It’s Sunday, June 18, 2017. I’m sitting at a table at the Big Bar On 2 in the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, OH. For those who haven’t attended Origins, the Big Bar On 2 is a bit of a landmark, especially for those attending the convention and staying in the Hyatt. It’s quiet here. There are a handful of people playing games. Every now and then you’ll see someone walk past. This scene is much different than it has been the past few times I’ve sat/walkthrough here.
I’m sitting here beginning the decompression and readjustment “process”. It’s not so much of a process, as it is a natural return to normalcy and “adulting” as the distractions of the week of Grown-up Summer Camp dwindle and fade away. I paid some bills and had a little panic attack when, for a minute or two, I thought I hadn’t remembered to pay rent this month. (Spoiler alert: I had). I’m thinking about whether I’ll want to get groceries tomorrow when I get home or if I’ll skip trivia night and get them after work. Work. What do I do for a living again?? What was I doing before I left for Columbus? What was that long email thread I got on my phone that stirred the feelings of frustration that I was able to push aside because Origins but will have to be “adulted” with Tuesday morning when I’m back in the office. I need to reach out to my family and find out when funeral services will be held for my uncle who passed while I was here at the con. Decompression and readjustment from a con can be a weird thing.
For four days, at nearly all hours of the day, I’ve been around people. Not Gen Con crazy numbers of people, but still a lot of people. Faces I recognize from the past five Origins I’ve attended. Most of those faces I’ve never met. But when I see them, I remember them immediately. There’s the three people who always look like they’re disappointed or borderline snooty. I think one of the two men and the woman of the group are married/involved, but for the life of me I can’t tell how they’re paired up. There’s also the family (Mom, Dad, and two boys) with whom I played an early prototype of King’s Forge where the event runner tossed us the components and the rules and walked away.
And there are the faces of friends who I will never forget. The faces of friends for which I was able to make time, and those to which I didn’t give enough of my time as they may have wanted. The faces that back in 2012 when I first attended Origins, I wouldn’t have been able to pick out again, but now as beacons I seek out every year. The faces who I first met as game players, but are now game designers, publishers or hold other positions of significance in the hobby/industry. The faces of those I saw as Con Gods amongst men and women in years past and who I was anxious and embarrassed to ask questions about how Cons worked. And the faces of those who now look to me as an “expert” on how to attend a Con, or recognize my name/face solely because of stupid tweets I make on the interwebs.
So many, many faces.
All those faces will go back to their homes and families across the country. Some I will still be able to see regularly with whom I have a lot of new games to play. Some I will get to see again in a handful of weeks at Gen Con. Some I didn’t see at Origins, won’t see at Gen Con, won’t see until next Origins, and sadly some I will only ever see from memory.
Tomorrow, decompression and readjusting will be in full effect. I’ll likely see 20-30 faces tops, and that’s dependent on whether I get groceries. I’ll talk to less than a handful of them, and then it’ll be answering/asking simple questions. I’ll get home to my mess of an apartment and remember that I don’t really have any good places for the games I bought this week to go. (I recognize that by typing that I, by the nature of how brains work, have already remembered it, but it’s one of those parts of this “process” that I can mentally still put my fingers in my ears and go “nah nah nah nah” and pretend I didn’t hear)
Game conventions are fun and exciting and fulfilling and expensive and exhausting and painful. Origins will hold a special place in my heart since it was my first con, and unless something drastic happens, I’ll still continue to attend for years to come.
This post was almost 99% about faces and very little about games, but don’t worry. There will be more posts to follow with some impressions of the new games I played this week including Century: Spice Road, Sentient, Flip Ships, Pit Crew and maybe a surprise or two!