Earlier this year, Amanda and I attended the reemergence of in person gaming conventions. This year was the first time we were able to attend GenCon; while it was much smaller than previous years, they had over 35,000 attendees and still had a few of the neighboring hotels housing some of the events for some of the publishers. There were games being played virtually everywhere we went; hotels, bars, restaurants, hallways in the convention center, and even some outside. I was told a couple years ago the whole city basically welcomes GenCon attendees joining in on all of the fun. GenCon also kept its online component and allowed people to join publishers online to play their virtual versions of their games. It was definitely a fun experience despite working much of the convention, but we had enough down time during the day to get a lot of interviews in.
Origins was two weeks after GenCon and was our second time attending this specific convention; it definitely felt much smaller than it was in 2019. According to a quick google search, they had around 10,000 unique attendees though it certainly didn't feel that way to me. It was a good convention none the less, and I enjoyed getting to chat with many of the vendors before the general audience was let inside the vendor hall. If I were to guess, the fact that GenCon and Origins were only two weeks apart this year instead the normal 2-3 months apart, it was difficult for many to justify going to both since it was very unlikely there would be new announcements unique to Origins. Origins also had to compete for convention hall space due to a dental conference that was in one of the halls Origins had in 2019.
Capping off the year in December was PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia. While the attendance was certainly not what it was in 2019, it still felt pretty full due to the way they had the convention organized. Amanda and I spent most of the convention demoing games for AMIGO Games and Sovranti. Like we had seen at the previous conventions, everyone was very respectful of the requirements of the convention in regards to social distancing while eating and keep their masks on the rest of the time. We decided to ride a train into Philadelphia and really enjoyed our first train ride; we got lucky enough to have gamers next to us on the ride back so we had good conversation and company.
Overall, I really enjoyed the conventions and can't wait to attend them again in 2022. Below is a playlist of videos from these shows; follow our Youtube page to keep up with our latest video content.
GenCon 2021 - September 16- September 19
GenCon 2022 - August 4- August 7
Origins 2021 - September 30 - October 3
Origins 2022 - June 8- June 12
PAX Unplugged 2021 - December 10 - December 12
PAX Unplugged 2022 - TBD