The ninth annual Nanocon, a gaming convention hosted by the Dakota State gaming club, proved to be the biggest yet this past weekend.
On a blustery weekend, 436 attendants, a record number and surpassing the expected target of 350, scurried into the Dakota Prairie Playhouse to take shelter and take part in games of all types. Some of these included board games ranging from classics like chess to new games such as Game of Thrones, a game that focuses on strategy warfare.
There were also card games. These ranged from relatively simple games such as Apples to Apples to more complex games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Two Magic the Gathering tournaments, the Innistrad Sealed and the Innistrad Booster, were held. The results from these two tournaments were not available as of press time.
Of course, no gaming convention was complete if there were an absence of video games. Attendees enjoyed the family-friendly games such as Pokémon Black and White to the more mature titles such as Halo: Combat Evolved and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Like Magic the Gathering, attendees also took part in a Pokémon tournament.
Not everything from Nanocon was related to playing games. Saturday provided a slew of guest speakers throughout the day. Robert Balder, the creator of the web comic Erfworld, was the keynote speaker. Balder spoke about choosing to become an independent creator as a career. Other speakers included Elyze Rozelle, who spoke about the difficulty in creating female characters in video games, and Bernard Perron, who spoke about the interactive structure of survival horror games.
Despite the number of speakers, one student perceived a lack of enthusiasm among attendees stopping by to hear them.
Paul Schipper, who provided the sound setup for Nanocon, expressed his displeasure at the lack of enthusiasm for the speakers, stating, ”I was disappointed at the lack of turnout at the guest speakers’ conferences. When you have somebody that’s big in the gaming world, you should be excited about seeing them.”
While Nanocon was primarily a gaming event, even non-gamers were surprised at how much they enjoyed themselves.
“I talked to a lot of people. I had more fun than I thought I was going to have,” student Tawny Jones said.
If future Nanocons can continue to pull in gamers and non-gamers such as Jones alike, it will be interesting to see how big it can get.