Well, GenCon opened up preregistration today. And Bryan and I have been talking about the upcoming Indiana Comic Con, and how many days we’re going/what costumes we’re wearing/who should go with us. With all this talk about conventions, and planning for them, it’s got me thinking about the first convention I ever went to…
Way back in 2004, the SUNY Potsdam Gaming club learned about this most amazing convention that happened down on the other side of the state. It was called I-CON (short for International Convention of Nerds), and one of our members had gone quite a few times and said it was epic. And we’d heard that the Student Government Association would possibly fund trips for clubs, as long as they had a legitimate purpose for going on a specific trip. So, we gamers formulated a plan. We decided that we would go to I-CON, and we would call it “research”. (And, well, we did do some game-related research, so our reason for going was valid!) We put together the proposal. submitted it to the Student Government Association, and waited not so patiently to hear back about whether we’d get the funding or not.
Well, we just about died when SGA said they’d fund our entire trip – hotel, badges, and even gas there and back. Not only were most of us going to our first convention, but we were going for free. We were so so excited it was ridiculous. My only knowledge of conventions involved knowing people wore costumes to them, and there were lots of other people interested in all sorts of nerdy things. So, I dusted off my renfaire garb, as I didn’t have any idea of what else to wear, and in April packed my bags and got ready for the incredibly long trip to I-CON 24.
The ride was long and somewhat eventful – people kept getting lost, one person’s car couldn’t go faster than 40 miles an hour, and we got there so late on Friday that we almost weren’t able to pick up our badges, and we wandered around for a half hour before returning to our hotel and passing out, saving our energy for Saturday.
Saturday was… amazing. Overwhelming. Insane. I was positively surrounded by delightful geekery. So many costumes. So much excitement. So many things to watch and see and do and buy. It was geeky heaven. Especially… the dealer’s room.
Oh, the things we could buy. I don’t even know how much money I spent at that first I-CON – probably an entirely irresponsible amount. I think we all did. (I distinctly remember one of my friends coming home with a giant staff – trying to wedge that into a tiny car was interesting, to say the least) I remember buying a gigantic plushie of Shippo from Inuyasha, and a ridiculous amount of Sailor Moon gashapon figurines… I got a few pictures of people in costume, mostly because I was too shy to ask people for their picture and because I didn’t actually have a digital camera of my own back then. In fact, aside from a picture of me and my friend with The Cheat, the only picture I got of myself with anyone was with someone dressed as Edward Elric.
I don’t remember much else about Saturday except for wandering into a couple of viewing rooms and watching random episodes of animes I’d never heard of, wandering aimlessly about the Dealer’s Room spending stupid amounts of money, and beginning my tradition of inadvertantly con-stalking Michael “Mookie” Terraciano of Dominic Deegan fame. Sunday was more of the same, but with a few more pictures!
At the end of the weekend, we all loaded our goodies into various cars and settled in for what was actually a rather uneventful 8 and a half hour trip back up to Potsdam. I may have spent that trip with part of a giant wizard’s staff across my lap, using my ridiculously large Shippo plushie as a pillow, wearing my Death from Above t-shirt, trying to sleep through a bumpy car ride. Ahh, car trips to and from conventions…
This is the convention that sparked my desire to go to more and more conventions. Later that year I went to Otakon for the first time ever, which was absolutely amazing, and then I continued going to I-CON until I graduated from Potsdam. I also went to the first ever Bear Con in 2011, which was so much fun! Now I’m hoping to make it to three conventions this year – which is more than I’ve ever been to in a convention season! I’ve got Indy Comic Con coming up in March, then PopCon in late May/early June, and then, of course, GenCon in August. I’m so ridiculously excited.
Is it convention season yet?