Last day before Origins really begins. Taking care of all sorts of odds and ends, making sure the car is ready for the trip and so on. If I can blog from the con, I may, but I don't want to bet on it, so I'm going to use this window to dust off some old articles that I think merit the time in the sun.
I'm pretty excited. Conventions tend to do a lot to remind me of how much there is to like about our community. It wasn't always the case - cons I went to in college and even my first gencon were kind of messy blurs with high and low parts - but nowadays I know what I want out of a convention, and that improves things mightily.
I think the first convention that really blew the top of my head off was AmberCon Northwest, and to this day I will say it's the best convention in the country. It had a lot going for it, including a wonderful location, amazing food and drink, and an amazing staff, but those weren't the things that really grabbed me. What struck me most is that this was a convention with lots of couples, even small children, and a genuinely mature air in dealing with these things. To put it bluntly, it was a gaming convention full of grown-ups.
I admit this has colored my view on things since then. It's not that I demand that I only interact with grown-ups; quite the contrary. But knowing that adult gaming (in a non-saucy sense) is a reasonable expectation has given me a firm point to take refuge in. I like getting my geek on, but I also like that I can discuss jobs, mortgages and now kids with other people I get my geek on with.
And, to be frank, that's only a sliver of the goodness. For all that RPGs have poisonous people and groups, I have seen many more positive, enthusiastic communities who have decided to share their enthusiasm rather than prove they're right. If you look nowhere but RPG.net or story games, you'd think this community is nothing but a bunch of unpleasant shouting and self-aggrandizement. But when I look at the communities built around things; Fudge, Savage Worlds, Pathfinder, Amber and many others, I see that the reality is that the people who want to do something have mostly been avoiding the places where people just want to show off how smart they are.
It's weird to me that this is such an angry hobby. I have seen far too many people of passion and good intent become embittered because people don't listen to them or acknowledge them. This worries me a lot because there are people I care about who spend a lot of time stressing about where and how they're acknowledged in gaming, and I worry that they're on the same path.
And thus, I hold out hope for conventions. I know of no better cure for this than people, especially the kind of people you get to meet at something like Origins.