Shoemaker: Please tell me your name and how many Gen Con's you've attended.
Doerner: My name is Kimberly Doerner, and I have been to I thiiink 8 GenCon's now. I'm kinda bad at keeping track, but I love it so much I pretend I've been going forever.
Shoemaker: As someone who has started attending more recently, what made you come to Gen Con?
Doerner: I actually ended up attending through work- brought in as an exhibitor in entrepreneurs ally, and to host some late night events. I was very excited at the prospect though- one of my first jobs was painting miniatures! I love gaming, and used to spend every weekend at a local shop called Sci-Fi City playing D&D with friends. We were there open to close!
Shoemaker: Do you have a favorite Gen Con, why?
Doerner: Again, a little bad at telling them apart sometimes, but if I had to pick one I would say about three years ago? I actually got some time in between working the exhibit hall hours and my events- AND GOT TO PLAY A GAME!
Shoemaker: Have you noticed much change in cosplay and fandom activities in the time you have been attending Gen Con?
Doerner: The first year we were there, other than the cosplayers that came with me for our company I could count the cosplayers on my fingers.. no toes! I was really surprised! Cosplay has definitely grown exponentially in the amount of time I've been attending. I think its great that GenCon can be inclusive of some of the outlying fandoms while still wrapping it into gaming.
Shoemaker: The cosplay and fandom events at Gen Con are a newer aspect of the convention. What is your perception of how those events are received by con-goers as someone who’s business is promoting those areas?
Doerner: It's interesting, actually. So many people love the creativity, and enjoy seeing the cosplay and some fandom events, but there are of course the uhh 'purists' of GenCon who had their feathers ruffled a bit by it. I will even confess (as a cosplayer myself) when you are trying to get somewhere quickly and there's cosplayers taking pictures in the hall or exhibit aisles it makes your blood boil sometimes! So I understand why some people are bothered by the fandom developing a little more. I think its important that GenCon treads the fandom line carefully- its a gaming show, and the focus should always be on that, ultimately.
Shoemaker: Do you attend other conventions for cosplay and fandom?
Doerner: I do! I have been attending anime, gaming, and fandom events since 1999, which in most circles is a real long time. GenCon its not that impressive, though. I have attended conventions internationally, and of all sizes! 300 people, or 150,000 people, they all have something special to share and experience.
Shoemaker: What do you find different about Gen Con compared to those other conventions?
Doerner: Well, for one, the paid/reserved events! The event registration system is amazing. I love it. I love the concept of the tickets, of generics, of how it all works. I love that there's no "wait 8 hours in line to get a ticket to wait 8 more hours in a line later to get a bad seat in a panel" at GenCon. I love that they require a badge to get a hotel room. I love that the attendance is gamers- cause you know what gamers do? they follow rules! There's not a single other con I go to where everyone says "excuse me" and "please" and "thank you" I love GenCon, its my favorite show of the year- even if its the one I have the longest work hours at.
Shoemaker: What kinds of games/events do you tend to play and/or run?
Doerner: While back in the day I was a D&D fanatic, I love how far and how creative board games have come. I love to try and sneak around the hall on my lunch and demo indy games- I fell in love with Iron & Ale for instance, by Table Forged. As far as hosting? We do late nights- Dub that Hentai with physical challenges, and Sex Lies & Mummy Rot (an adult rules RPG system) are our games. We also throw a party every year nearby the con. If you wanna live it up until 3AM.. I'm your DM!
Shoemaker: Do you have a favorite event, why?
Doerner: Can I say my own? Cause it's my own, of course. Dub That Hentai is a riot! I love it! It's so high energy, the crowd gets really into it, and I just love how everyone reacts to it. If I can't pick my own? The auction. I always TRY to get into at least a little of TOVA, but I always check out the auction store.
Shoemaker: Any thoughts on how Gen Con should progress in the future?
Doerner: I really think they have it down, and are on the right track. I know that every time someone asks about the future of GenCon they mention moving somewhere- but I think it should stay in Indy. It's a beautiful city, with so many options for food, lodging, and entertainment.