Because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. … Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself-love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they are saying is, ‘You like stuff’, which is just not a good insult at all, like ‘You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.
— John Green
This has been my first con season, and I must say the best part is seeing so many people having so much fun. Gen Con has about it an aura of enthusiasm. Card games? Here is a tournament with hundreds of tables going at once, and that is not the only one, and over there is the entire hall devoted to them. Next to it are areas devoted to board games, from championships to “learn to play” sessions. The dueling successors to Dungeons and Dragons are there, with a large area for the launch of D&D 5th Edition and most of a floor for Pathfinder; just walking by the Pathfinder gaming area was an experience, with themed rooms, groups forming and shouting that they need one more, and generally an air that these people really are going to slay an army of dragons and save the world.
I have really enjoyed the costumes, but I think “outfits” make me happier. That is, there are many costumed characters, but even more people are dressed up without being a particular character. There are more hats and corsets than I see the rest of the year. There are Victorian and steampunk bits, from formal dresses to someone who just felt like wearing goggles. There are more utility kilts than I expected even given that these are gamers. Hair colors stretch far beyond the normal human range, and that was before I ventured into the anime area. People are here to play, and being playful is good. Your steampunk goggles and bronze rocket pack get admiring looks, not confused stares and laughs. The weirdos are the Colts fans who arrived in their thousands for the game last night; why wear a blue and white jersey when you could have a fez and/or chainmail?