If you listen to the PNG Bro-down, you’ll notice that some of us sure do talk about Gencon Indianapolis a lot. Well, me in particular. This will be my 7th year in attendance to this venerable gaming convention that had it’s earnest beginning back 1968. I won’t go on about it’s history, as you can easily look it up at wikipedia, but I would like to share some of the aspects of this particular convention that has captured my heart through a series of articles leading up the week of Gencon Indianapolis 2009. What exactly draws in the roughly 28,000+ attendees and makes this the best four days in gaming? We’ll start, my fellow PNG’ers, by taking a look at the Dealer Hall. Why not start with the actual gaming at the convention you ask? As we always say here at PNG, everything we do is slightly skewed to our personal view of things. I really enjoy trying out new games first and foremost over playing ones that I have at home. With that being said, expect an article about the convention gaming next week, and read on about this mystical paradise that is called…. The Dealer Hall
The Dealer Hall is usually open from 11:00 – 6:00 pm on Thursday, 10:00 – 6:00 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00 – 4:00 on Sunday. Pretty much every morning, you will see a crowd standing outside of the doors in anticipation of their opening. Because, you see, through these doors is a magical hall adorned with banners, dragons, super heroes, faeries, and all sorts of delicious gaming goodness. One could simply walk this hall for the entire 4 days that it’s open, and still not come close to playing or seeing everything it has to offer.
One of the main reasons for this is the amount of time that you can spend just demoing games. Pretty much every game that is out on the floor is available for you to try out first. Often times, publishers will have games that are not even available to the public yet for play and purchase in limited quantities at the show. There is an almost incalculable value to being able to try something out before you decide to part with your cash in these oh so hard economic times. With the hall and selection being so huge and varied, you can be almost guaranteed a satisfying purchase if you spent at least a few hours in there playing demos.
Up until recently, Gencon has mostly been about tabletop games. There rarely was a reason for somebody strictly interested in video games to take that trip to Gencon. As of a couple of years ago, roughly half to a third of the Dealer Hall has been dedicated to video games. The only drawback is, that if you are not into games that are derived from some type of tabletop war, card, or roleplaying game, you might still be disappointed. Those type of video games are what’s typically on display from various publishers such as EA/Mythic, Bioware, and Atari. This isn’t to say that you can’t get a game of Halo 3 or Left 4 Dead in, but that’s not in the Dealer Hall and can be saved for next weeks “Gaming at Gencon” article.
The Dealer Hall isn’t strictly limited to buying and demoing games though. Within this hallowed hall you can find all sorts of different gaming related articles such as replica swords, medieval garments, anime, toys, art, and books. Looking for a replica of Frodo and Bilbo’s magic sword Sting? It’s there! Looking a new set of over sized sparkly dice? Also there. Looking for a Sailor Moon costume in a men’s size medium? Well, I’m not entirely sure that’s there… but somebody is almost guaranteed to be there in that outfit.
Might I also add, as a connoisseur of processed meats, the hot dogs that are sold in the Indianapolis Convention Center are some of the best known to man.
Oh, and I really do apologize for this last picture.