Gen Con 2014 Photos, Part 1 of 6: the Costume Contest Winners

Toothless!

Toothless! America’s new favorite reptile (sorry, Godzilla), the star of the How to Train Your Dragon series. Winner of this year’s Staff Favorite award.

This weekend our starstruck hometown of Indianapolis hosted the 47th edition of Gen Con, one of America’s oldest and largest gaming conventions. Whether your gaming mode is RPGs, tabletop games, TCGs, dice games, family board games, or video games, Gen Con has its sights aimed in your direction. Try a new game, pick up supplies for your current campaigns, network with gamers from faraway lands, or just wander the premises and gaze upon the wonders. Attendance in 2013 exceeded 49,000, an impressive 20% increase over 2012. Judging by how overcrowded the main exhibit hall became by mid-afternoon Saturday this year, I’d say they’re on target for another increase.

This was my fifth GenCon and my wife’s fourth, even though we’re not certified pro gamers. Some of our personal geek interests intersect with enough of the available exhibits, dealers, and special events that we’re rarely bored except in the occasional line, but those come with the territory. I have somewhat obsolete working knowledge of the early days of gaming. In my youth I used to spend dollar after dollar on the original Advanced Dungeons and Dragons hardcovers and modules, as well as various other TSR RPGs (Top Secret!, Star Frontiers, Marvel Super-Heroes, et al.) and a subscription to both Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Adventures (starting with issue #1!) until all my childhood friends moved away and took their Player Characters with them.

Anyway: we took too many photos because too many people did interesting things. Our photos will be paced out in a six-part series that I hope to post on a slightly-more-than-daily basis over the next few days, Lord willing and if non-internet responsibilities don’t interfere. We begin with the easiest place to start: the winners of the 29th annual Gen Con Costume Contest.

Caveat for newcomers to MCC: some of our photos aren’t the greatest ever. The 500 Ballroom is poorly lit at all times whether any conventions are using it or not. Flash photography was forbidden, which is just as well because using the flash from the non-Press-Pass, non-VIP seats produces even worse results. This is something my wife and I enjoy doing, to show our appreciation and awe for those with the flair for this particular aspect of the scene. We apologize in advance for the costumes we missed, and for the opportunities we blew because of our limitations and hindrances.

Comments and especially corrections are always welcome and appreciated. (That’s my standing policy for every MCC entry anyway, not just the Gen Con six-parter.) I’m not plugged directly into every single geek scene out there. Very few geeks are, even the famous ones with their own YouTube channels. If you notice any wanton acts of mislabeling, please don’t hesitate to call me out. I enjoy learning about new worlds and universes, giving credit where it’s due, and dispelling my old man’s ignorance.

Right this way for the winners!

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”: Training Day is Over

Hiccup and Toothless!

My son and I were part of the Dragon Training 101 graduating class that considers How to Train Your Dragon the Greatest DreamWorks Animated Film of All Time. In those basic studies we learned that dragons respond well to a combination of generosity and teamwork, that even the scrawniest Viking can surprise you, that Scottish Viking fathers are stubborn but negotiable, that Old World prosthetics were surprisingly advanced, and that cinematic dragons have come a long way since Dragonslayer, Dragonheart, Dungeons & Dragons, Eragon, Dragon Wars, and even Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where those mighty beasts received fifty-eighth billing, ranking well below CG mermen, nameless wizard henchmen, and a guy who turns into a rat. So How to Train Your Dragon was a tremendous PR boost to a once-honored race of monsters that deserve better than Hollywood usually gives them.

The How to Train Your Dragon 2 intermediate course had much to live up to in our minds, both as a sequel and as the next rung on the ladder of dragon-training success. We feared whether this would be a worthwhile study or one of those unaccredited, fly-by-night scams that hopes you won’t be able to tell their “dragons” are just really ugly dogs with paper wings taped to their fur.

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