The Negative Space (w/ Dave Ward) – issue #12: The Dragon*Con I Used to Know

Greetings Nerds!  Prepare to get your collective undies in a bunch, because I am about to unleash a bit of negativity on seemingly everyone’s favorite convention, Dragon*Con!

official Dragon*Con logo

Now for starters, I used to attend Dragon*Con every single year; it was my Mecca, my annual “Utopian Trek” if you will. I was a loyalist, and never missed a year for over a decade.  Coming down to Atlanta, GA and not worrying about anything except how much fun you could pack into 96 hours was what it was all about.  It was still large, even back then, but you could also socialize and walk without worrying if you could breathe, were going to get run over, or get a nose full of god knows what mutation.

Slowly over the years, being a nerd developed into the new popular thing; now we have people that are only a fan of one specific piece of fandom attending and turning their noses up at the other attendees, or you have the people that come just to party with nerds and have no real reason for being there, aside from trying to pick up a date and/or someone to hook up with. I guess if that’s what you’re into, then whatever, but that’s just not the Dragon I remember.

Fairly typical Friday crowd at Dragon*Con

Instead of dealing with these (mostly overcrowding) issues, the convention just keeps expanding. From 2 hotels, to 3 hotels, to nowadays (I believe it’s) 6 hotels, the GA. Aquarium,  AND putting the vendors in this cramped mall-type area called the America’s mart, which may as well be a cattle pen for what little space there is to move.  I could be wrong, but I just don’t see how vendors make anything, particularly with such insanely high booth prices. This leads to whatever hotel space is left, now you end up fighting with people down there for football, or something else Atlanta has stupidly planned for the same weekend.

If you’ve ever been to Dragon*Con… you know this view very well.
and even more crowds

Yes, lets all look at the location..  Downtown Atlanta, Georgia on Labor Day weekend.  You’re in the south, it stays hot as hell down here until sometime in October, and you keep expanding a convention where someone in 12 pounds of cosplay outfit and makeup nearly dies from heat exhaustion getting from one part of the con to another; the so-called transportation the convention provides is subject to the rest of the congestion the city has, so you have the choice of dying of heat exhaustion walking, or missing what you wanted to do waiting for a shuttle bus or sitting in traffic in a cab.

The people down for other events staying in the same location(s) as the convention is also an abysmal move.  Since this has started, there are always clashes with the con attendees, and the lower I.Q. football fans that decide mocking and other more atrocious acts of behavior towards us are funny.  I’ve witnessed Vikings tearing off after football people that thought it was cute to spit on con people from the 6th floor… but I digress.

Quite simply, until this convention either suffers the inevitable implosion of the neo-nerd revolution finally coming to a fiery end, or they move to a more suitable location, it will continue to be this giant, jam-packed, overcrowded mess.  But there is some hope:  Go to ConNooga, Con Carolinas, X-Con Myrtle Beach, Mad Monster Party, Days of the Dead (all of which are local to me, but there are cons like this in other respective areas as well) or ANY other more regional convention that’s actually worth its salt. Trust me, you will have just as much fun, and all of these events combined including lodging, eating, etc.. you will still not spend as much money as you would trying to fight the cluster that is Dragon*Con.

Or, keep going to Dragon*Con. Really, it’s up to you. With a reported attendance of 70,000 this year, they must still be doing something right… but in my opinion, they’re just not the con I used to know and love… and I’m sure there are many out there that would agree.

This is Dave Ward and you have just warped through the Negative Space.

Agree? Disagree? Wanna just yell at me, and/or tell me I’m a terrible writer, and/or tell me you hope I die in a fire or something like that? Sound off in the comments section below and make your voice heard!


-Dave Ward
Columnist: Nerd Nation Magazine


Please Note: the views and opinions expressed by Mr. Ward are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Nerd Nation Magazine, our sponsors, or anyone else, for that matter. This is an opinion column, and is intended for entertainment purposes only, so please don’t be a d-bag and try to sue anyone over the stuff he writes. If it offends and/or infuriates, we encourage you to simply go read something else… preferably right here at Nerd Nation!

1 Comment

  1. There’s no asterisk in the name since two years ago. Also America’s Mart is huge and this year they used the space much better than in years past. Also you seem to be unaware of our public transport which actually serves Dragon Con pretty well. In my opinion, the worst part of the con is the complainers and the worst complainers are the back-in-the-day complainers and of that batch, the worst ones are the ones that don’t even attend the con.



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