asa vs. gencon


After going to ASA last weekend, I spent a few days at GenCon – the convention for board games, computer games, and role playing games. Yes, that makes me as an extremely nerdy guy, but I’m comfortable with my identity! Here are some comparisons; add your own in the comments.

  • ASA: People study socially marginal groups. GenCon: Convention is a socially marginal group.
  • ASA: People actively looking for jobs. GenCon: Some folks gave up on the job thing a long time ago…
  • ASA: People paid to discuss alternate identities. GenCon: People pay to be the alternate identity.
  • ASA: People often disappointed when they end up at the round tables. GenCon: People rush to make the round tables – and all panel proposals accepted!
  • ASA: People look at your name tag to see what school you are from. GenCon: People look at your tags to see which Amazonian kingdom you are from.
  • ASA: Strange people obssessed with probability distributions and esoteric tables. GenCon: Strange people obssessed with probability distributions and esoteric tables.
  • ASA: Your parents don’t understand what you do for a living. GenCon: Your parents don’t understand your hobby and they’ve given you a comic showing how role playing games lead to Satanism.
  • ASA: Special tour of the host city. GenCon: Special tour of the life size dungeon.

Bonus round: Northwestern sociologist Gary Alan Fine wrote a book on gamers called Shared Fantasy: Role Playing Games as Social Worlds. David Waldron discusses the D&D/Satan issue in Role-playing Games and the Christian Right: Community Formation in Response to a Moral Panic, published in The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

Written by fabiorojas

August 20, 2007 at 12:53 am

3 Responses

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  1. Awesome post Fabio! 8P

    Anyone interested in the convergence of gaming and sociology ought to read Gary Alan Fine’s “Shared Fantasy”, and excellent, if dated, ethnography and bit of social theorizing. I believe Ron Brieger has a copy that he’s usually willing to loan out.



    August 20, 2007 at 3:31 pm

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