdom (he who makes the list is automatically at the top). I’m good for a little Dungeons and Dragons, maybe a few games of Magic: the Gathering. I like my share of sci-fi shows. Star Trek (Deep Space Nine was the best. This isn’t even a discussion.) Babylon 5. Farscape. Dr. Who (Tom Baker and Christopher Eccleston – this isn’t even a discussion). So I’ll leave you with a few last Gen Con thoughts:

-Lucien Soulban was robbed at the ENnies!
-Seriously, spandex wasn’t made for everyone.
-Black nerds unite! (Cause we represented at Gen Con)
(And I may have one more follow up piece to the Gen Con Experience. I had to earn my free press pass.)