November 7th through the 9th saw DSU hosting one of the largest gaming conventions in the state of South Dakota, Nanocon. For twelve years, the Gaming Club has hosted this convention, bringing speakers from across the country, venders from the local area, and nearly 24/7 gaming.
The Workshop on Integrated Design in Gaming (IDiG) is a more recent addition to Nanocon, focusing on a central theme essential to game design. This year’s IDiG had a theme of audio production. Many of the speakers focused on how audio, particularly music, helps to create atmosphere and improve games. One of the most notable speakers was Darren Korb of Supergiant Games, who was the lead audio for games such as Bastion and Transistor. He spent nearly and hour talking about working at a small game studio and how he got into the industry. Several other speakers talked, largely professors of DSU, including two interactive workshops in which attendees could learn about music composition and sound effects for video games.
One of the most interesting facts about Nanocon is that it is completely student run. Some of DSU’s most passionate gamers took the stage, spending hours arranging and hosting everything from board games to giant, conference-long roleplaying campaigns. However, it was not all fun and games for DSU’s gamers. Many of them spent hours volunteering at concessions to make sure that, every attendee at Nanocon was gastronomically satisfied (for a price of course).
Several faculty members also lent use of their talents hosting workshops and helping students network better with some of the esteemed celebrity guests that attended Nanocon this year.
For those with fatter wallets, a wide variety of vendors showed up to peddle their game and pop-culture related paraphernalia. From Sonic Screwdrivers to Plush Pokemons, every pop-culture fandom was represented amongst the vendors’ target audience. It was refreshing to be able to purchase items with such a focused audience in small town Madison.
Nanocon also presented senior and junior game design majors the perfect opportunity to both show off and test their yearly game projects that they have been working so hard on. Having the opportunity to test out some never-before-seen video games was also undoubtedly fun for all those involved and it was definitely a win-win situation.
A charity raffle draw was also held which managed to raise $440 for good causes proving that video games can definitely be used to champion higher causes.
All in all, Nanocon XII was an overwhelming success. The Trojan Times recommends everyone in DSU to attend the conference next year. Even if you are not a particularly huge fan of gaming, chances are you will find something in Nanocon to change your mind.