It's very much the same objection that many people have to a strip club opening up in their neighborhood. Sure, there is nothing illegal about it, and they aren't going to let minors in, but it's "not the sort of thing" they want around.
Whether that is a *valid* complaint or not, is up to GenCon to decide, but it is what it is. Defining the bounds of what is allowed and what is proper at their con is up to them. Personally I'm not a fan (no offense) but I'm not exactly going to advocate that it be removed. And I very much agree some of the art (both in and out of artists alley) pushes the boundary far more than you do, and I do (and have) advocated that the art be removed. There's a substantial difference between selling product behind (metaphorical) closed doors and putting a tiny orange sticker over nipples/crotch and saying "see, safe for kids!".
Wanted to mention two more:
Good: Louie's Wine Dive on Mass Ave. We discovered it by accident, and it was the best meal we had at Gen Con.
Bad to Ugly: There was a booth selling porn openly near the back of the dealer's hall. I don't mind Cosplay Deviants, but c'mon? Do we need someone selling porn out there where any kid or three can stop by and see it? (I don't know if it was the same booth as the Cosplay Deviants, I was hurrying buy and saw it, stopped, backed up, confirmed what I saw, and then just sighed and walked away.)
Not having to spend my Saturday morning in Urgent Care thanks to my toe kersploding and then the rest of the con in the hotel room like I did last year. That was a massive, massive bonus.
Getting to meet people and chat (although I am sorry, austicke, if I was very quiet when we met at the stink - my husband can confirm I tend to get that way a lot! But it really was lovely to get a chance to meet you. along with everyone else I had a chance to talk to over the weekend.)
The Charity Auction - I always love going there because you never know what might happen, and this year was no exception. A special shout out to not only Jim (who we put through so much) but all the auction volunteers, because they put in a lot of time and effort to keep things running smoothly
Gamers Live - also another thing I will do every year because it is amazing. Plus it too is much better without kersploding toes, but that can be said for many things.
The dealers room - while as usual I know I missed things, it really was much easier to get around this year, and I appreciated being able to get to space along the walls so I could make necessary adjustments without having to fight through a sea of people to do it.
All the games I got to play - while I didn't get as many structured games as I might have liked, I did get plenty of free form RP/improv-type things in and I had a blast with everything. And I loved Firefly Shiny Dice so much I went out and bought it even though I hadn't planned on that at all. Whoops?
Trying to get to an event in Wabash HQ which started just before the start of the costume parade. I realize that people had to be staged somewhere but it was really frustrating getting lost and going to down to try and get in to a door at the ballroom so I could ask for directions only to be told I had to backtrack and go find another door to go in because of it. It was one of the two times during the con that I was genuinely irritated by something and the other time was for something that was off-site and not related to the con at all.
Sleep debt - I was expecting some, simply because we were at an airport hotel and everyone except me had early morning things to do. But it was worse than I'd anticipated due to some things being out of my control at the hotel, so I was dragging by the end of the con. Still! Way better than kersplodey toes, so it really wasn't as bad as it could've been.
Not getting to the Sun King tent - that was more a conscious decision on my part, simply because the lack of sleep meant that drinking something that would make me even more sleepy was a bad idea.
The food trucks - I got to have some old favorites and try some new things this year, but I missed a few of the trucks I've enjoyed in the past and wasn't really up to trying some of the spicier alternatives, so my choices felt a bit more limited than they have before.
The arcade games in the hallway leading to Lucas Oil - I thought it was pretty cool they were there, but the light coming in the window made it difficult to see the screens in a few cases, and I had the worlds shortest game of Road Blasters as a result. I was tickled by the fact it was there, though.
All in all, there was way more good than bad, and even though I am still working on getting past the sleep debt, it was a good weekend.
Just a note about the Cosplay Deviants booth...The people objecting didn't even realize until LATER when they sought out the website. So it seems to me that the booth itself of theirs was not objectionable, just the card-handing to the site...which was handed to an adult, not a child.
I saw many many many MANY costumes where people were wearing much less than the CD's.
As for an adults-only area of the exhibit hall; we attend shows around the world and I've never seen this done at any gaming, comic, anime or sci-fi show.
Our booth did have two 24" x 36" 18+ signs displayed all weekend, but I will take note about the business card and will consider adding a disclaimer on it. Thank you for your input.
The Orc Stomp 5 K is also a charity run; all proceeds after initial costs of hosting the run go to a local charity (The Ronald McDonald House of Indy I think for the last few years). You get a nifty shirt, some of the sponsors donate prizes that get raffled off (I won a game from Stronghold the first year I ran in 2013) or offer discounts at their booths during the con and for the last two years, Exile Press (Hollow Earth Expedition RPG) has had a ribbon contest in which you race the raptors (three of them in super hot dino costumes!). We barely beat them last year haha. You get a badge ribbon and bragging rights, plus a cool story to tell other people at the con where you got the Raptor Racer ribbon. This year I bought their RPG because I love that the sponsor Orc Stomp and I think their race the raptors idea was really good (and I am super interested in learning more about their RPG!).
This was my very first GenCon. I may come back. Some of the most challenging things over the week had little to do with the convention at all, so I will restrict myself to con related things.
Dresden Files RPG: This was about 40% of my reason for coming to Gencon and it was as awesome as I hoped it would be,. Courtney was an amazing GM and everyone was super friendly and nice to the n00b. The lengthy backstory and detailed character sheets were really helpful in terms of getting a feel for my character and everyone was really great about playing along. When I read the character sheet in more depth at home, I realize I shouldn't have been able to use the rifle point blank, but whatever; it didn't keep me from nearly getting kilt anyway. :)
XMen LARP: I kind of added this at the last minute on a whim. Kat and Oz are amazing. They worked with me for two weeks before the con to build my character and did a video Google hangout to explain mechanics (which meant I knew at least one other player - hi Randall). Thank you so much for being welcoming and helping me decrypt my character sheets and figure out what I could DO. And to my group for being such good sports when the best thing I could come up with was dive bombing the Green Goblin with 400 pigeons in Times Square and getting them to poop on him until he fell off the glider. *lol* One of my cats has been adopted by a long running character in the local game, which is kind of awesome.
True Dungeon (Group Two): These consisted of 50% of my reason for attending. We only got about half the rooms, but everyone was super welcoming and made sure we could all chime in on the puzzles and stuff and we didn't feel left out or extraneous
True Dungeon (Group One): The drow lady leading us around who saw my ACL brace and offered to let me step out of the first challenge when she saw I was struggling. I managed it, but we had this great conversation about knee problems for about half the dungeon. *laughing*
Scalemail Dicebag: I ran out of time because I did the first row the wrong way and had to start over, but I have about half of a dicebag. I have tried to do chainmail in the past but have really struggled with it because I keep losing my place. Working with the scales actually made it a lot easier and less frustrating for me.
Torrid: We need this in Canada. Toronto isn't Canada, I mean the rest of us. :) Thank you Kaitlyn.
The one man who actually asked me to take a picture even though I am not obviously covered in goggles or gears, a TV character, a movie character, a comic book person, an anime character, or a game entity. I wore a yellow 1820s walking suit and for the most part was not sure why I bothered because it wasn't loud enough or obvious enough for anyone to care. So thank you random stranger.
The Question Mark People: Thank you. I got so fricking lost the first couple of days it wasn't funny. You were very helpful and gentle about getting me turned around in the right general direction.
The Staff in 123West at the Crowne Plaza: They let us take our coffee to go and even grabbed us little takeout containers so we could bring fruit or danishes with us. Luiz in particular was really wonderful. You go girl!
The Crowne Plaza Hotel Room Cards: Agricola themed Caravan hotel room cards were a nice touch
Cosplay Fence: The corraled area for cosplay photography was really neat and it seemed to keep people from stopping up the hallways too badly snapping photos.
The Lady At the ICC Coffee Shop: She was convinced we don't have change in Canada at all. It resulted in a pretty epic and somewhat confusing conversation when I explained we don't have dollar bills or pennies but we still have all the OTHER change.
Tim the GM: Both for being awesome at dinner and for hearing me out in Starbucks when I was utterly frustrated after the failed Strange game (see below).
True Dungeon (Group One): The folks who showed up super early with briefcases of pogs and were only interested in the loot and doing it as hardcore as possible. I wasn't interested in doing it hardcore, and I wasn't the only one, but I got the feeling there was a lot of annoyance at the newbies. I was having a panic attack in the muster room and trying not to cry because they were so obviously mad at us for wanting to play normal. Also, there is a difference between being decisive and making others feel unwelcome. It got precariously close to that line at times.
The Ram: Having absolutely NO SEATING in the wait line and then only going and getting a chair for the obviously not able bodied person after someone basically went and smacked the maitre'd in the nose with a rolled up newspaper was uncool. Look, I understand that you don't want people loitering with those wait times but a little compassion and the offer of a chair would have been gracious.
The Fat Rooster: Wasn't worth it and the "loaded potato salad" came with a side dose of sick the next day.
Steak and Shake: Having an app that gives me a free drink but won't let me register a non-American card to get it. Also, the shake was fantastic and they were good about seating us right away, but the burger was kind of meh.
The elevator in the ICC to the Crowne Plaza dying at some point on Friday. ACL Brace and eighteen foot ceilings and stairs are a badness when you are tired. Ehmagerd. It made for a lot of suck and unnecessary aggravation
The Strange: The kids spent MONTHS telling me how awesome the game was. MONTHS. We got to our table ten minutes early, it was not a Monte Cook room. We then got bounced around from room to room for ten minutes because someone had poached the table we would have been at. Our GM was late. He hadn't read the mod. He didn't explain anything about the world or the situation or why we were there, or why it was a different kind of game, or any of the mechanics, or what our character types did, or ANYTHING until someone reminded him (I had said it already) very pointedly that I was new and I had no idea what the blazes was happening. I was going to buy the book. I even looked at it. But after that mod I no longer wanted it or cared about the game. I get that you were dragooning people at the last minute, but that was the lowlight of my weekend.
Exhibit Hall: Two things, first off, put similar kinds of dealers together. Having to wander for miles to find the half dozen dice sellers stank hard. Also, put the really big booths at the ends, not straddling aisles where you have to go around them and get lost because you forgot where you were. Oh and one last thing. Demoing awesome games I can't buy sucks. If you are a kickstarter thingie, say so. Really obviously. So I don't waste my time.
It's Raining In My Bathroom: I got home from the XMen Larp to find water dripping out of the ceiling. The service guy (hi Rich) was really nice and explained it was probably condensation, but when he moved that tile, over a gallon of water poured out onto him. The hotel could have offered us SOME kind of discount for it. I'm just glad I went home early and found out as the maintenance staff leave before midnight.
Distances: Oh my god. 70k steps, 27 miles... everything is SO FAR APART. And I *gained* five pounds. Screw you, Universe.
Heat: I've been to Florida in July. This might have been worse.
Garbage Cans = Traffic Jams: The trash cans in the middle of the aisles in Exhibitor's Hall were an ongoing source of annoyance
Exhibit Hall = Sauna, everywhere else = Walk-In Freezer
Costume Contest Seating: I understand that contestants need to be near the front, but the camera people need to do a better job of zooming in if the first seats are 20 rows back. I couldn't see a thing for most of the contest, which was a sad, since I couldn't REALLY see anything on the screens either. Also, winners, don't run away right after. If I couldn't SEE you, I'd like to ask you questions about your getup and maybe get a good shot.
Recycling: Seriously, no recycling in our hotel, no apparent recycling in the convention spaces except for one event I was at. What the heck? You have a gajillion people with plastic bottles.
The Obsession with Uber: I. Am. From. Canada. If I ask you to call me a cab, don't proselytize about Uber, just call me a bleeping cab like I asked you to. I don't want Uber. I am not signing up for Uber. I don't have an American credit card to use Uber with.
I love the Stomp. Getting to see so many people for whom it's their first, or one of their first, races, people setting PRs. So much encouragement. Great time.
Edit: but no, it's just a race. Theres nothing else to do other than run, cheer other people on, volunteer, eat a banana or some crackers, get a finishers medal. No die rolling :)
Before I exit this detour from the 'Good, Bad & Ugly' and let the thread get back to its original intent, I do want to take a moment and say 'thank you' to everyone who kept this discussion civil and didn't resort to personal attacks. It speaks well of all of you that we can discuss our differing POV's like adults. Visit the 'swag bag' thread if you want to see how it can go really bad really fast. ;)
bcpierce/ What did you mean when you mentioned your toe kersploded last year??
Maybe the TD organizers could look at running some dungeons on a "no-gear" basis, so new and experienced players start out more equal?