In my many years in the gaming community I've often found it hard to find anything good at a college convention. My first college convention was Aggie Con at Texas A&M and it was so unbelievably small--still I met the original authors of Rapture and Quintessential Mercy Studios. It seemed for every benefit there would often be a huge detraction--the main one being the smell. College Conventions tend to draw the unwashed, geeky masses who rarely shower or have such low self-esteem that they forget about daily hygiene. Yet there is something that can draw out your inner-basement-dweller...
The fact is that college conventions are not about seeing or being seen (like bigger geeky conventions), but rather DOING. Literally, these small cons are about interacting DIRECTLY with people who share your hobbies. Allow me to share my most recent experience:
I just got back from OwlCon which is held in Houston, Texas. It had been several years, but the last time I went the smell was so bad upon entering that I actually left within an hour of arrival. OwlCon more specifically is held at Rice University, a prestigious private university that often attracts science-y and geeky students (it's true and you know it).
An old friend from long, long ago (Robert) had invited me to meet him there and even to spend the night. I was so thankful for the opportunity and, honestly, who doesn't love to catch up with old friends? I was surprised by what I found!
The gaming community certainly has changed at OwlCon! Changed? How about grew up! Most of the gamers there seemed to no longer be what was expected (there were some), but by in large it was alumni and gamers my age. Indeed, those of us who were once a part of that gaming crowd were able to meet up and rub elbows again. At the same time, there were booths there and people BUYING stuff! Of course, it was small...maybe 10 booths if they were lucky, but still!
I knew that my friend Robert was going to be there, but I had no idea who else I might run into at OwlCon. Somehow, five old school gamers managed to meet up at the coffee shop at Rice University and play games again. Robert, Shannon, Chris (aka Fish), and Sean....we all used to game together almost two decades ago! I first met most of these guys in 1997! I had an absolutely wonderful time catching up, playing games, discussing politics, and other grown up stuff.
Life is short, people. Don't let the moments pass you by. Enjoy these precious times. And guys? Thank you so much for sitting down and playing with me again.