Margaret’s Intro and Running GAGG Overview
Hey all! Margaret here! Just giving you folks a taste of what kind of posts you can expect from me. I’ve just finished my coursework for an English Master’s program, so I am very fond of things like literary theory, feminism, and video game theory and criticism. You’ll probably see things like in-depth essays on various games I particularly enjoy. Coming up in the near future, I will be posting an entire essay on Silent Hill 2, the function of guilt, and Doppelgangers in three or four parts for easier reading. I am also leaning toward developing another essay reviewing Final Fantasy 7 through a Lovecraftian perspective. My next few slightly shorter posts will include an exclusive look at Katie Tiedrich (Awkward Zombie) and her visit to SUNY Geneseo’s annual convention, Running GAGG. There will also be a review of the playability (and fun!) of one of Windmill Games’ creations, ADGNEPSEF555 (Advanced Dimensional Green Ninja Educational Preparatory Super Elementary Fortress 555– The Grade School in the Suburbs Near the City at the Center of the Anime Multiverse). You can also expect reviews of Kevin Kreiner’s LARPs including The Victim’s Ball 1-3, Bedlam Carcosa, and his newest game, Walking Blues.
Right now I want to give you guys an idea of who I am and how I came to know and love my fellow Rogue Princesses. As an undergrad, I was a member of the Geneseo Anime Club and the Geneseo Area Gaming Group (GAGG). Though I still enjoy anime, I truly gravitated toward GAGG. GAGG is like a second home, and everyone is made to feel welcome there. When you meet new people at GAGG– during regular club hours, mini-con, or Running GAGG– you make lasting bonds with other gamers. I served at the GAGG Secretary for one year. To this day, I’ve kept in contact with dozens of people I’ve met through GAGG: students, alumni, and friends of friends of friends of friends (etc) who’ve come along for the ride.
Running GAGG gave me some wonderful friends. I met my friend Brian while I was still a student during my first ever LARP. It was a Vampire: The Masquerade LARP with, of course, a lot of Malkavians. Through Brian, I met Kevin, mentioned above; these people brought me together with a bunch of gamers in the Binghamton area, and I reunited with one of the first friends I ever met at Geneseo– congrats again on your engagement, Dan!!
Running GAGG is where I met Angela and Alana as well; Lisa and I went to Geneseo together. We were both GAGGites, but we also knew each other from our days in the Japanese Culture Club and Japanese classes with Professor Tewksbury (Yamagishi-sensei). Many of the older GAGG members who’ve married bring their spouses and even their children. We have Christmas parties together and trade homemade gifts. When I say that GAGG is like a second family, a second home, I truly mean it. We’ve been together for years, and we’re always expanding to welcome in newcomers. I’ve gone to our convention now for about seven or eight years, and there is no power in the ‘Verse that can stop me from attending– not even super snow storms with names and flying off the highway at 55 mph into a ditch. When I finally got there this year after crashing my car in the snow, waiting in tow trucks and car shops, staying with friends nearby who were also going to the con, there were so many people who came to give me a hug and tell me they were happy to see me. After a rough week of illness, breakups, and nearly dying, GAGG made up for every second of every bad thing.
Running GAGG has much to offer despite its size. The registration desk is very organized, so it is hardly any trouble to get your badge, and a full weekend badge is very inexpensive for non-students. Our vendors, specifically Boldo’s Armory, are staples in the student union ballroom. In recent years, we’ve attracted some excellent guests including Katie Tiedrich from Awkward Zombie (accompanied by Norrin– both were very fun to speak with and hang out), Joey Comeau from A Softer World (he read parts of Overqualified and kept the room laughing, and plenty of others. Jeff Hannes’ Dramatic Roleplaying Tournament is also an important tradition; my friend Ryan (we call him RIG) won it last year. We also offer a Magic: The Gathering tournament, Warhammer, and… most importantly… our Charity Auction for Ronald McDonald House Charity. This year at Running GAGG XVII: A Con You Can’t Refuse, we auctioned off games, squishable toys, action figures, books, and even a box of donuts that fetched sixty dollars. The spirit of giving is very much alive.
Another thing you must know about the con is that instead of using our regular mascot to represent the con (go Ice Knights hockey!), we use squirrels. We use differently themed squirrels each year; this year we had gangster squirrels. We’ve also had zombie squirrels, Matrix squirrels, Roman squirrels, and so on. If you’ve been to Geneseo, you’ve figured out why we may have picked the squirrel; there is clearly a war going on between the big, fat, bold squirrels and the feral cats around here. These fluffy, crafty, majestic squirrels are all over campus, and they are definitely the best mascot.
It was here, right here at Running GAGG, where I met so many excellent people who have shaped my gaming experience; they are awesome friends and they have changed my life for the better. I hope this convention continues to bring people together, carry on our traditions and start brand new ones. Running GAGG is where I discovered LARPs, the Dramatic Roleplaying Tournament, Savage Worlds, Settlers of Catan, Dread, and people with hearts as big as their love of gaming.
Margaret out. More next time! Katie Tiedrich post is waiting in the wings.