Gen Con was kind of wild card this year. I had purchased the online badge and rolled over my in-person badge to next year in order to help out the convention. The online badge was only $20, but I opted to have a physical copy shipped to me. Just because. But I was left wondering if there would be anyone running events that I was interested in. Well, I shouldn't have worried. Like I do during in-person Gen Con, I chose to split my time between events that would help me grow as an artist as well as some fun stuff--usually shopping and gaming.
The drawing session that Gen Con hosted was okay. Unfortunately though, because the models were streaming video from their homes, and there was a wide variety of cameras and lighting, it didn't exactly go smoothly as one would hope. A lot of the lighting really didn't work for the cosplay outfits that the models had chosen. And it was sad too, some of those outfits looked like the cosplayers put a lot of effort into them. I also liked how the organizers had selected models across a range of ethnicities and body types. It was really nice to get a little variety in my sketchbook.
Well, at this point, I think I'm through with the Gen Con animation panels. They're usually hit-or-miss for me, usually more miss than hit. But this year was pretty much the end. One of my big pet peeves is when you have a fifty minute panel to cover a topic and you bring in more than three people (not including the moderator) and you spend most of the time introducing the panel speakers by having them talk about themselves and their careers. It usually leaves about ten to fifteen minutes where they talk about the subject and then open for questions. Idiotic. Needless to say, when the guy who dominates the conversation during the panel is a live-action filmmaker whose only experience is watching anime with his kids--and he gets most of his comments about the Japanese animation industry and the production process completely wrong--well, it's time to move on. Add to that: the "Production Sound" panel was totally forgettable. No more film and animation track at Gen Con for me. I'd rather go back to the "Author's Avenue" cause at least there I'll learn something useful about developing relatable characters or building believable worlds or how 'print-on-demand' is changing the publishing industry. As much as I want to learn things at Gen Con that further my animation career, sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on.
Now, with regards to gaming, I had the chance to play both Senet and the Royal Game of Ur with a bunch of people over Zoom. Both games were very much like Backgammon and both were very enjoyable games. I put them down on my ever growing list of games to buy (once I find someone to play them with). Online virtual gaming is... interesting. While I had a good time playing the card game "Sushi Go" in an online venue that will eventually be a VR gaming environment, I don't think they're ready for primetime yet. But it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out once VR is more widespread as a gaming interface.
And thus, Gen Con Online 2020 came to an end. I can sum up my experience in one sentence: Online Gen Con may not be best Gen Con, but it is much better than no Gen Con.
Hopefully next year we can all meet up again in Indianapolis for the best four days of gaming.
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