A Very Geeky Time at Geek.Kon
Geek.Kon is a unique convention, consisting of three full days of geeky fun and nerd entertainment. And that's exactly what the Geek.Kon staff members want you to think. Instead of focusing on or favoring any one genre of geek media, Geek.Kon is a general 'geek' convention combining elements from the worlds of anime, gaming, and science-fiction.
2009 also brought a significant change for Geek.Kon, which was held for the first time ever in the Sheraton Madison in Madison, WI, a marked difference from its previous location at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
This was also the first year Geek.Kon charged for admission, starting with a trivial weekend admission price of just $25 at the door. The negligible admission price did little to discourage attendance, as the convention brought together 1036 attendees, showing a consistent fan loyalty in the convention's third year.
The first Geek.Kon outside of its previous home stayed true to the very geek nature of the convention, as the convention featured musical guests, artists, game designers, voice actors, and writers. Several panels and events were run by the group Steam Century, including games, mystery events, and roleplaying within the increasingly popular fiction genre of steampunk. Steampunk was prominent throughout the weekend, with dozens of steampunk-themed costumes, steampunk vendors and artists, and even a steampunk fashion show.
Other panels ranged from a discussion of the Shadowrun world (a pen-and-paper RPG), through Geek Jeopardy. There was also a "Geek Show" in which attendees would show off some of their best geekiness.
Geek.Kon also prominently featured a large video gaming room, with dozens of consoles covering all decades from NES through XBox 360. The convention also featured a separate, equally large room dedicated to board games and card games, which often seemed even more popular than the video game room. Dominion, a new card game from Rio Grande Games, was among the most popular games: adding a twist to the normal idea of a card game.
"It's usually hard to get people in to play these games, it's nice to see," said one staff member in the board gaming room (we are bad at remembering names, we will improve!).
For musical entertainment, Geek.Kon featured both Fermata, a folk/acoustic band inspired by fairytales and steampunk, and The Spoony Bards, a spontaneous group performing everything from Beck to Final Fantasy. There was also a 'mixer' featuring three DJs, although it seemed like few attendees were displaced from the gaming and video rooms for most of the night.
While there was little crowding of the dance, it was easy to feel a little congested in the convention dealer room on Saturday. However, this is understandable whenever something turns out to be popular and well attended, and it did not occur enough to detract from the merit of the convention.
In short, Geek.Kon was a well-blended convention of many flavors. No specific aspect of geekiness was underrepresented, and they brought together hundreds of fans of various genres together for a weekend of fun. Despite some slight crowding in some events, and not enough at others, the weekend was, as stated on the Geek.Kon website, "a smashing success."