Gen Con, or My Day Among the Great Unwashed

Look… I know it’s a four-day convention. I know you want to get in as much gaming time as possible – a lot of folks travel here from all over the country to play RPGs and just generally hang out with other gamers. I furthermore realize that you pretty much want to game round-the-clock, and ingest massive amounts of caffeine to stay awake. That’s fine. Really. But let me make one small simple request…


Jesus Christ! I haven’t smelled anything that rank since the time my fridge died while I was out on vacation! You people smell like a goddamned landfill! All I wanted was to come to Gen Con and see what new RPG stuff is out… but from the moment I walked in the door, I was engulfed in a cloud of stench that was so virulent and horrible that it should be marketed to defense contractors as an antipersonnel weapon. Are all gamers this ignorant of personal hygiene? I’ve gamed since I was a wee little Krunk, and during that time have managed to take showers to keep relatively odor-free.

The overwhelming majority of the attendees looked like they hadn’t attended to basic hygiene concerns in well over a week. Scraggly beards, unwashed lank hair, stained t-shirts, clutching a gallon-size mug of Mountain Dew, smelling like they’ve got a landfill concealed in their armpits… two days later, the recollection still makes me shudder. Don’t you people have hotel rooms that you stay in while you’re at the Con? If I remember correctly, those rooms do have these modern appurtenances called a “shower” that will miraculously manage to remove foreign particles and noxious odors from the surface of your body and will leave you clean and sparkly fresh. Learn to use it.

And while I’m on the topic… Some of the vendors had models at their booths, shapely nubile young women in chainmail and leather and the like. Yes, they’re attractive – I thought they were cute, too, and took a nice long look as I walked by. But regardless of your horny immature fantasies of sleeping with Red Sonja or Lara Croft, they’re NOT there to be hit on! I felt absolutely horrible for the one girl by the Microsoft booth… trapped by an unwashed gamer with half a Twinkie stuck to the front of his ‘My Reality Check Bounced’ t-shirt, trying to smile while he’s doing his Chris Kattan impression on her, with that look in her eyes that says so eloquently that she’d be ever-so-grateful if you’d just be kind enough to put her out of her misery. Look, slappy, they’re not there for you to try out your little gamer humor on… they’re doing a job. Yes, that job is to stand there and look attractive, but that’s not an open invitation to get hit on by every gamer that walks by. Please give her a break.

So next year, be warned… When I come to Gen Con, I’m going to bring a duffel full of hotel-sized bars of soap, and will be handing them to deserving attendees as I walk by. Either that, or Stick Ups… you unwashed maladjusted scraggly excuses for human beings.

These are probably the same ones that still live with Momma because they spend all their money from their pizza delivery job buying gaming stuff.

Those are Gamers, capital G. The ones that give the rest of us gamers, people who enjoy playing as a hobby, a bad name.

Believe me, they’re everywhere.

Arden, you’re not kidding. No wonder so many folks consider RPGs to be a geeky hobby… with evidence like I saw this weekend, how can I refute their logic?

In defense of geeks everywhere, geeky does not equal unwashed. :slight_smile:

Although I think obsessive geek with no real life might.

[Comic Book Guy]

Don’t try to change me baby

[/Comic Book Guy]

I wholeheartedly agree! I’m a geek through and through, and still manage to shower. :slight_smile: Plus, there was this atmosphere of obsession at the con… I enjoy RPGs, but I do have other interests in my life. The atmosphere there was of people who live, eat, sleep, breathe and live RPGs. That kind of single-mindedness scares me.

Heh. I’ve never been to Gen*Con, but I have friends who own a game shop that go every year, so I hear about it.

You want obsessive? Go to a Trek Con! Although, based on the pics from former cons on the Dragon*Con site, I’m going to be seeing true obsession when I get to that one.

I don’t go to a lot of Cons, maybe one or two smallish ones a year. But I have to say, I really appreciate the uber-geeks. Very rarely can I walk into a crowded room and say, with total conviction, that I am the coolest person there. But when the guy on my left is wearing a chainmail shirt that really shows off the his pelt of back hair, and the guy on my right is sporting Hentai tattoos, and right in front of me is a guy who consumes an entire pack of Red Vines in under 30 seconds without using his hands… Shit, I’m like Sean Connery compared to these people. It’s a real ego boost.

Those were all actual sightings at various cons, BTW. I shudder to think about the guy with the backhair trying to get out of his chainmail. I picture it as a kind of medieval Epil Stop and Spray.

<slight hijack>

Anyone know what the ‘at the door’ admission price is? I haven’t gamed in years, but since I live in Atlanta I thought this might be a neat way to kill a Saturday.

Fredge, they’re $75.00 at the door for the entire Con. They’ll have one day passes available, but the prices aren’t up on the website yet.

Do a search in MPSIMS. There’s a couple of threads about a Doper gathering we’re trying to plan since several of us are going to be there.

Thanks Arden Ranger. I think one day would be enough for me. Assuming my social calendar is open (and it usually is) I will plan to make it down for a day.

</end hijack>

I’d just like to say that back hair does not automatically make you uncool.

[sub]I hope.[/sub]

I tried to shower during GenCon, honest. (Not this year, this was a while back.)

I was sacking in a room with six other people, and if somebody wasn’t occupying the shower, there weren’t any towels, and I went down to the desk for more towels and by the time I came back up there was somebody else in the shower and by the time they were done my slot was starting . . .

I made do with lots of deodorant, then threw a totally hissy fit on Day 3 and jumped the queue.


I just learned what my subconsious has been telling me all along. I am a gamer. I love gaming. I will willingly game nearly any game system for hours upon days. I had been wondering why Cons don’t spark the “Ohhh! I should go!” state of mind they logically should.

I shower at least once in every twenty four hour period unless I am in the depths of illness or depression. The depression will sometimes spark more showering rather than less. I will kill myself at the morning of the third day. dirt is not my friend.

What you just described is scary. I’ll stick to basements thanks.

(Those poor models! I’d also be issuing some judious kicks to the knees…)

One or two a year sounds like “a lot of cons” to me. Someone who “doesn’t go to a lot of cons” would be somoene who goes to one every few years, I’d think. If one or two a year isn’t a lot, what is?

Opal: I dunno, two days out of my life a year doesn’t sound like a hell of a lot of time. I know people who go to five or more a year, and always stay for the whole con (I never stay for more than one day). Of course, that’s including non-gaming cons: Star Trek, comic cons, Magic tournaments, etc. which I don’t go in for.

I, at one time in my existance was a Gamer (note: capital G). I spent 44 hours once at a con playing games. During the Magic: the Gathering Pro Tour in Dallas I did not sleep for three days. But dammit, I found time to clean off the funk.

Someone at Gen Con came up with a fantastic idea. They were handing out ‘Hygiene: The Game’. This game consisted of a disposable toothbrush, a small bar of soap, and instructions on their use. One of the booths were handing them out to deserving patrons. I just about died. :slight_smile:

For true success, they should have called it “Hygiene: The Glistening”.

For this thread to have gone on this long without a BiMonSciFiCon reference is a true crime. And to the OP, you think a weekend is bad? I lived in the dorm next to some of these people for an entire year. The smell was just unspeakable.