Boldly going where every nerd has gone before

By Tiffanie Reynolds |

Looking over a table filled with plush Companion Cubes and Portal 2, Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead shirts, two other girls and I gasped as the vendor slid a plush space core into a cardboard box. “Sorry,” he said, looking over at us with an amused smirk, “this won’t be on sale for another couple months.” As if on cue, the three of us “aw”ed in disappointment—even our shoulders slumped at the same time—and the two girls left while I stayed, deciding between buying the Portal 2 shirt I held in my hand or the one featuring Left 4 Dead on the other end of the table.

A few tables away, a chorus of “Yeah” and high-fives erupted from behind a flat-screen TV; the victory melody of a video game humming over the general noise of the crowd. Behind me, a Doctor Who looked over comics filed in crates on a table, while a Darth Vader squeezed his way past me and into the flow of the crowd. It was in that moment that I fell in love with Megacon.

Granted, I wasn’t completely enthusiastic at first. I’ve always heard about Megacon, but it wasn’t until my dad and my sister wanted to go this year that I really looked into it. And with my mom offering to buy my ticket, as well as some of my friends attending, I thought I’d give it a try.

If you think about it, I’m the perfect person to go. I’ve always been a geek/nerd. I grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars, loved science and wanted to be an astronaut, until I realized how much math was involved and how prone I am to motion sickness. And other friends have gushed about it to me before, but none really covered the complexity and breath that is Megacon, as no one person really could.

I got my first hint of the “mega” before I even got to the convention. Starting a half-mile before the convention center, lit up construction signs stood by the side of the road, flashing, “Megacon Parking,” with a huge arrow pointing the way. After the car was parked, I had to stand in line for a bus to take us to the building the convention was held.

But, walking into the lobby, I immediately knew that it was all worth it. Underneath the huge green and yellow banner, people dressed as characters from almost every sci-fi, anime, comic book and video game lined up to get tickets, and I recognized most of them. Inside the exhibit area, R2-D2s and stormtroopers, among other characters, roamed the isles, and it wasn’t long before I found the area designated just for playing video games.

What I appreciated most, though, wasn’t just what the convention offered, but the company it kept. Sure, there was the handful of obnoxious fans and stuck-up nerds, but I was surprised to find how much of the crowd was nice to each other and shared in the enthusiasm, which was already infectious. It was just cool to hang out with people that share my passions; not to be the only one to jump in excitement over the sight of a TARDIS. It was cool to see a full room when talking about how to write great characters. It left me to wonder why it took me so long to attend in the first place. But, I can answer this. I will definitely be going next year, cosplaying as Kaylee from Firefly.

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