So, this week GenCon is going on in distant Indianapolis. There was a time when I never missed GenCon each year when it came rolling round.* Now I doubt I'll go again: too far away. And the suspicion I've been away too long.
I first became aware of this monarch of all D&D and RPG gaming conventions through DRAGON MAGAZINE --probably issue #47 or perhaps #49, when I was still down in Arkansas. But for a long time it was one of those things I knew about but was out of reach. Even though the gap lessened when I moved up to Milwaukee, there was no way for a grad student without a car or money to spare to get from Milwaukee to Parkside and back due to the complete lack of public transport between Milwaukee, where I was stalking that PhD, and Parkside, where GenCon was being held.
Things changed when GenCon moved to Milwaukee in 1985. Now that it was near at hand (in some years actually within walking distance) I went every year from 1985 through 2002 (except 1992). Running games, playing games, joining in RPGA events and, once I came on as TSR staff, demos in the castle and panels and all. I'm particularly proud of having put together a panel on women and minorities in the industry (someone had to).
Then I left TSR. Then I was hired back. Then I left again. Then I was hired back again. Then I left again, for the third and last time. I went to all the GenCons until it left Milwaukee. So I've now been away for longer than I was going. I'm glad that the convention has survived, and thrived, and, from what I can tell, is in good hands. But the only conventions I've managed to attend in recent years are on a much smaller scale, like one in Texas I enjoyed greatly and was able to combine with a family visit in the area. Or earlier this year when (thanks to a ride from friend Jim L.) I was able to attend the TSR reunion at GaryCon in Lake Geneva.
So, here's hoping this year's GenCon was great and those who attended greatly enjoyed it.
--current reading: THE PRIVATE LIFE OF RABBITS (a re-read, almost finished) and GAME WIZARDS (just starting)
* With one exception, chronicled in a chapter of Ben Riggs' book.