This will mark my seventh consecutive foray to Gen Con, a streak that deployment by the US Military, living overseas at times, and a previous roller coaster of an employment situation could not halt.
I've spoken volumes before about what Gen Con means; for some gamers, it seems silly to assign such a significance to a single convention, but for many of us, it remains Gamer Mecca. It has that sense of coming home, whether we live in Indianapolis, London, or Seattle.
My Gen Con attendance has seen me go from a 20-something, separated from his family, with nothing to do but mess with gaming material, to a 30-something with three kids, a long work week, and another job on the side. My gaming situation is different than it was in 2004 or 2008; I've got less time to game, but I appreciate every chance I get all the more.
Even as my gaming habits change, Gen Con cannot be sullied. For that extended weekend, gaming is still king. It reminds me each time that the passion for gaming hasn't died, even as the time to game has shrunk.
I've been through gaming funks before, including one earlier this year I never thought I'd come out of. But here I am, ready for another Gen Con, ready to see friends, publishers, and new swag alike. I can't wait for that electric current, that Gen Con "feel" most attendees will nod and agree exists, but just can't quite find a way to explain it to someone who's never been.
I appreciate that Gen Con still reminds me that there are thousands of other gamers out there in my situation, scrapping and scratching to find time to get some good gaming in. It reminds me of what the hobby can be. It reminds me that buying new dice is something that never gets old. It reminds me taking a few days to spend time with friends in a common interest is something priceless.
Gen Con remains a refuge, a boomtown of gaming that sees us all in our precious element for a short window of time. We are conquerors, kings, experts, and sometimes even celebrities in our own right.
It'll be over all too soon, and we'll be back to being data analysts, collectors, customer service representatives, salespeople, and all the other vocations we work at to be able to support our loved ones and (occasionally) our hobbies. But while it's upon us, I'm going to enjoy every moment of it.