Salt Lake City Gaming Con is over, and I think it was a great success. Two days long, I was scheduled for nine panels, although due to a schedule change I missed, I only attended eight of them. I did two Choose Your Own Apocalypse Games, which means I also performed two musical numbers. I won the first, lost the second, although they told me after by only one vote (though it looked like more at the time).
Salt Lake Gaming Con is in its third year. This is the first where the Comic Con people came in as partners. It’s my understanding that their numbers had been on a decline and they seemed to have climbed back up steadily this year. While the panel rooms weren’t bursting with people (except for my panel on how to be a better GM), the attendance seemed healthy enough.
The first day we set up and got to know the space. It took a bit of time to get our table and badges sorted, but we arrived early so we were ready before the general crowd had entered the dealer room. My panel on MMOs went well (I moderated), and the first Choose Your Own Apocalypse, where I played Friend Computer from Paranoia, versus, Emperor Palpatine and Lolth. My musical number was a sing along to Still Alive from Portal. And between that and a dangerous political joke where I insulted everyone’s candidate in the last election, I managed to pull a win. That last joke was risky. I knew that if I didn’t have the room, I’d probably lose votes, but I might gain a few if I had the room on my side, and when I said it, I didn’t know where I stood, but I knew that I would lose without it, so I gambled. I wrapped up the day with my panel on stories and RPGs.
The second day was more difficult. There are days at cons that are strange, where you feel completely alone, abandoned by all your friends. I don’t admit that to many people, but again, I’ve promised that this blog will be completely honest. I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing that stuff, and Saturday was my best day for both sales and panels. It’s safe to say that it might be, professionally, the best day I’ve ever had at a convention in my life, even while it might have been in the top two worst, personally. Ironically, the other worst day, personally, was another spot on professional day, when I won my first Choose Your Own Apocalypse.
That day started with my panel on whether video games were as fun as they used to be. It moved into my CYOA where I played the Uber-Ethereal from XCom. That time my musical number was Come Sail Away from Styx, which involved a lot more belting than the first song, and my voice was pretty shot, but I made it to the chorus and then it was the audience’s problem. I lost that one, but as I said, it was a narrow lost and I lost to a first-time player. I prefer to lose to first time players. Playing that game your first time is harrowing. Then we did a panel on the best video game movies never made, followed by the best panel on how to GM I’ve ever even seen, much less participated in. We ended with a panel on Mass Effect 3 and Andromeda, which started with Jennifer Hale entering the room, declaring it her favorite panel on the citadel, then saying “I should go.” and leaving with a mic drop. I’d been setting that up for thirty six hours (though in fairness all the heavy lifting was done by the head of the celebrity liasons, who had the original idea the day before at lunch.)
We ended with a very rushed pizza at my favorite pizza place in Salt Lake. Then I went home and just shook for about three hours.
It wasn’t the biggest con, but it doesn’t need to be. As I said on the private facebook group after, we give the same performance for five people that we give for five hundred.
The next installment awaits...Slouching Towards Amazon: Salt Lake Gaming Con and Working Conventions