Origins 2014 Recap Part 1: The Con that succeeds in spite of itself
I’m really tired, guys. I’m fighting to stay awake at least until 9pm so I’m not going to bed too early. Why am I so tired? Oh, I don’t know, it might have something to do with being in Columbus from the 10th until this morning, playing god knows how many games until at least 2 in the morning. Nahh, that’s probably not it. Origins 2014 random stream of consciousness Part 1 awaits!
I love Origins. I also think Origins sucks. It sucks because of the 2.5-3 hours people had to stand in line to get in Saturday morning, which included four friends of mine. It sucks because of the miscommunication and the lack of organization leading to missing paid-for advertising for publishers, countless no-show events, etc. It sucks because I believe that the volunteers who work Origins are, given the benefit of the doubt, really nice people trying to make the Con enjoyable for attendees. It sucks because of a multitude of reasons (proximity to GenCon, past years’ flagging attendance, etc) that lead to big publishers skipping the event. It sucks because it feels like there’s so much wasted potential that the organizers either don’t know what to do to tap into it or are stretched so thin that they couldn’t tap into it if they tried. And in spite all of that, among other things, I love Origins and it’s my favorite Con to attend. Ok, so I only attend two. Whatever. It’s still a valid sentence, so there!
I’ve met so many amazing people in the three years I’ve attended Origins that it actually boggles my mind trying to think about them all. If you would’ve told me three years ago, when I first made the trip down to Columbus and couldn’t find the convention center (which is literally attached to my hotel), that I’d struggle to make time to hang out with dozens upon dozens of friends, I would’ve laughed in your face (or run away crying in a panic attack (double nested parens! hint: more on panic attacks in a future post!). I’ve played some amazing prototype games and had awesome and heartfelt discussions about games and about people in general at Origins. I’ve laughed so hard that it hurt, I’ve cried, I’ve dragged my exhausted body back and forth between my hotel room and the gaming hall dozens of times, with feet, ankles, and hips complaining along the way, just to get that one game I left in my room that people wanted to play with me.
And that kind of explains why I love Origins so much. The people. I made a joke at one point during the week that somebody should develop a “Six Degrees of Separation/Kevin Bacon” card game with movies and celebrities, etc. And thinking about all the wonderful people I’ve met, and how if situations hadn’t worked out just right, I’d never know them, makes me think about how lucky I am to have lived through my own “six degrees of separation” experiences thanks to Origins.
- Like the orchestra teacher who thinks she’s socially awkward when she’s created herself such a vast network of connections rivaling those of many in the industry, who I play games with nearly monthly and who I wouldn’t know today, had it not been for an open seat at a bar table, and my badge indicating that I was from the same state as her.
- Or the pastor who’s a rocking man of faith, a game designer, and one of the funniest and goofiest people I’ve ever met when he’s over-tired who had I not just decided to trail along with a group of designers and publishers one late night to go up to their room and play a raucous game of Time’s Up: Title Recall I never would’ve connected with.
All of these chance situations and meetings and further chance meetings all led up to a 9 player game of 6 nimmt! that I consider my best game moment out of all the Origins.
The people you meet, the hours you spend playing games, the crazy random situations that occur. That’s why the Con I think sucks the most is my favorite Con.
So, this whole thing went a lot more sincere than I had originally planned. Next time, I’ll give some impressions about some of the great games I played this week! To offset the sincerity of this post, I leave you with Fluffy, the destroyer of worlds.