For those unaware, which is probably all of you, I’m going to explain the annual convention known as CONvergence. Every year, around 4th of July weekend, CONvergence takes over an entire hotel in suburban Minneapolis for four days. It is a gathering and celebration of geek pop culture – movies, books, comic books, TV, anime, board games, art, card games, video games, radio drama, and being a geek in general about anything. By day, there are speaker panels, movie and TV screenings, activities, all sorts of games, special events, and a shopping area. By night, there are party rooms, a dance floor, and cosplayers everywhere. This is the only place in the world where I can dress like Cyril Figgis from Archer, belly up to a steampunk-themed bar that serves free small drinks, and strike up a conversation with a Voldemort about Borderlands 2 and the coming NFL season.
What sets CONvergence apart from the likes of Comic-Con, Dragoncon, or PAX is that the event is a grassroots, community funded and organized not-for-profit four day geek bender of a great time. There are no movie studios or game developers there to hype their new stuff (there is one table where a rep from Twin Cities-based Fantasy Flight Games will show off some of their games for anyone who cares to ask them). There are no corporate sponsors. The speakers are there because someone managed to convince them it would be a good time, and the CONvergence organizers set aside funds to pay for their travel expenses. This year, I heard and met veteran Marvel and Dr. Who writer Paul Cornell, and Kevin Murphy, the voice of Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
What’s all this got to do with video games? Aside from the hours of gaming with strangers (a retro arcade console provided me many defeats and few victories in Street Fighter II and Marvel vs. Capcom), there were thousands of excellent video game cosplayers out and about. Here are some of the better ones, despite the iffy photography. If you’re wondering why WW2 Captain America shows up a couple times, that’s me.