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GenCon: Day Three

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They call it “The Best Four Days In Gaming”, but is there really that much to do in the realm of gaming to cover four whole days aside from a 96 hour Magic: The Gathering marathon? The answer is ‘yes’.

Day three got rolling with a lavish costume party in the Westin Grand Ballroom. When we arrived at the doors, we were initially turned away because the ballroom was past capacity, an impressive feat considering the size of the room. We were finally allowed in after we flashed our fancy NUVO badges to the gamer guarding the door. Inside, a seemingly endless flow of costumed fanatics glided across the stage. They usually gave a speech in character (the best was the Captain America speech, which ended with a hoisted shield and a rattling “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” cry) after their number was called, and pranced around the stage.

GenCon: Didnt that guy sing for Critical Response Team?
  • Sara Baldwin
  • GenCon: Didn't that guy sing for Critical Response Team?

After about 45 minutes of costume watching, we made our way across the giant gerbil tube to the Convention Center. After a few minutes of fruitful people-watching, we made our way to a giant game of robo-chess, played with Lego Mindstorm creations. We then swung by a “Speed Painting” competition in which dedicated gamers painted small pewter or plastic figurines (for use in miniature wargaming, a close cousin of role playing games) as best they could in as little time as possible.

GenCon: A Royal Robo Ruckus
  • Sara Baldwin
  • GenCon: A Royal Robo Ruckus

Since the tension from the “Speed Painting” was killing us, we made our way into the main exhibition hall. As with the first day, the main hall was fraught with sensory overload. The contestants from the costume contest filled the hall following the contest, adding further to the overload. I saw some booths that were selling pricey pieces of armor and helmets. While the gear was impressive, there was no way that I was going to pay $65 for a replica falconry gauntlet or a foam axe. The creations of H.P. Lovecraft were extremely popular among the gamers. in the various merchandise booths as they nearly all sold some clever Cthuluh t-shirt or bumper sticker.

After wandering around for a few more hours, we made our way back to Cardhalla to watch it’s scheduled destruction. There was a brief auction to get to take the first shot (proceeds went to The Pajama Program, an organization that provides pajamas for needy children) which ended in a cool “Oh Captain, my Captain” moment as all of the hundreds of gamers present trustingly passed bills of various denominations through the crowd to add to the pot. Once the money was counted, the destruction began as volley after volley of quarters, nickels and pennies ripped through the fragile card city. It was pretty awesome to say the least. I found myself cheering and applauding whenever a large tower would crumble to the ground.

GenCon: The Fall of Cardhalla
  • Sara Baldwin
  • GenCon: The Fall of Cardhalla

We ended our night in the beautiful Union Station grand hall where the gamers got their groove on for the big ball. Blaring techno beats resounded through the hall as the gamers got to relive their high school dances on their own terms. Football players and other jocks were replaced with chess club presidents and AV club officers. Prom dresses and tiaras were replaced with Steam Punk gowns a kitty cat ears. No one was judging anyone else, everyone was just there to have fun. If only GenCon could last forever...

GenCon: Revenge of the Nerds meets Save The Last Dance... sort of.
  • Sara Baldwin
  • GenCon: "Revenge of the Nerds" meets "Save The Last Dance"... sort of.

For more photos, go here.

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