According to its website, Gen Con is the biggest and best gaming convention in the world – as well as the longest running. Attendees get to see some of the biggest names in the industry, and this convention differs in that it focuses more on board and role playing games than video and computer games. This dynamic leads to an interesting demographic, with both old and young players coming together to celebrate in Indianapolis. For such a “small” convention, Gen Con actually has a massive amount of attendees, surpassing 65,000 tickets sold last year alone. This year is sure to be even bigger!
Guests are not posted on their site yet, but in the past have included the game creators for games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and more. Voice actors and game developers for video games, as well as competitive players in the industry are all featured quite often. Even more importantly, attendees get to see the games they love played out in the open, with a number of game halls and competitions going during the course of the weekend.
There are a huge number of artist spotlights as well, given that the cards, boards, and visuals needed to create these games are almost as important as the stories themselves. There is a hugely popular art community at Gen Con, which supports artists that give life to these games. There is also an auction, where you can get signed memorabilia, game pieces, and more. There are hobby events, where you can create your own cosplay, your own game memorabilia, or just enjoy a little crafting time with your friends.
There are also artist and author guests of honor that keep in line with the gaming theme. People that write books, comics, or even the plots for the games we love are all featured at Gen Con. Artists are obviously popular, and many people want to get to know the people that create our favorite characters. There is a special section for anime and animation, combining both the visual and writing aspects of this community.
There is, towards the end of the weekend, a massive costume contest which has gotten quite interesting in years past. Make sure you’re reading the rules on Gen Con’s website about what is and is not allowed in the event hall, as you could make a very embarrassing mistake and be rejected from the hall.
For such an awesome convention, the prices are actually really reasonable. For an adult 4 day pass, you’re looking at $90 for pre registration or $120 for standard registration. You can also get a ticket for trade day, where you can set up B2B connections if you’re a game developer or are hoping to find a job connection – that ticket is $155. The convention runs from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7 2016 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. You can also buy event tickets, which means you can play in competitions and engage with your community over the games you love.