I had the pleasure again of attending and running role playing games at Dragon*Con, which took place this past Labor Day in downtown Atlanta, my home town. I was there all morning and afternoon from Saturday through Monday. As I am a school teacher, I don't usually make it for much, if any, of Friday, and late evenings are a no-go when your body wakes up between five and six every morning.
I offered three HeroQuest scenarios, two set in Glorantha (Loskalm and Kralorela, for those who care) and one a science fiction tale. Each game was on the schedule twice, so I was potentially booked through the whole con. As it turned out, as it often does, not every one of my games made during marshalling, so I ended up with one afternoon to explore the con.
Dragon*Con is now spread across five major hotels and the surrounding blocks of the city. Role playing games of various ilks take place in a few upper-floor, small conference center wings of the Hilton. Board and card games and the Mechwarrior pods filled the sprawling basement and always seemed to be full of players. The intervening floors housed celebrity signings and events, so they formed a bit of a scrum for those of us passing through or looking for lunch. The Hilton was even more busy than in past years and had a varied mix of gamers and non-gamers. There were also more costumes in evidence in the Hilton.
The Marriott Marquis is at the center of the convention spaces, and it was packed to the gills through the weekend. The main dealer and shopping halls, plus the art show, plus, even more importantly for this con, the main public spaces for costume display, were all located here. It could easily take half an hour to go from one side of the hotel to the other. The eye candy and general good cheer were evident everywhere.
The Hyatt was home to the bulk of the workshops, interest tracks, movies, and other less swirly activities, and it was the quietest of the hotels, though most every room looked packed with fans. Several other hotels and meeting spaces held additional panels and meetings. A friend of mine does head counts throughout the con, and he reported it was more populous than ever.
Con participation by minorities and families appeared to be on the rise, and Dragon*Con remains popular with girls and women. My own daughter was flitting about in some sort of fairy outfit, and I wore my Back Up badge throughout the con. I only had one afternoon to explore the con outside of my little gaming rooms, but a wide spectrum of interests and positive attitudes were everywhere. For another take on the con, this one discussing bringing your children, check out Geek Mom.
Dragon*Con covers everything from young adult fiction to gaming, from cosplay to first iteration Star Trek. If you're ever in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, it's definitely worth checking out. It has a little bit of everything, sometimes a heap of everything, for every interest.
Awesome Gaming Videos
On a different topic, I found a link to dozens of videos about using games, mostly video games, as educational tools. While most of these media aren't exactly what I talk about in this blog, many of these projects are inspiring in all sorts of ways one can generalize to role playing. [I had to remove the link at the source's request; they're having trouble with Google.]