Friday, December 2, 2011

GamerCamp Highlights

After that run of "retro-pictures", I'm ready to return to current reports of our family's gaming life.

On Sunday, November 27, I attended GamerCamp. This event was very different from the conferences I'm used to attending. I wasn't even 100% sure I was going to go at all. I had an all-day Ontario School Library Association council meeting on Saturday and I really didn't want to be away from my husband and children all weekend. I think it was my fear of being a fraud that forced me to show up - one of my deepest concerns is that I'm not as "good" or knowledgeable as people think I am and I never want to be seen as a poseur. I felt like if I want to delve into gaming seriously, I needed to visit things like this. (Heck, I'm still not confident that I count as a gamer myself, but that's another post for another day.)

My perfect Blokus board (I think I was yellow)
It took me a while to figure out how to enter George Brown College and after paying my entrance fee, I wandered around pretty hesitantly. My peanut allergy prevented me from chowing down at the 8-Bit Cereal Breakfast. I popped in and out of several rooms, quietly observing. I kept returning to the Snakes and Lattes Cafe where board games were spread out for people to try but I was a bit shy about jumping in. (This may surprise people who know me as quite the social extrovert but it was a new experience.) Once some of the Snakes and Lattes folks invited me to play, I settled down and started to really enjoy myself. I played Blokus twice and actually used up all my pieces to win the first round! I took a photo of my winning board. The winner of my second round of Blokus also took a photo of the board when *she* won. I thought I was the only person who did things like that! We also played Anomia and Spot On too. That was a lot of fun.
Playing Spot On - I think that's what it was called

I didn't get to check out any of the talks because I was in the middle of a board game when they were on. The board game room inspired me to do some Christmas shopping but before I left on my retail mission, I decided to attend a session called - I wasn't really clear what it was about but I'm so glad I stayed for it. It was run by a guy who, unbeknownst to me, is one of the people working with my children on the Ryerson University / Privacy Commission of Canada video game project. When I gave him my business card so that maybe we could talk about making an article for the magazine I help run, he said "You're M & P's mom, aren't you?" Ten of us came to play. It was like a live-action role-playing game (although I've never LARPed before, so that's just a guess on my part). We were scientists in Antarctica who were stranded at our base. The parts for the radio for contact with the outside world were strewn beyond our base walls and two "things" were present - they looked like us but they were contaminated and did not want the outside world to come to our aid. The goal of the scientists was to find 12 of the 20 radio parts and bring them back to base without getting infected by the things. The things were trying to infect as many of us as they could and destroy/hide any radio parts they found. There were Nerf guns with "serum" that we could use to neutralize the things only if we shot them in the chest.

The "1-Up Cake" - yummy!
This is how a quiet, shy teacher who knew no one but Jamie Woo, the organizer of GamerCamp, transformed into an intense scientist packing Nerf heat, chasing someone I had just met through the halls of George Brown college, yelling at the top of my lungs "TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND! I KNOW YOU'RE THE THING! PERRY'S THE THING!" Unfortunately, I got tricked. My scientist partner Harold and I were tracking Sandy, the other "thing" when she ran into the women's washroom. Another guy was following Sandy too and he bemoaned the fact that he couldn't follow her in. Since I was the only other female, I volunteered to go in after her. When I turned around to enter the bathroom, I got the tap on my back saying "you're infected" (in the game, you could be infected only if tapped from behind, either directly from a thing or from someone infected by the thing). The game was a lot of fun and when it was done, I was quivering with adrenaline. I wolfed down some cake, even though the servers didn't want me to eat because of my nut allergy, and then went shopping at 401 Games and Snakes and Lattes for board game gifts.

I'm really glad I attended. It was a lot of fun. Big thanks go to all the organizers of GamerCamp

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