Genericon hits the highs, lows

Convention draws record attendees despite questionable odors

GENERICON ATTENDEES BROWSE vendors’ merchandise in the Darrin Communications Center. Genericon is a large annual science fiction and anime convention that takes place at RPI. People come from far and wide to attend the many events and take part in the anime and science fiction world.

During the weekend of March 1, the Rensselaer Science Fiction and Anime Society put on their annual sci-fi and video game convention, Genericon. This marks the 27th Genericon, running back 29 years to 1985 when the event began. The oldest convention of its kind, Genericon features an array of events from traditional card games to concerts and celebrity guests.

This year’s event was able to bring in to highly talented workers within the industry. The event brought celebrity guests Jen Taylor and the dancing team Antipode. Jen Taylor is an American voice actress best known for her voiceovers in countless video games. Her impressive résumé includes Cortana from the Halo games, Zoey from Left 4 Dead, and the Xbox 360 game 1 vs. 100. She has also appeared in multiple films including Inheritance, Taos, and Darkest Days.

Antipode was the other featured guest at this year’s Genericon. Antipode is best known for their original art form called geek belly dancing. Antipode came up with this art form by combining their love of otaku/nerd culture with their passion for belly dancing. The group is made up of four dancers who travel up and down the East Coast performing at multiple conventions.

With a schedule full of sci-fi- and anime-themed events, the average attendee never found themselves bored. A walk through the Darrin Communications Center would allow for any, non-sci-fi fan, to be completely immersed within the event. “I was overwhelmed by the amount of the people and variety of costumes,” said Isabel Johnson ’16. She went on to say how everyone who attended the event completely submerged themselves within the culture of Genericon. One student praised the event stating that without it, he would not have known about all the different aspects of sci-fi. He continued discussing about how much fun he had witnessing the different types of costumes that people were wearing.

The event was packed, with tickets only costing $25 for a regular attendee or $10 for an RPI student. Sci-fi fans came from long and far to converse with likeminded people. Last year, the event was able to bring in over 2,000 people and this year’s event was able to top those numbers and bring in an impressive 2,500 people.

However, the mystical experience was not without its drawbacks. Many students expressed hesitation towards the event, citing the aroma that comes with the occasion. One student stated, “Between the heavy costumes and the energetic atmosphere, the DCC was soon filled with an electric mix of pungent aromas.” The smell of the event seemed to be a constant point that was brought up with another attendee stating that, “It was horrible smelling. No one bathed.” It was stated that it would be hard for one not to experience the rush of smells that were experienced when you entered the DCC. Another conventioneer, who has been to multiple cons, stated that “Compared to other cons, because I have been to a few, the staff is on par with how they should be handling things. The attendees are not always the best, especially young men who have not yet learned how to take care of their hygiene.”

Genericon, being an all-weekend event, has had problems with smell in the past. Organizers of the event stated that 11 bottles of Febreze total and one air freshener per room were purchased in order to combat the smell. However, as a fellow student put it, that budget may not be large enough to control the stench. With problems such as odor, there were many kids who were turned off by the event such as Colan Race ’14 who said he was “very glad [he] was not on campus for Genericon.” When asked about the event, another student went as far to say that Genericon was “an odd personal choice for an individual.” Genericon, being one of the largest student run events at the school, isn’t able to obtain the credit it may deserve and, as many students have reported, may be in part due to the aroma produced by Genericon.