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C2E2 CHICAGO ENTERTAINMENT EXPO -- A Drifter at the Dragshow

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>The C2E2 Comic and Entertainment Convention opened with several men with Jedi cloaks, Green Lizard-Hair, and hammers walking through the gates. To the average Chicago streetwalker, it must have looked like some drunken Venetian Carnival or overgrown Halloween troop, on their way to reenact “whatever it is those people do”. But to some of these Elves, this was as important as Mardis Gras or the AFC Championship.

These people were some of the higher up on the social ladder they were trying to climb. They wear their status symbols much different from those of the elite society; they showed their passion in their clothing, and soon they would get recognition for it beyond what the street walkers could imagine.

I myself began wondering what the Hell I was doing on a Friday morning following these costumed gypsies. The convention was advertised Comics and Entertainment, with the comics emphasized. Very rarely did hardcore gamers dress in cosplay, but the Cosplay and Comic Junkies often mingled with the game development crowd. The Jedis and Jokers eyed me nervously, unable to categorize myself as a citizen from the outside or a fanboy from the inside. I looked like I didn’t belong in either. I probably didn’t.

I retrieved my very first press badge and cut in front of the people who had been planning for weeks for this event. I felt thrown into an ocean of passion and color. How on Earth could I cover an event taking place in a castle of panels, fans, and ontop of everything, there were game developers I needed to contact. Whatever this magical Press Pass did on my neck, I was able to get in early during “Professional Only” hours and get what little bearings I could before the sea of monsters and elves trotted through the gates.

I began by touring around the vendor floor, a 200 square foot circus known as “The Block”. These people were setting up for the big spending crowd, the ones who were willing to spend weeks planning their costumes and would need more pieces for future conventions. I wondered if it was taboo to wear the same costume twice, similar to ballgowns and suits and ties. I figured both high end rollers and ladder climbers spent about the same on their top tier attire.

What was interesting about the vendor section was how little cheap plastic shit was being panhandled to the public. Most fanboys and nerds specialize in being very intimate with detail, and I could only imagine the fights that would break down if a vendor was caught trying to sell a knight or samurai the wrong sword. They would probably unsheeth some sort of replica of Aragorn’s Anduril or General Cromwell’s rapier and blow the cheap bastard’s head to the red carpet in one shift motion. Good, I thought, the nerds have scared the hungry vultures of Capitalism into submission.

There were still some vendors who took pride in plastering on a cheap superhero logo to a black shirt and selling it for 30 bucks. I might have been an outsider to the comic crowd, but I couldn’t imagine a Spiderman fan buying cheap red paint in the formation of a web on a Wal-Mart tee. Still someone had to provide a service for the spendthrift children.

Next I meandered to the comic section, where mostly obese men piled many office boxes of comics onto generic tables. They had much less emphasis on the glamour of it all; they knew they could hook in a specific crowd of con-goers by scribbling “RARE” or “GOLDEN AGE COMICS” in Sharpie on the side of a shoe box.

This was a primary psychological difference between the comic and video game crowd. Collection and hoarding were two traps to lure in potential customers that I had not ever witnessed at gaming conventions. Usually, gamers are interested in upcoming titles and flashy new things. I witnessed so many people leafing viscously through 20 year old comics in search of something to laminate and put in their basement. It was the mentality of a car collector, an obsession that owning these comics added definition to their lives and a level of prestige that only they could achieve.

And whatever allowed them to hook onto this drug, I wanted some. I remembered the easy days where sitting in certain games, even after I was done, made me feel transported and gave me purpose. Now that I’ve long since put down MMOs and other gateway drugs, I could see how mad we all look from the outside. Men pushing women dressed as Harley Quinn out of the way in order to get to some back issue first. Rows and rows of price comparison sheets and customers quickly checking their phone before dropping hundreds of dollars on just a few old comics, all which art and story quality was dwarfed by some recent masterpiece. It was like collecting Picasso’s notebook drawings as a 13 year old, and in that sense, I’m sure it had mystical power that I had yet to tap into.

Covering gaming at the C2E2 was like farming through a hoard of pigs for a vein of silver. After shoving my way through all the Cosplays and Stormtroopers, I found the game devs at one round table in the middle of literally hundreds, a shrine of about 8 game companies testing out their products to anyone who looked remotely interested.

Out of a crowd with about 70 percent comic book fans, 10 percent Cosplay fans, 5 percent tabletop games, I must’ve looked strange introducing myself as Press dedicated to the gaming aspect of the C2E2. Some even seemed skeptical of a 19 year old kid waltzing up the booth and requesting information about their company, promising a future mention of their game and an article highlighting local Chicago devs.

Overall, there were some pretty polished games at the table. Although they questioned my press badge, they showed me as much attention for the time I could give each of them. This fervor and dedication to the press told me that these folks had spent countless hours creating their work, and for many, it was their first game showed to the public. Unlike the other vendors, I felt a real sense of straight-forwardness. It was the first time I could actually bring something to the table to help out game developers that I felt immediate admiration for. In the end, I thought that the amount of traffic I would get to my reviews probably sounded grander than what the result would be. But why ruin everyone’s train of excitement?
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### The next article: C2E2 – Medley of Games: descriptions of released Steam games and the companies that made them.

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    > **Posted by Rafael De Jongh**

    > > **Posted by Kosai106**
    > >
    > > I have no idea why bit.ly is doing that. I tried to fix it but nothing works.
    >
    > Why not just link directly to this article from the front page instead using the bit.ly link?

    We want to use bitly to keep track of the traffic.
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    > **Posted by Kosai106**
    >
    > I have no idea why bit.ly is doing that. I tried to fix it but nothing works.

    Why not just link directly to this article from the front page instead using the bit.ly link?
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    > **Posted by Rafael De Jongh**

    > You might want to change the front page link as it's giving an error: http://bitly.com/a/warning?url=http%3a%2f%2fgamebanana%2ecom%2farticles%2f27&hash=10aziRQ

    I have no idea why bit.ly is doing that. I tried to fix it but nothing works.
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    You might want to change the front page link as it's giving an error: http://bitly.com/a/warning?url=http%3a%2f%2fgamebanana%2ecom%2farticles%2f27&hash=10aziRQ

    Going to read it with ease tomorrow!
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    Great article, but I'd some pictures (if you have any from the trip) to break in between the paragraphs. Everyone likes a few pictures :D
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