DragonCon 2017: A Nerd Party for the Ages

DragonCon is a truly unique convention experience. It seems that people either love it or hate it, and those who love it can’t stand most other “corporate” conventions. And it’s easy to see why. The programming is limited (although this year boasted some incredible Cassini panels), with most people spending their time walking about the expansive convention space, which spans three hotels, an odd shopping center, and a food court. 

Where conventions like San Diego Comic Con are rigid, with specific lines, strict regulations about how many people can be in any one space, fire marshals forcing people away from the walls (seriously, why can’t you ever sit along a wall?), and general security restrictions, DragonCon is quite the opposite.

It’s like a frat party for nerds. Chaos ensues, everyone is smiling, and almost everyone is completely drunk. Constantly. There are dance parties, cosplay meet-ups, a parade, and screenings of beloved movies and shows. There’s even an entire gaming section with tabletop games, console games and tournaments, and a Japanese arcade. The vendors section, although located a hefty walk from the majority of the con, was filled with amazing items, from clothing to posters to pins. And it was all without the insanity that often surrounds exhibit floors. 

This con certainly excels for cosplay, as there is plenty of space for meet-ups and extravagant designs. One contestant in the masquerade had a working mech suit from Overwatch. And the now-famous “deal with it” Lady Olenna was born here. 

I don’t know what I was expecting from DragonCon, but it wasn’t this. It was chaotic and overwhelming and unbelievably fun. I spent a night in the gaming hall until around 3 in the morning, first playing console games and then moving on to Japanese arcade games. All after having been kicked out earlier in the day for hogging a PS4 for too long. 

It was fun to be surrounded by nerds and feel welcomed. You’re constantly following one person or another to some random location or hotel room where more fun and festivities are occurring, and pizza and beer are being consumed. The masquerade could be viewed in person or from the live broadcast throughout all the hotel rooms. You literally cannot escape the con. But that just makes for a more immersive and insane (have I described it as such yet?) experience. 

I’d say, if you can get yourself out to Atlanta, Georgia, like being surrounded by hoards of intoxicated nerds, and want to hear all about the various locations around the city that have been used for filming various movies, give DragonCon a shot. But be warned, it will be unlike any convention you’ve been to before or are likely to attend after. If you do go, you’ll probably walk away with some new nerd friends, and a whole lot of… interesting stories.