Here’s a story I submitted for Atlas’s 40 Years of Gen Con book. From my skim of the book it didn’t make it in, so I’m going to share it here.
I went to my first Gen Con in 1989. I had some punk friends in Milwaukee I could crash with, but even though they were actually gamers too and major Cthulhu-heads, they had never gone to Gen Con. Nor did me coming all the way from NYC convince them to give it a shot. So I went to the con itself alone and didn’t know a soul. And I had an awesome time. I went back to NYC and told my friends about it. The next year a few of them came with me and the year after that a few more. Soon it became a yearly tradition. We’d rent a van and do a two day road trip out and back. The crazy conversations and legendary arguments of those long drives became part of the fun. We always came back from Gen Con totally energized about gaming too.
One year we were on the return trip and talking about how we wanted to break into the game industry. I’d say most of us were about 22 at the time. We talked about starting a general interest game magazine (though thank god we didn’t). At one point Sandeep said, “You know, our generation has yet to make its mark on the game industry.” He was right and that stuck with me over the years as I started freelancing and establishing myself as a designer. Sandeep himself never had a chance to do what I did though. He died very suddenly in the late 90s. His father had passed away just a couple of years before, from a previously undiagnosed heart defect. Turns out Deep had the same thing but it killed him decades earlier in his lifespan.
I think about Sandeep every year when I’m at Gen Con.
And now some of us are saying the same thing. I’m 24 now, and trying to become a game designer. Funny, that.
Glad Gen Con has been an energizing experience. I have yet to make it, even though Peter Adkinson promises me a beer :-/.