Dang I'm tired, its about 1 am here and I got back from Origins at around 7. This was my second year going and I was only there Friday night through Sunday so I missed half of it. My first comment is that the convention shrunk from last year. No giant t-shirt tower store, no White Wolf (so I couldn't get Pimp: The Backhanding) and not even a Con-Games booth to make you visit and try out games. What the heck Origins? I've heard people talk of "It's because Wizards and Wiz Kids dropped out," which I can understand but there is a problem when a glue store comes in to fill the void of space. The bigger problem here though is the fact that there was no official Con-Games to make me try out the shit the people had. I played a few games but last year, I had to sit down and interact with the people. Sure we nerd are stereotypically anti-social but damn.
Still, I do enjoy dropping $70 to get a pass to "one of the biggest gaming convention in the world." Especially when the Swag bag is a cheap plastic sack (no art this year!) with just a Poke'Mon pencil, an ad for a free board game to the first five visitors to the booth (I got that!) and then ads and a newsletter. Last year we got tin D&D item cards, a squishy Gleemax brain and tons of other stuff all in a pretty and arty bag. I really feel like a I got my money's worth for that.
In all seriousness though, I come to the con because I love to game. I mainly came for Magic and damn do they have Magic. Nothing like walking through dozens of booths trying to sell your junky rares to get the sweet sweet high from another pack because you know with that next one you are bound to pull out that foil Bitterblossom with a Mutavault also in the pack. I went from the high of getting a really good box of Future Sight (at normal prices that I could have avoided with the right person) to the immense buyer's remorse of the next crap filled box that luckily I was able to empty of commons (by giving them to aforementioned right person who apparently runs a GenCon booth.) All the while, neither Future Sight box gave me a Sliver Legion (which I bought later.)
It's nice to see the nerding community coming together though from the 50 year old men playing Magic to the parents bringing their children in cosplay of Poke'Mon characters. The nerding community gets a bad rap for being a bunch of pale geeks who fawn over any attractive women that they can see. I personally find this to be an incorrect statement as my friend, no offense A., who was without his necessary glasses, was still saying "Damn, I wish I could see her ass more clearly." This was then rebuked by my "A., thats a guy." Back to Poke'Mon though for a sec and those hellspawn who play it. There are apparently parents who drive their kids around to these giant Poke'Mon tournaments. In my day, I had to wait till a holiday to even get money, let alone cards, let alone driving from Arkansas to Ohio to have little Billy McPikachu-lover get his ass kicked by a 40-year old man who would most likely return to his hotel room to talk to his teen friends who address him as Tina. Parents need to invest better in their children's futures. In a few years, these kids will be one of three things 1) kids who are in their teens in high school playing Poke'Mon, 2) kids who hate their overbearing parents 3) or most likely playing another card game since nobody is willing to pay $200 for a foil first edition Charizard. Do your kids a favor and buy them Magic. It's got staying power, street cred (between gamers) and staying power. No reason to resign Billy to a former small fortune of worthless paper when with the same investment, you can make them the buying targets of the convention salesmen for having a Pithing Needle.
Overall though, I've been getting cruel and distracted. I had fun at Origins. I played Morton's List which I'd suggest to every Jackie Any-teen out there tired of living bored in their small town/suburb/inner city. Other people can go play D&D Online for all I care and then write on the forums about how they want to be able to PK. Morton's List is essentially LARP without the RP and its more of Live Action Adventuring through the Meaningless Drudges of the Mortal Coil by Doing Random Crap. LAATMDMCDRC. Add a few ' and you have a name for an orc. I also entered a THG (Two-Headed Giant) tournament of Shadowmoor which was fun. My team came in 5th but got extra packs for helping the winning team. My only problem was the army of Billys and "Tinas" in the same hall as us being goaded on the ever present MC Lets-go-yell-to-annoy-people-with-a-respect-for-nerding. I will say though, I did get a rather amazing Kiki-Jiki statue for $10 (retail 55+) and a box of Saviors of Kamigawa for cheap (60-ish).
Overall, despite the Billys and Tinas in their clusterf*ck group, the missing stores and subsequent Glue Shoppe, the crappy swag sack, the card buying addiction and the general shrinking, Origins was good. I will admit though, I hope that GenCon does die. I'd really love to go to a bigger Origins next year. George Lucas, you have my support in killing them, but you still owe us for JarJar.