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Cracked LCD- Dragon Con 2012 Post-Mortem

Dragon Con 2012 was my 20th year attending the Southeast’s largest fan convention, and if you’ve followed my coverage of it over the past couple of years you probably know most of what I’m going to say about it. Yes, the kinds of things that got me more or less excommunicated from their press list. Hey, I didn’t realize they’d actually go and read my articles. I’m not sorry for pointing out the rudeness and lack of hygiene of the geeks in attendance, nor am I sorry for jabbing at the has-been and never-was celebrities that make up the guest list. The toilets in the gaming area really are the most unsanitary place on Earth, I’m not making it up.

My searing, Hunter Thompson-like honesty about Dragon Con- not to mention the fact that I’m no longer under the professional aegis of Gameshark- means that I don’t get a journalist badge anymore. I’m just a rank-and-file plebe sans the big “PRESS” ribbon. Now I’m expected to pay a hundred and forty freaking dollars at the door to get into this show AFTER waiting in a line that literally wrapped around a city block instead of just walking into the press office and proving to them that I write about gaming, showing them a letter from Bill Abner as credentials.

I had stopped by Friday afternoon to meet with some friends but I didn’t buy a pass- I borrowed a badge from good friend and noted gaming scene socialite Steve Avery. I just wandered around with my two-year-old son and some buddies, slightly tipsy after begging a great Belgian-style IPA (!) off another friend that owns a craft beer boutique. On Saturday, my family and I got there early and just about turned around land left when we saw the registration line.

My wife dropped the “I’m a mom with two babies” card and cut in line, literally lopping off five or six hours of waiting in the hot sun next to a flabby nerd-sow in sweat-glazed latex and some braying jackass carrying on about some piece-of-shit SyFy channel show like Warehouse 13 or whatever. Three day badges were a whopping $90 a piece, which seems especially like a rip-off since most of our time was spent in the dealer’s room and the public areas of the hotels. We don’t go to panels anymore and I could really care less about waiting in another five to six hour line to see Gillian Anderson pretend to be interested in talking about the X-Files. Attendance this year was record-breaking, topping 52,000. Everything was overcrowded and cramped, the thick reek of social desperation and intellectual slavery to pop culture heavy in the air.

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It’s not changed all that much in the two decades that I’ve gone. There is still the lingering inability for the convention to attract the kinds of guests that it was able to in the 1990s before founder Ed Kramer was brought up on charges for child molestation. Instead of John Carpenter, Clive Barker, and Neil Gaiman it’s a perennial assortment of fading celebrities and who-the-fuck-is-that people. It was pretty cool seeing Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor, and it’s always surprising how good Adam West and Burt Ward look. Rose McGowan was a huge disappointment. She’s not very pretty when she’s not a witch or an amputee on TV. It’s always sad to me to see the fine cast of Battlestar Galactica there every year, instead of getting hired on for other roles. I didn’t get to see Alice Cooper, which was a letdown.

There was a fun quasi-celebrity moment. My wife was talking to Lucky Yates, one of the guys that does voices on Archer (which I’ve never seen and know nothing about) and this dude came up wearing full-on N7 Commander Shepard armor. He was chit-chatting with Lucky (apparently pals), and I made the obvious nerd joke that Lucky was his favorite non-celebrity at Dragon Con. Turns out he was actually the guy that does Commander Shepard’s voice. I’m not really sure if it’s awesome or not that he was in costume.

The dealer’s room featured the same detritus it always does. I love that you can still buy Space: 1999 badges and collector’s plates featuring the bridge crew of the original Star Trek. If you’re in the market for devil horns, fetish wear, wiggling cat ears, a mace with a giant D20 on the business end of it, Geiger counters, or “hilarious” t-shirts that juxtapose one pop culture franchise with another, it’s the place for you. One booth I swear was nothing but Dominion games. Another had the new FFG version of Netrunner, which retails for $40, priced at $85. Then there was the crafters that were taking used bottlecaps and sticking a laser-printed image of your favorite character in them. I have no idea why in the world anyone would waste their money on that kind of crap. Who’s going to pay $800 for a cast autographed Harry Potter poster anyway? I spent $0, although I tried to convince my son to want a Green Lantern figure to no avail, since he really, really wanted a sword.

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The gaming room was the usual cesspit of stinky, overweight, and middle-aged men hunkered over board games, safe in their subterranean womb where all social interaction is handled with dice and cards. I didn’t play a single game, and my friends- most childless- apparently didn’t get the memo that when you have mom and two under-three children along…you don’t sit down and play a two hour board game. They must have asked me ten times, and every time I pointed at my children.

Cards Against Humanity, a game that I had never heard of, appeared to be the big hit. My friends played it, and said it was like “dirty” Apples to Apples. I flipped through some of the cards and all I could think of was that it was like one of those “adult” board games you used to see at Spencer’s gifts in the mall. A bunch of people played Dominion. A couple of old dudes played some moldy wargame I’ve never heard of. My son ran over and pointed at Starfleet Battles and said “what’s that?” and I could not adequately explain it to him in less than 100 pages of rules. I saw a couple of tables running the new Descent, Steve Avery was trying to lure young ladies in to play his new game that involves cactuses and dart guns, and Atlanta gaming king Will Kenyon held court over- of course- Twilight Imperium.

The art area was crap, as usual, unless you like tacky, tasteless fantasy art. My friend Jason Thomas, who does some very cool robot and squid art as Red Rocket Farms, was put next to Neal Adams. Yeah, that Neal Adams that more or less defined the look of post-1960s Batman and put Green Lantern and Green Arrow on the road to combat drug abuse and racism. Jason did a great picture of a macaroni and cheese-serving robot for River. I didn’t see the lady that’s usually there that does all of the furry (read: bestiality) illustrations, which was a disappointment. I make it a point every year to heckle loudly at her pictures of well-hung dog men.

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My kids, River and Scarlett were dressed like Batman and Robin and they had the best costumes at the con, apart from this group of folks dressed like Captain Avatar, Wildstar, and Nova from Star Blazers. Bellbottoms ahoy. The biggest problem is that Dragon Con cosplay has become infected with the same “sexy” virus that has ruined Halloween costuming. Now, attention-seeking women will dress in revealing costumes that are “sexy” versions of male characters. I saw not a single male Loki, but I saw several sexy Lokis and a couple of sexy Thors. Sexy Captain America, Sexy Flash, Sexy R2-D2, Sexy Joker. Oddly, I didn’t really see much Star Wars cosplay, which used to be a huge thing. Now you’re more likely to see a bunch of made-up nonsense from people apparently trying to dress as some kind of anime character so obscure that only the costumer has ever seen it. I guess you can’t really fail at recreating a look like that. For the record, it took me approximately three minutes upon arrival at the con to see someone dressed like that white-haired girl Dennis from Game of Thrones.

Regardless of how down I am on the con, I had a great time. The most important aspect to me is meeting up with friends I never see, like the group of high school friends that I went to my very first Dragon Con with in 1992. I reconnected with my Atlanta Game Factory family and we had an exquisite dinner at a Mexican fusion place- one of my friends commented “I’m 36 years old, I’m not eating peanut butter and salsa sandwichs in the Con Suite anymore.” We laughed, made jokes, and caught up with each other. We talked nerd stuff, made fun of bad art in the art show, and reminisced about the Good Times. Sure, we could have done all of that in a bar. But there’s something special about making this pilgrimage to this godforsaken event every year, and I’ll be there again next year.

Michael Barnes

Games writer Michael Barnes is a co-founder of Nohighscores.com as well as FortressAT.com. His trolling has been published on the Web and in print in at least two languages and in three countries. His special ability is to cheese off nerds using the power of the Internet and his deep, dark secret is that he's actually terrible at games. Before you ask, no, the avatar is not him. It's Mark E. Smith of The Fall.

42 thoughts to “Cracked LCD- Dragon Con 2012 Post-Mortem”

  1. Did you ever stop to think about what this article says about you (the writer)? Let me paraphrase it for you: “I am a self-absorbed *censored*.”

    1. Just an FYI — that was me who censored your post. There are VERY few words that I don’t allow here. Normally you can say what you want in the comment section. However, congrats, you won the door prize.

      1. Ive been reading Mike’s stuff for years now, mostly on gameshark (tip a 40)

        Taking him seriously when it comes to this stuff is pointless. Hes always seemed to struggle a little with geekdom, like he’s ashamed that hes actually part of it. So I dunno why it bothers people so much when he writes these dragon con reports.

        1. I am ashamed of large swaths of geekdom, but I don’t struggle with it because I’m not a part of it when it comes down to it. I don’t identify with geekdom at all, and I think a lot of it is awful. Firefly sucks.Most of the world agrees. Get over it.

          It’s sad that at these events there are many, many people for whom the only real sense of identity they have comes from pop culture and esoteric nerd stuff. It’s sad that 99 out of every 100 people you see at a convention are visibily unhealthy and don’t take care of their bodies because they apparently care more about fandom than hygiene and personal well-being. It’s sad that these people waste so much energy, time, and effort on replicating a costume rather than making something creative for themselves- living in other people’s fantasy worlds rather than making their own.

          I love gaming, science fiction, fantasy, comics, Star Wars…I’ve been into this stuff and into it all very passionately my entire life. But I’ve never needed any of it to identify who I am or to provide me with some sort of social interface, and I’ve never liked this stuff to the inclusion of normal, healthy pursuits like talking to girls and taking baths.

          But Kyle is right, there’s only so seriously you ought to take this. I’m very affectionate about Dragon Con, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’d rather be around fat ladies with stuffed dragons on their shoulders than a bunch of bros at the ballgame or whatever. I may rag on this stuff, but I’m just being honest about how I see it. I’m not sugar coating with all of this silly “let ’em fly their freak flag” shit or whatever. But hey, I’m there every year…and I’ve got four total geek tattoos, so there’s that. Not to mention that I’ve got more board games than most people even know exist.

          Cracked LCD has always been, and always will be, an opinion column. That means you may disagree with it. Maybe enough to call me a “c*nt”. Is that what he called me? A “c*nt”? That’s some grade A nerd rage if he did. That’s also pretty demonstrative of the level of class that many nerds have.

          1. Wowch, it *was* pretty scathing though. Had I not read the last paragraph I would have walked away knowing that you absolutely hate the con. I realise it’s an opinion piece, but having read Cracked LCD for a little while now I *trust* your articles so your opinion carries weight.

            My concern would be that readers might not make it through all 11 paragraphs of venom to the final takeaway “God awful but worth going despite its flaws” and just see “God awful”, which would be a shame

  2. There’s a reason I stopped going to D*con.
    It started when they moved gaming out of the Hyatt. When it was on deck 2 and everyone had to go through it to get to the various panels there was always the loony labs guys or other vendors hooking passerbys into impromptu games of ‘who’s the werewolf’ or alien chess or *some* sort of gigantic party game that was as amusing to watch as to play.

    Once they pulled gaming out into…what was it, the Hilton? they lost a great deal of the foot traffic and so now it’s simply just the hardcore.
    It doesn’t help that the gaming registration system is…terrible. I offered to show them pictures of how our local con did stuff – it involves a pegboard and tickets placed by timeslot so you don’t have to make announcements about things being sold out/cancelled or hunt through 4×6 index card boxes and was told that ‘That might work for some ‘little’ con but we’re all big kids here, go away.’

    Despite the fact that our ‘little’ gaming con routinely had more events than Dragon*Con for gaming…

    Then my friends stopped going, I quit the Cam (or whatever they’re calling themselves now) and living greyhawk/RPGA.

    And the crowds are…just too large. There’s better local alternatives (who do get Neil and Terry Pratchett and….) Combined with the fact that I can’t drive 12+ hours on a whim anymore Dragon*Con just lost the worth-it-ness.

    Which is sad because the one thing that was always awesome was the food. Benny Hanna’s on Labour Day eating with the local police detectives and leftover celebs was always a blast.

    Of course now that I’ve heard how their handling (or lackthereof) of stalking/harrasment/assault by staff has pretty much cooled me from going again without great incentive.

    But cons are like games – it’s not the system that makes them fun most of the time. It’s the people you play them with.

    So I’m glad you had fun with friends.

    1. Well said, that’s exactly my point. If you’re there for friends, you’ll have a good time. Because you’re there for what should be the right reason.

      You’re dead right about moving the gaming into the “pit”…it marginalizes it and hides it away, and it feels like you’re away from the con down there, which sucks. I don’t even know how registering for gaming events works. I tried a couple of years ago and thought it was too much to fool with.

      There are too many people, it’s unpleasant- especially with two small children, and especially when there’s some hulking nerd with a giant backpack barrelling past you, almost knocking your wife over without at least saying excuse me, on the way to a panel…or the food court.

      1. I agree the crowds are crazy, though security does a pretty good job of keeping people moving. Saturday is by far the worst. It doesn’t help that people stop in the middle of 8 foot wide corridors to take pictures of costumes.

        I can’t imagine pulling kids through that, especially when it gets late and people start drinking. You’re a braver man than I.

        Most people actually seemed pretty polite, but the few bad incidences tend to stick with you. I think we may have run into the same hulking nerd w/ giant backpack.

        Also, any costume with wings must be avoided. You could easily lose an eye.

  3. I’m probably setting myself up for some abuse, but I’d like to offer a… contrasting opinion.

    I waited in line for my badge for 30 minutes this year; much better than last year. Of course, we went Thursday afternoon. Saturday looked like a Zoo, but you also have all the folks who are just getting one day passes. I’m not sure if you preregistered or just did one day.

    I enjoyed seeing Grant Imahara from Mythbusters,John Rhys Davies, and Levar Burton. I guess they’re not big stars, but they were a lot of fun (although Davies tends to tell depressing stories). The James Randi and Alice Cooper panel was Amazing ™. We were disappointed that Patrick Stewart couldn’t make it (known best for his voice-work in Oblivion).

    The Guild stuff seems a little out of hand, but it resonates with a lot of people.

    There’s lots of good stuff in the Dealer’s Rooms if you ignore the T-Shirt vendors and collectables guys (which there are far too many of, I agree; T-Shirts are very profitable). There were two board-games vendors I saw: one seemed to be an entire local store set against one wall of the big room, and the other was (I think) Steve Jackson games. I’m not sure where the “all Dominion store” was located. Both of those shops seem to be there every year.

    I saw some awesome costumes, but you have to be out and around the hotels pretty late to see the best ones so maybe you missed them. Hell, the Mass Effect costumes were freaking amazing and they were walking around during the day; I’m pretty sure some were professionally done. There was a Liara costume that looked incredible; I have no clue how she did the head tentacles. I think Danielle, were she there, may have fallen in love…

    There was also a group doing Fallout costumes that were crazy good.

    Of course, there was quite a bit of bad costuming; and Steampunk every damned thing. Every. Damned. Thing. Steampunk.

    I have no opinion on the game room; it might very well be a cess pit as far as I know. Most of the bathrooms on the main floors seemed amazingly clean considering how many extremely drunk people were wandering through them.

    I’m not sure why you’d come to a Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention and not expect to see Sci-Fi and Fantasy Art; this isn’t the Louvre. I guess Dan Dos Santos, Mark Zug, and Justin Gerard are all terrible artists, though. *shrug*

    1. On the art, here’s an example of why I despise it. Last year, they had some pieces from a comics art museum. They had some original Jack Kirby penciled pages. I stared at them for like 30 minutes. They were amazing.

      But then, 20 feet away, are photoshopped pictures of kittens with fairy wings batting at dragons, “fan art” of Jean-Luc Picard, and those wolf dick pictures.

      There is great genre art. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of what’s on display is trash. Yeah, they’ve got Neal Adams, which was actually pretty awesome. But then they’ve got all of that laughable shit in the art show.

      The problem with the dealer’s room now is that the internet has made it irrelevant. I used to save up ALL YEAR to buy stuff at Dragon Con. There used to be a Japanese toy vendor that I would spend $500 at in a heartbeat, buying stuff like the Takara Alien figure, Medicom Captain Harlock, and those great Japanese Nightmare Before Christmas dolls. I used to buy tons of movies, shirts, and posters. Now, I can get all of it online cheaper.

      The “all Dominion” store was Titan Games & Comics. Maybe it changed, but Friday the entire front of their games area was all Dominion.

      As for the costumes, part of the problem is that after going to this thing for so long, you kind of get over it. The first time you see a couple of guys in full GI Joe or Lord of the Rings costumes, it’s awesome. The 100th time, it’s just sort of there. I am still impressed by some of the more obscure and interesting things people costume, like the guys that do the cops from THX-1138 or the dude I saw in a great Black Adam costume. There was a pretty good Red Hood too, that was neat.

      Yeah, the Steampunk thing…please end. I thought it was bad enough when everyone was dressing like the Crow…OK, maybe that was worse.

      1. And here you show me up by being perfectly reasonable.

        We didn’t do the Comic Art section; it was closed on Monday when we went down to take a look, unfortunately.

        I’d say about %50 of the actual Art Show was Pretty Good. Some of it’s just Weird or even Terrifying, as in “why would you put that on your wall, it would give me nightmares”. There’s a lot of digital art that’s actually quite good as long as it’s hand drawn (e.g. stylus on tablet sort of thing).

        Not everything has to be a great work of art; some things just make you say “hey, that’s neat! It’s worth $3 for a nice print”. No way I’d pay $700 for the original.

        Also, hardly anybody seems to do the silent auction thing. I’m not sure why they have that. Might be a relic of a bygone era.

        Costume related: the number of Adults in Adventure-Time costumes was insane. I… don’t understand. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

          1. It’s just that his writing style is very harsh and confrontational, and his writing is the only way most people will ever know him. I’ve always enjoyed his appearances on the podcast, where he almost seems like a different guy entirely.

          2. All true. I have always encouraged that, going back to when Mike first started to write Cracked LCD at Gshark. Bit that he needed much encouraging.

            A good writer, specifically a columnist, is going to present a harsh opinion at times. But if you go back and read old posts here youll find Barnes to be exceedingly civil…usually. 😉

            (I love talking about Mike like he’s not reading this)

  4. Dragoncon now reminds me of those times when we would take a game amd play it with the maximum number of players, and then tweak the rules a bit and add bits because playing with more would be AWESOME.

    (Wizwar, Talisman…., and I’ve seen Munchkin games with 10-12 people.)

    Loved it back in the day with Dragoncon and The Atlanta Fantasy Fair. Now going is more of a commitment for money, time, transportation, so I stopped a few years back. Dragoncon is just too big, too unwieldy to be fun, and a bit like that 9-player Wizwar game.

  5. Let me see if I have this straight.

    There’s an annual event where sci-fi and fantasy fans get together with others who have similar interests. This group, which tends to be more socially awkward, more nerdy, more iconoclastic and more introverted than the mean, has found a place where they can hang out and enjoy themselves with other people of a similar bent.

    The event fills up hotels and restaurants, gets mainstream media coverage for Atlanta, and makes the end of summer more palatable for many. It boosts the local economy and leads people to discover that Atlanta can be a cool place for them to visit.

    People role play characters, exercise their creativity, spend money on things that make them happy, see friends, meet new people, talk to celebrities, have otaku-style discussions they can rarely have in their daily lives and just feel like part of the in crowd.

    Yet because they don’t exercise their creativity in ways that you find worthwhile, have social behaviors that you find acceptable, buy worthless trinkets that you would find exciting, or acknowledge in a meaningful and complete way that you are the first attendee to ever have two young children in tow, the whole thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

    Got it.

    (It is awesome that someone is here to take these nerdy pricks down a peg or two, because so few are willing to do so.)

      1. That…

        Was a funny response.

        I stand behind my opinion that attacking the attendees of Dragon-Con is pointless and mean-spirited however.

          1. Well, while it’s true that it did make you internet famous, and that some of your statements were mean-spirited, I would state with conviction that attacking them was NOT pointless.

            You were championing a style of games that was being woefully undersupported at the time, AND was being regularly shat upon by a bunch of the most pompous, elitist douchebags I have ever seen in any medium. Skewering those gasbags was a public service, one I admire you for providing.

            DragonCon attendees do not fit the “set themselves up for this/had it coming” takedown that the BGG elitists did. They just want to play dress up and talk about what they love. So, attacking them seems pointless.

  6. I had a great time. I left my stuff in the game room then bounced about checking out vendors, costumes and events. When I got tired of wandering around I’d go back to “the pit” and game a bit more. It was kinda sparse during the day- all the hard core gamers but in the evenings it became packed and much more lively. I met lots of new people and gave them the litmius test of Demanding “Are you Fun?!” before playing a game. I cared around my 1.5 liter of Admiral Nelson coconut rum with impunity and felt very at home at Trader Vicks.
    I had a lot of fun with DartGun Desperados except…Black and orange darts on a black and orange carpet.
    That was a tactical mistake.
    I liked the the party nerd atmosphere. It was kind of like Marti Gras for nerds. Everyone was ready to have a good time and there was always something to do.

    I can’t believe I missed Jason Thomas though. I’ll have to get in touch with him one of these days.
    I might go in costume next year as the amoral hero/villian The Comedian. I have always had the secret desire to be a costume wearing sociopath. DragonCon is the perfect venue for that.

    BTW preregistration is $65 if you buy it now (though I waited last year and paid $95)
    I heard the game room portion is being moved to the world congress center conference hall (??)
    I was able to get my badge without waiting in line (this was Friday at 3:30)
    Parking was a bitch. You either hiked 5 blocks or paid out the nose.

    1. Wow, the World Congress center is pretty far from the hotels…that will SUCK. I think it was actually there a couple of years ago, when Dragon Con was mostly at the Apparel Mart.

      I just park right next to the Hilton. It’s $20 for 24 hours, but there’s always a spot and it’s secure.

      I don’t ever preregister, like an idiot. I also feel dumb for not buying the lifetime membership when it was $250. Now it’s like $1800.

  7. Despite my recent Atlanta relocation, I missed out on the famous D-con. I would like to see it though. Having been to PAX East, I can say that these Cons have a lot in common with Gay Pride parades. Costumes, marginalized social groups, kitschy aesthetic, etc. The difference being that Gays have elevated their kitsch to Camp, something nerds are loooaaathe to do.

    I feel slightly uncomfortable at both. Not because I take offense to out of the closet nerds or gays, but because it’s a kind of confrontational theater.

    Make no mistake, being a drag queen(which is different from cross dressing) or dressing up as Naruto is a form of theater, not a natural state of being. So while I love looking at all the bits and pieces of nerd culture, the pageantry of the whole thing is too much for me. I’m a person of moderation and too much outwardly expressed pride in spaces besides the stage are difficult for me to reconcile. Your catharsis is my discomfort.

    I blame it on being mid-western.

    1. True story. One year, the Atlanta Gay Pride parade was the same weekend as Dragon Con. A friend of mine came into the con boasting about how he found this great, free parking space that he was going to keep his car at all weekend. When he went to leave, come to find out it was right where they were staging the Gay Pride parade and he was unable to get out for like 12 hours after it was over.

      He also said the Gay Pride parade was more fun than Dragon Con.

  8. This is the first time ever I left early from the con. The crowds did me in, even though I live 5 min away from the hotels I feel I need to get a room next year just to go and recoup and have a change of clothes, wash up and relax with friends. (fyi the last two years had about 2/3 the amount of people.) Also a place i can stash a good amount of alcohol. Did not help that they decided to make the Hilton extra warm in all the areas but the gamer room (which I thank the gods for that).

    By the way to all the people badmouthing Barnes he had a good time, just not in the way people expect to have a good time at dragon-con.

    1. I did have a good time…a great time even. The crowds were horrible though, it was way too many people. The dealer’s room was so packed I could barely even see anything. They were shutting down the walkways between hotels because there were so many people. When we tried to leave to go to the car saturday evening, we actually wound up kind of trapped and unable to get out without either waiting forever for an elevator (mainly because of nerd assholes darting in front of a baby stroller to get on an elevator first) or waiting in line to use the walkways.

  9. How does DCon compare to in size with Comic Con? The latter seems to have morphed into more of a pop culture/mainstream phenomena . I mean, did it even have TV show panels 10 years ago? And if $90 is what it costs to get into this one at the door, I can only imagine what CC costs.

    While certain aspects about these sort of events make me curious about attending, the sheer size and value make it a no go for me. Spending a ton of cash to stand in line and fight crowds makes it a no go. And as Barnes points out, if you want to buy stuff, its a hell of a lot easier to get it online.

  10. Barnes, to me you are among the very best games writers on the internet. But I have to say this article does make you come off as a douche nozzle. Especially this line,

    “My wife dropped the “I’m a mom with two babies” card and cut in line, literally lopping off five or six hours of waiting in the hot sun …”

    If I would have been standing in that line and heard that there would have been words. And that’s not internet courage, that’s reality brother. If you weren’t willing to stand in line with your kids at a massive gaming con, then you should not have brought them along. The fact that you include it in your article like you are proud of it almost made me stop reading there.

    I kind of wish I would have.

    1. You don’t have kids, do you?

      I’m glad someone had the decency to let a woman with two children in the line rather than to be a real douche and say “nope, you’re standing here with these kids for six hours, line is back there.” It’s literally a difference of not even five minutes.

      I would absolutely let a family with kids cut in line in front of me, no questions asked. I don’t care if I had been standing there for a full day. It’s common decency. Only an asshole or someone without a family that just doesn’t get it wouldn’t, IMO.

      If I were there by myself or if it were just my wife and I, we would have probably not bothered with the line anyway and just badge-swapped with some friends. But we wanted our children to come, and Dragon Con got the same $180 out of us they would have if we would have waited all day to pay them.

      1. It seems to me that dragon con should just be mailing the badges to people now. I mean I would pay an extra 5 dollars to get that.

  11. What I took from this article is you’re a light weight.

    1 IPA and your tipsy?

    Also who uses the word tipsy except old Scottish grandmothers.

    1. I am totally a lightweight! I’m not ashamed. It’s cheap to get tipsy!

      Seriously, one beer and I’m feeling it. Two, and I’m running my mouth about Philip K. Dick and rapidly losing manual dexterity. Three and I might be the Thurn and Taxis table.

  12. Hey, I’d consider myself a huge nerd any day, loud and proud. Sometimes, though, I meet or hear other, much, much larger nerds than I, and it reminds me how much I can’t fucking stand to hear hardcore nerds talk. This sounds like a con full of them, and I think that it hits the same kind of tone of honest disdain I would feel. Yeah, it’s salty, but it’s a straight take. I enjoyed it, thanks for the read, Michael.

    1. It’s not that bad, really. It’s mostly lots of people having a good time. Barnes may have used some hyperbole here and there, maybe once or twice.

      It is, however, very, very, Very crowded on Saturday. Seriously the most people I’ve ever seen in one place, and I’ve been on the Washington DC Mall for the 4th of July.

      I suspect they’re going to have to start limiting badges or something. It’s getting ridiculous.

  13. I am someone that only reads about other people’s experiences going to gaming conventions. To be honest, i don’t think it’s likely that i would ever attend one–mostly because i’m a closet board/video-gamer and i don’t have a single friend that would attend with me. My gf would go if i asked her but that would be a disaster.

    I appreciate that you shot-back about not identifying with gamer/’nerd’ culture but still being a part of it in some way that is hard to define. It’s strange that i should have a hobby that, in some ways, i keep confidential from my friends/co-workers/family. Your comment likening the ‘Con’ to the Gay Pride parade draws a parallel about ‘coming-out-of-the-closet’ that is a bit unsettling to me

    thanks for being honest and not sugar-coating like the other lemmings

    Sterling

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