So, as I was heading toward GenCon last weekend, I reflected on the fact that I hadn't set foot in a Con since... what year did Cool World come out? ...since I helped work the computer gaming broom closet at Dragon*Con in '92, helping folks run Wing Commander and Aces of the Pacific on a couple dozen 386s.
Anyhow, I was a little unprepared for the size and scope of the convention, as well. I mean, I didn't get to see Larry or Mike while I was there, but with 50,000 attendees, that's like going to Elkhart, Indiana and saying you didn't bump into Fred or Joe.
I was amazed at the makeup of the crowd, too. Playing wargames back in the day, I was never very surprised if I wound up the only chick in a room full of people that looked like a casting call for Revenge of the Nerds V: The Undiscovered Country. Now? Endomorphic cracker neckbeards are still probably the largest single demographic, but it was a bare plurality; there were all shapes, sizes, and colors of nerd on hand. And why not? It's an easy club to join: All you gotta be is a nerd who likes to play games, and let's grab some d20s and throw down, friend. Hell, Curt Schilling's a gamer, and he's a known jock*.
As we were walking back to the car, Shootin' Buddy commented at how much more like a Benetton ad the exhibit floor looked like than the gaming stores of our youth, and we agreed this was a cool thing.
Apparently we were at a different GenCon than the one attended by the Tor columnist who received a brutal and well-deserved fisking from Larry, because the convention he attended was some horrible throwback to the Raj, where mustachioed white male villains were being waited on hand and foot by cringing dusky-hued servants.
I'd hate to live inside that dude's head; it's a messed up place.
*Anybody who holds onto the silly jock/nerd stereotypes past high school is doing themselves a disservice, BTW. Smash your cliques; like what you want; befriend who you want.