Wednesday, August 20, 2014

You must be this nerdy to enter.

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.


Joe in PNG said...

Basically, the guys says he feels uncomfortable with people of other races.

That's racist.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Larry is the Grand Master of Fisk.

Anonymous said...

Dusky-hued servants? There were servants available?

Why won't you let me have a servant or three?

Shootin' Buddy

Leatherwing said...

Two years ago at Dragon*Con, I ran into Oleg Volk in a hotel lobby. I had never met in real life before (and he had no idea who I was - I think I freaked him out by being a fan). Sometimes it is a small world. But then I go most of the day not being able to find my wife or friends that I came to the con with.

Steve Skubinna said...

Hadn't realized jocks weren't permitted to be gamers... but I am notoriously obtuse. Back in the seventies, lots of jocks played D&D, and a lot of the SCA folks were in very good physical condition.

Hacking at each other with swords takes some stamina.

That being said, my experience (previously related) working the gaming cons for FBI in '77 did suggest that board gamers (at the time anyway) were more the classic geek stereotype, while RPG players, while still a bit off, tended to be a much more diverse selection.

mongo78 said...

Comic-Con has seen the same evolution. There is maybe a bare plurality of prototypical white guys in silly t-shirts, but I noticed the next largest group this year was Asian females. A generally good thing, particularly when outfitted in Sailor Moon cosplay outfits. o_O

B5K said...

Oh, you know Fred in Elkhart too?

I kbow him through SumDood.

Matt G said...

As someone who is against racism, I have noticed that there is no one more concerned about race, and more overtly racist, than the outspoken liberal activist who ostensibly is being critical of the racists.

Hey dude? Get off my side.

Matt G said...

(Said "dude" I was referring to being A.A. GEORGE.)

Steve Skubinna said...

Matt, a typical giveaway, displayed early in the fisked article, is the bland assertion that "XXX has a race problem."

Actually, this George guy has a race problem. He's not self aware enough to own it and so projects it.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I used to love going to Science Fiction Cons and Gaming Cons and Comic Book Cons, etc.

Then the Hippies took over. And when I saw Buttons being sold in the Dealer Room at one Con saying "You're a Closet Fascist if you read Heinlein!" in the early '90s, I knew it was time to leave.

Tam said...

I, personally, don't mind people having different opinions to mine. After all, people have a right to be wrong. :)

Maxwell said...

And sometimes, it's quite a lot of fun to mock the reality-impaired. See Larry Correia's fisking :-D

MattCFII said...

Aces of the Pacific wasn't easy to run, I spent many hours trying to figure out how to edit my config.sys and autoexec.bat to have enough conventional memory and keep the sound card loaded so I could get sound and my joystick port. Ah my misspent youth... that, AOE, and Falcon 3.0 have lots of good memories!

Cincinnatus said...

The key to the modern Leftist is having the correct list of people to hate.

Because that's all they really need to be a Good Leftist, a good list of "other" to hate. Outside of that, they can't really even remember what they are supposed to believe in.

And once you are on The List, you are automatically guilty of all their favorite sins.

Steve Skubinna said...

Robin, there are a few leftists who actually think about their positions. It doesn't make them right (see Piketty), but those few can at least lay claim to having devoted some thought to their ideology.

For the vast majority however, progressivism is about laying down tribal markers. It's striking a pose. It's a display of unearned virtue.

LabRat said...

I got a double-barelled dose of the jock/nerd meme from pop culture as a kid and swallowed the lot while I was still in K-12. I cringe, because that meant it took me into adulthood past my metabolically awesome years before I realized that I really liked team sports. (Still not soccer though. Because running is fine but not a sport.)