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Role Playing (Games) E3

GenCon SoCal Throws In the Towel 36

The official GenCon website is hosting the official press release with the news: the West coast GenCon is no more. Citing 'competing shows' in the Southern California area, the RPG convention is closing up shop so that staff can focus on the Midwestern/East Coast Flagship event GenCon Indy. In an open letter from Peter Adkinson, he states how much he regrets this decision, and describes the four years of the event as well as the decision-making that led to this state of affairs. In his long discussion of the event, he downplays the attempt to merge with the IDG event and the inclusion of videogames into the GenCon formula. Though it's not listed as a root cause, the death of E3 would seem to be having a ripple effect here as well. He makes sure to point out that GenCon Indy isn't going anywhere, and that this year's 40th anniversary should be an interesting one.
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GenCon SoCal Throws In the Towel

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    He makes sure to point out that GenCon Indy isn't going anywhere, and that this year's 40th anniversary should be an interesting one.
    This is hardly GenCon Indy's 40th anniversary. It was held in Milwaukee until a few years ago when the black-hearted devils at WotC decided that Wisconsin wasn't cool enough for an annual nerd convention. D&D was invented here, you bastards!
    • Doesn't the "Gen" in GenCon come from "Lake Geneva"? As in, Wisconsin?

      Hell, I'm from Canada and even *I* know that.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      1. Gen Con originated in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

      2. Gen Con would still be in Milwaukee if there was enough space. The city opted not to expand the number of available hotel rooms, so Gen Con did what it had to do.
      • 1. True.

        2. Gen Con would still be in Milwaukee, if the organizers had been willing to move it back one weekend.

        Milwaukee has TONS of hotel space. It's just hard to hold an event in the city when you're on the same weekend as the Wisconsin State Fair's final weekend.

        Instead, they moved it to Indy... and now the same complaints (lack of hotel space mostly) are coming back, and none of the vendors want to drive all they way to fucking boring Indianapolis.
        • "Milwaukee has TONS of hotel space."

          And Indy has tons MORE hotel space. Just because geeks are sentimental about Milwaukee doesn't mean it's a good location for business.

  • by MrNash ( 907751 ) on Saturday January 27, 2007 @02:49PM (#17784520) Homepage
    There seems to be a lot of conventions in flux recently. It makes me wonder what will next to hit the chopping block, and what will be slapped together at the last minute and get called a convention in a desperate, last minute attempt to fill the vacuum left by yet another shut down show. :\ It also brings up the question, at least in my mind, of whether it's just the current climate of the shows that has shut them down, or if it's a convenient scapegoat to hide behind when poor planning is the real culprit. In the case of E3, I certainly feel that was the case. Organizers could have done a lot more to overhaul the show and stop it from being a circus, but they didn't. Now it's gone.
    • I think it's economics.
      Tkaing E3 as an example (sorry to all you marketers whose job rides on this) but someone in some position of authority had to do the math and say 'wait a sec; we're spending HOW many hundreds of thousands on this event, the booth, the bimbos, and sending a few flunkies on a junket...for what again?'
      • by MrNash ( 907751 )
        Oh, I agree that's certainly part of it. The way companies were were setting themselves up with booth babes, rediculously loud music, increasingly opulant booths, and so forth, it was really getting out of hand at E3. When things at these sorts of shows become more spectacle than anything remotely useful, the blame still falls on the companies that agree to fork out all the extra dough. They get to the point where, whether they realize it or not, they're following the old saying, "Don't sell the steak, s
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday January 27, 2007 @04:19PM (#17785060) Journal
    Pre-Internet, the only way to find like minded people was to go to cons. Now there are tons of communities that have sprung up, and they normally know what the next thing coming out will be, so whats the point in a convention?
    • I love conventions, and I also love local group meetings. All of this has been damaged by the internet.

      Thank God for miracles like
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Harin_Teb ( 1005123 )
      I dunno, I'm only 24 so I pretty much grew up in the internet erra as far as being a gamer, yet I've gone to GenCon every year for the past 5 years, and to Origins for many of them.

      Several reasons bring me, and others to Cons.

      First would be finding like minded people. There's just something about hanging out with tons of people who like the same thing you do that just isn't replicated by internet communities and such.

      second: A LOT of companies run major events at cons that you can't really do anywhere else
    • For lots of fan cons this is true, but GenCon is mostly about tabletop gaming, not meeting other fans of the games, but actually playing the games! Games like that either can only be played face to face or lose something when played over the internet. Even people that have a regular gaming group go to these cons to play with different people for a change. I think you have to blame something other than the internet for the failure of GenCon SoCal.
    • The best things Gen Con provides can't be replicated online. You can't play a LARP online. You can play some boardgames online, but you can't have hundreds of different board games, card games, wargames, and role-playing games demonstrated for you. To the extent you can, the demonstrations are less effective for the lack of a direct person-to-person connection. Gen Con provides an opportunity to play role-playing games you've never played. It provides an opportunity to play RPGs you normally do, but wi
    • by Ailure ( 853833 )
      I dunno, some type of cons have grown thanks to the internet.

      I swear that both anime-cons and furcons have gotten bigger for example...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cyphertube ( 62291 )

      Given that I now move from place to place, the Internet is really the only way I'd know about a con.

      That said, my reasons to go to a con?

      1. I can play with a variety of different people.
      2. I'm away from home, so I can continue to play without chores interrupting.
      3. I see products sometimes that I wouldn't otherwise bother with.
      4. Goodie bags are fun!
      5. With the significant number of rather large people, I feel very in shape.

      So, there are reasons to go. The question is do the con organisers realise these reasons?

    • so whats the point in a convention?

      Alcohol and nerd sex.

      Scary as it sounds, it is the only reason I kind of go to a con.

      But it usually only involves the former instead of the latter, but maybe this year.
  • I was at GenCon sucked. Seriously. I was extraordinarily disappointed with the event.

    They did have Dirk Bennedict signing autographs one year, though.
  • I went to GenCon religiously UNTIL it was aquired and turned into the crappy circus it last was. The entire blog outlines how he aquired it and ran it into the ground with an unproven model. Never once did he go back to a traditional small Westin Hotel convention like Orccon and Strategicon still are.
    • You know that GenCon was huge before this guy acquired it, right? Indeed, it started small, but that was some time ago. There is a place for small local cons, and they do rock. GenCon, however, is the Mecca of geek - and it has been for some time. This guy just took it from WotC, which is a good thing, since they are much more open to a wider variety of games now.
  • you know there's far more to the West Coast than simply Southern California. I have a feeling that part of the reason why the GenCon failed there is that there simply isn't a huge RPG following in that area. I bet if they tried Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco they would have much better luck.
    • you know there's far more to the West Coast than simply Southern California.

      Ya, but the rest of it sucks. ;-)

      Seriously though, gaming in Southern California seemed to be in a rut the last time I went to a con. All of the RPG events were either D&D or Vampire. Or, god save us all, Vampire LARP. After reading the flier a few times and not seeing anything different, I just gave up on Cons here. And, not being willing to fly to halfway across the country for a con, I never even looked into GenCon,
    • Talking about Seattle ... Seattle's already got it's big con -- PAX (!

      PAX is Penny-Arcade's convention that they've been running for a few years. While it is mostly oriented towards computer gaming there's still a ton of board gaming and traditional RPG's.
  • I lived in Phoenix for 43 years, finally start a game company ( and don't make it out to GenCon SoCal. Then I move 500 miles further east, making it a two-day drive. And now they fold it. Oh, well. I've flown to Origins before, I can fly there again.
  • The competition is thick: [] []
    Joseph Elwell.
    • by wwphx ( 225607 )
      I wouldn't call Protospiel West competition, it's a symposium for game designers to test their games and get feedback from other game designers. And this is it's first year, so it may or may not last a few years; in fact, it's only a one-day event and it was yesterday.

      Strategicon was a very good convention, I attended it for a number of years when I worked for Flying Buffalo. But it's been probably 5 years since I was last there.

      I do a Phoenix game con called Phoenix Con Games [] which is a very good local c
      • by jelwell ( 2152 )
        I just got a postcard from Stategicon the other day. They're under new management, and they have a great guest host this year: Reiner Knizia. I also haven't been to Strategicon is a long long time, but this new management might be on to something.

        Any organized Gaming group is going to be perceived as competition. Let's hope that Protospiel West survives longer than GenCon West.
        Joseph Elwell.

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