In the absence of a major summer anime convention, I’m finding I’m looking more for opportunities to spend time with the same old crowd I hang out with there, rather than some new big event to fill the time. However, there’s no denying that a gaping hole has been left in the Geek Calendar for 2019, and it may seem odd to take this as an opportunity, but I an item to tick off the bucket list, and next year may be the year to do it.
I’ve long wanted to do a grand tour of the big American conventions, like San Diego Comic Con, DragonCon, PAX, and GenCon in Indianapolis. Within that selection there are chances for me to meet long time favourites of mine, Zombie Orpheus and the Dead Gentlemen Society, but if I needed any more incentive then my most recent desire to meet the rest of the Critical Role cast* is enough to drive me across the Atlantic.
GenCon is the convention that most frequently hosts Critical Role’s live stage show, an opportunity to watch a live episode being recorded with an audience of thousands. It’s also an enormous gathering of gaming nerds of all stripes, and more to the point it’ll be different nerds, foreign nerds, with strange and alien customs. The biggest gaming convention in North America by every measure, bringing in every kind of gamer be it board games, video games or role-play. If anything this is more my demographic than the anime convention circuit.
The event will be running from the 1st to the 4th of August in 2019, leaving me a year to arrange tickets, flights and accommodation. Badge prices for 2018 were $110 for all days, currently standing at about £85, but that doesn’t incorporate ticket prices for the extra events like Critical Role Live, which stands at $72, or $212 for VIP (£55 and £163 approx), meaning I’d be looking at a hefty price for attendance before factoring travel and hotel fees. Not to mention… y’know, gaming convention? I’m going to buy too much and have to somehow get it home, that is an inevitability.
A full year of prep and saving time suddenly seems like not enough, and with business as the Shropshire Dungeon Master growing, it’s going to be a struggle financially, however…
By stating such plans on a public forum, I have a tendency to commit to them. As of now, you, oh humble reader, are the witness who will hold me to my promises. I said I’d attempt NaNoWriMo 2016, and while I failed I still wrote every day in that November. I said I’d start GeekOut Shrewsbury, and so help me I did it. I said I’d start a business, and that’s actually going rather well.
So here’s project 2019, a holiday that I’ve been half-considering for years. Have any of you been to GenCon? What have you experienced? Anything I should try/do/see? Or are there any other American conventions I should add to the bucket list for 2020?
*I met Matt Mercer and Marisha Ray at Ayacon Apocalypse, roughly the same time as meeting Tim. For more on this story, read everything we’ve ever written on this site, it’s in there somewhere.