Over the sixteen or so GenCons that I attended, things sure changed a lot. Some of that may have been my own perceptions but the convention definitely is different than it was almost twenty years ago. It’s much bigger, more family-oriented and more commercial.
This may be rose-tinted glasses speaking but I am convinced that, back in those olden days, when we had to chase triceratops out of the exhibit hall, events tended to be volunteer/amateur/works-of-love based. I ended up in my longest-running campaign because a group that turned out to be close to me ran an event that was a one-shot set in their campaign.
Frankly, in those ancient times, GenCon was really more of a local event. And the crust of the Earth was still cooling.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying things were better back then. The pterodactyl drumsticks were bigger, sure, but high speed internet is the bomb. I’m not the “you kids get off my lawn” guy. I’m more the “wait, I have a lawn?” guy.
Truth to tell, GenCon has to change and evolve. The world has changed. Gaming, the game market and the gaming community has changed. If it didn’t change, it’d be dinosaur bones in Milwaukee. I hope to take my son someday to the modern GenCon but I don’t know if I’d take him to the old one. And if you want that local feel, there are a lot more local cons these days.
But man have things changed. You’re not going to get a chance to game with the Piltdown Man in today’s GenCon.