Like the planets aligning, there are a few times each year when geeks can fly their freak flags high and proud, in vast numbers, and at the same time in different parts of the universe.
This coming Labor Day is one of those weekends.
On the west coast, we have Pax, in Seattle, a three-day game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers and general celebration of gamer-geek culture. In fact, Pax calls itself a festival because in addition to dedicated tournaments and freeplay areas (the east coast version this spring had a very cool free classic arcade game room which was amazing!), they've got nerdcore concerts from awesome performers like MC Frontalot and Paul & Storm, panel discussions like "The Myth of the Gamer Girl," the Omegathon event (a three-day elimination tournament in games from every category, from Pong to Halo to Skeeball), and an exhibitor hall filled with booths displaying the latest from top game publishers and developers. Even with all this amazing content, the best part of PAX is hanging out with kindred folk who love their games and will argue and defend them to the death. Perhaps that's the best definition of a geek.
And in this corner, in Atlanta, the venerable convention Dragon*Con, which calls itself the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe. As I've written in my book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, virtually every stripe of fantasy and science fiction fan- dom is represented. Probably half of the 30,000 attendees come in costume. You can game for four days or party for four days or play dress-up for four days. This is a place to find your kin, and people-watching alone justified the price of the pass. The mobs warp the space-time-fandom continuum was warped. Last time I was there, I saw a Batman, Robin, and Catwoman talking to Medusa; Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Raggedy Ann. Alien palling around with Predator. I saw a familiar furry blue bipedal creature carrying an AK-47. “Cookie Monster gone bad,” someone muttered. “That’s just not right,” said a mother, shielding her toddler from the beast.
It's a grand old time for you gamers, geeks and fanboys and fangirls looking to hang with people who finally get you.
Ethan Gilsdorf is the author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, now out in paperback. You can reach him and get more information at his websitehttp://www.ethangilsdorf.com