Monday, October 17, 2011

Musings on Gaming Conventions

When I first got the 'States (which is what we Filipinos sometimes use to refer to the U.S. of A), one of my first exposures to conventions was not a gaming convention. It was Origins in L.A., and my cousins, who had moved there before we had, were my guides and fellow explorers of this strange new experience.

It was fantastic -- my first honest-to-goodness exposure to wall-to-wall geekdom. So many things that I knew, other things that I didn't, and things that I might have seen somehow on TV or in bookstores but not really knowing what they were. For example, I clearly remember seeing someone dressed up as the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor, but hadn't seen the show -- yet I somehow knew it was from some SF show akin to Sapphire and Steel (which I did watch together with my sister when we were growing up).

Also, my first U.S.-based RPG purchase took place there: the Paranoia boxed set.

The two conventions that I went to with any regularity were: (a) Pacificon at the Dunfey Hotel in San Mateo, CA during the Labor Day weekend; and (b) Slug-a-thon in Santa Cruz, CA.

Pacificon was the first gaming convention I went to, and the one I attended loyally. I have fond memories of the Cthulhu LARP games (this was slightly before the Cthulhu Live ruleset came out) that were run there, and all the Champions games that I played in. And of course, the Willamses (Pat, Robin, and Courtney) a lovely mom and her two lovely daughters who enjoyed dressing up in tight leather and were into the vampire role-playing thing a year or two before the Vampire RPG came out.

They were a part of the reason I used to go to Slug-a-thon in Santa Cruz (the other part being all my friends who'd gone to UC Santa Cruz), which was a much smaller and cozier gaming convention, unlike the hotel-based Pacificon.

Ah, those days when I could stay awake for 72 hours straight before crashing at home. I remember signing up for 12 hour games (6pm to 6am) because I couldn't afford a room and could at least sit down and rest before the next day of gaming (we weren't allowed to sleep in those rooms -- the hotel was strict about that). I remember my dice collection growing and shrinking with each 6 and 12 hour game I played. I remember being thrilled as I experienced different GMing and gaming styles.

Man, I wish I could go again to one of those cons. But honestly, I don't know if I can handle the scene anymore.


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