Now, this is not me whining. This is the last weekend before school starts remotely for our son and I will be darned if that isn’t a lot more important for me. For crying out loud, I play games remotely almost constantly. I look at game news all the time. Neither Gen Con 2020 or Gen Can’t 2020 were going to be major, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for me.
No, instead, I got to participate for nothing. I got to have some fun and be a part of the greater community and feel connected. And if you don’t think those things are meaningful, social media would be nothing more than an alternative to a phonebook if folks didn’t find some value in them. (I leave it up to you to decide what that value is)
But, this does drive home that one of the most powerful aspects of a convention in person is that it is an escape from the rest of the world. I close my eyes and I think about the carpet in the convention center in Indianapolis and I have a strong memory of being removed from so many responsibilities and distractions. (Which is not necessarily a healthy thing. It’s a good thing conventions don’t happen all the time!)
A friend of mine used to ask what the difference was between going to a convention and spending a weekend at a friends house playing games? The difference is that separation.
Which is not to say that the virtual cons are worthless. With school starting the first week of August, actually trying to go to a convention in person would be a nightmare at best.
More than that, with so many of us in some level of lockdown and isolation, the value of a virtual convention is enormous. Honestly, this year, the power and importance of a virtual Gen Con May be greater than an in-person one on another year.