“A sense of convention.”
As we made our steep journey back to the Burdett Avenue Residence Hall after attending the first wave of Genericon, I asked Tiffany what her favorite part of the night had been. Interestingly, her answer didn’t involve some specific panel or encounter, but an all-encompassing sensation that she could only describe as that of “convention.” Tiffany, a seasoned con-goer, was a stark contrast to me, a first-time attendee. Acting as my guide, she walked me through the three-day experience, helping me to understand this “sense of convention” for myself.
This past weekend, Genericon XXIX brought out the nerdy and creative side of the the Rensselaer and Troy community. For an uninterrupted 48 hours, there was always some form of entertainment, ranging from board game tournaments, to anime screenings, to costume competitions.
The amount of options were overwhelming at first; when presented with the lengthy pocket schedule, Tiffany and I could hardly decide where to begin. There was a wide selection of events; something there suited for each attendee’s taste. Are you a fan of anime? Watch the popular anime movies and TV series that play non-stop. Video game addict? Test your skills in a tournament. All about card collecting? Compare and compete with other collectors. Whatever you’re interested in, Genericon has got something for you.
We dabbled in a bit of everything, trying to attend as many events as possible. Going to cosplay panels, manga libraries, AMV competitions, concerts, Deathmatches, and more, we didn’t waste a single minute. In between all the entertainment, we spent our time cleaning out our wallets—with all the merchandise and delicious food in the Artist’s Alley and Vendor Halls, it was an inevitable fate. From meeting cosplayers of our favorite characters to sharing heart-touching moments like listening to a father perform a duet with his autistic seven-year-old daughter, our Genericon weekend was filled with fun and lasting memories.
The most important aspect of Genericon, above all the events and excitement, was the people—conventions are only as good as the people who attend them. During any lulls between events, con-goers would be chatting, taking pictures, and acting out scenes. It’s a rare thing to see strangers so readily connect, but that’s one of the unique capabilities that this kind of convention has. In this environment, the barriers that normally prevent strangers from interacting disappear, and everyone is seemingly drawn together by an unsaid bond of nerdom.
Only after experiencing the full weekend did I understand what Tiffany meant when by “sense of convention.” It was the combination of these fundamental elements that Genericon had—the range of events and people—that created an unmistakable feeling. The “sense of convention” is a sense of belonging; it’s the sensation of being a part of something, knowing that you’re surrounded by fellow fans, and feeling free to embrace your nerdiness. Genericon presents people with the opportunity to experience a sense of community in which you don’t need to tamp down your nerdy ways, but are instead encouraged to share them.
With the Closing Ceremonies, Tiffany and I, along with all the other attendees, were forced to bid Genericon farewell. All of us eagerly await its return, knowing that it will bring with it that “sense of convention” we all crave.
Special thanks to all the staff, artists, vendors, and panelists that made Genericon XXIX possible. For all the hard work you put into this convention, we thank you. Congratulations on the largest Genericon to date.