The Secrets of GenCon Registration
Jonathan Weidert


Editor's Preface:
It is my duty, I feel, to point out that this is Weidert's first GenCon. The shock of arrival to the crowded convenction hall is not unlike that of a plane-stuck prime entering Sigil. I think it also fair to note he has just finished reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," so dispite his institance, he doesn't really have a doctorate in journalism. Here is the first of his many babbling rants of his experiences.


Oh yeah, this is the real thing. We rode into Milwaukee on karma and my parents '93 minivan (thanks Mom and Dad!), and decided to take a leisurely tour of the city before heading to the convention area proper. Ok, actually we got lost due to the crappy directions from the pre-registration booklet, but we did eventually make it downtown to the convention center.
[Actually we had no directions, I think the slaadi ate them -the editor]

So, what are my initial reactions to GEN CON? As a man of journalistic integrity and professionalism, I don't think I've ever been face to face with so many people who are actually geekier than I am. It's not that these are bad people - in fact, far from it. The gaming community is quite possibly one of the most accepting I've come in contact with. However, the unusually large proportion of guys with scrubby (my own choice of word) looking beards, long hair and tucked-in T-shirts is overwhelming to say the least. However, even among all of this, I know that a good time is to be had here in Milwaukee. Already I have made friends and connections to this place that may last a lifetime.

The first such person to brighten my life was the convention center entrance security officer, Karen. Karen not only opened my eyes to all of the glory of the convention lobby area, she was also willing to pose for us in front of a life-size realistic statue of a guy named Syl Sijan. According to Karen, the statue was crafted by Syl's son Marc, who made it in tribute to his father. Needless to say, I was moved to tears by this heart-warming tale of a loving father-son relationship.

Nathan found me collapsed behind a trash can crying my eyes out, where he quickly slapped some sense into me, and we were off once more. We had to find out the heart of the beast known as registration. I decided that the best way to cover this would be through the eyes of a third party - someone who we could all relate to in one way or another. It took a careful combing of the crowds surrounding the registration area, but we finally settled on a man of whom I am extremely proud. His name is Brett Roberts.

What can I say, this guy is pure gold. Not only does he have the determination and grit to be a hard-core gamer, Brett has something even more important - the heart of a champion. I think everyone can learn a little something from him. Just one glance at the cow-hide pattern hat on his head shows how much love he has for his fellow man.


Here's another picture of Brett. Now I know that this doesn't really show how registration works, but honestly, do you really care about registration anyway?

That's what I thought.

On route to our hotel, we got lost again, although this time we at least got to drive along the shore of Lake Michigan. About this time, Nathan was feeling the true effects of sleep deprivation and started to make weird comments about people wearing pants in the water. It seemed to me that Nathan's mental state was roughly equivalent to the physical prowess of this man in the hat above.

Nathan also had me stop in the middle of traffic to take this picture below. Go figure.

So, what conclusions do I have? Well, if the meager crowds of today have shown anything of the future, then I expect to see thousands of nerds, geeks, and dorks before the weekend is over.

Although on the bright side, if things go bad, I've made a back-up plan of activities using pamphlets from my hotel's lobby. I'll start the day with a tour of the Miller Brewery, where I plan on sampling as much as I can before I am blacklisted by the place, then head to local Juneau Park and rent a paddleboat. I'll rampage all over Lake Michigan, and hopefully I'll be quick enough to flee before the local cops arrive. To cap off this evening, I'll hit it big at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino, where I'll clean up on Blackjack and Video Poker.

Well, bye for now. If you're lucky, I might have some actual news for you lucky, lucky people tomorrow.

Signing off,
Jonathan Weidert

Stay tuned for more such lunacy from Weidert



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  Copyright 1999, Nathan Letsinger and Randy Nichols. Graphics by Jeremiah Golden.