Conventional stereotypical remarks about geeks are overdone, monotonous and, frankly, a bit dry. Conventions involving geeks, for geeks, and for those unfamiliar to the realm of geekiness, however, escape these rigid, exhausted stereotypes.
The 15th No Such Convention, held by No Such Organization, will take place in the College Center from Friday, Feb. 19 to Sunday, Feb. 21. Held annually, No Such Convention, also referred to as NSCon, is a three-day, family-friendly fan convention accessible to the greater Hudson Valley region. The convention will include panels, workshops, performances, activities, cosplay, live-action roleplay and screenings. This year, the convention is titled “Monsters & Mayhem”, and openly invites anyone who would like to base a cosplay or simply unleash their creativity.
Ezekiel Maben ’17 is the current president of the NSO and head of the convention. In terms of his role as the so-to-speak chief of the event, he wrote, “I direct the overall vision of the convention, book guests, and oversee the other areas of the convention.”
According to Maben, planning an event of this scale can be chaotic. He continued, “The planning process has had its ups and down, but we are prepared for the upcoming convention, with a great collection of guests and vendors.”
As occupied as he is, Maben maintains enthusiasm for the special guests No Such Convention will have. He remarked, “When it comes to guests I am most excited about Ken Levine, whose work I really love, and the horror Host Mr. Lobo, who will be presenting on the Poughkeepsie native and noted schlock film maker Ed Wood.”
One notable guest to this year’s festivities is Ken Levine, a prolific game developer as well as a Vassar alum himself. As the student responsible for bringing Levine to the convention, Josh Sherman ’16 was quick to speak the praises of this successful alum. Sherman wrote, “Levine’s visit was made possible with the support from NSO, Chronicle, Misc, CMPU, and MEDS…It’s a chance to hear an awesome Vassar alum talk about his journey to becoming a game developer and really talk about what it’s like to be a storyteller for millions of video game players.”
Maben expressed his anticipation for Levine as well. Reflecting on Levine’s stature as a video game developer, he wrote, “I’m excited for Ken Levine. It took a lot of effort to get him here and I really want to hear his insights. Joshua Sherman … will be interviewing him.”
Levine is most famous for conceptualizing the “Bioshock” franchise. “Bioshock” is a first-person shooter game that incorporates survival skills within fictitious dystopian landscapes. The protagonist, Jack, crashes his plane into the ocean and discovers a bizarre underwater society engineered by a wealthy business magnate. Trapped, Jack must fight his way out of this strange world. The highly integrative style of the game encompasses role playing and strategic elements while exploring human and moral truths. The “Bioshock” franchise consists of three games and has been described as one of the best video games ever made by media outlets like BAFTA.
Character development is crucial to Levine’s strategy when designing any game. In an interview with Game Informer, he explained, “The whole system that I came up with and that we’re developing is based upon the fact that to make an interesting character, you have to have a character who has a bunch of passions, wants, and needs.”
Levine joins other special guests including comedian Uncle Yo, horror host and actor Mr. Lobo, author Erica Kudisch, author and teacher Thomm Quackenbush, artist and animator Adam Tilford and artist and author Peter Tarkulich.
Notable activities include a cosplay contest, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 20, and video game tournaments. The programming of the event is, in every sense of the word, eventful, to say the least.
No Such Convention begins on Friday, Feb. 19 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Convention continues on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.. The Convention ends on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.
Pre-registration for tickets is $12; tickets can be purchased through eventbrite.com.
A prospective NSC attendee, Jonathan Chung ’18 offered fresh perspective into the social and cultural inclusivity of No Such Con. Chung considered the racial implications of an event that largely celebrates popular Asian culture while serving mostly white attendees. He wrote, “I think that No Such Con is an interesting form of alternative programming that goes on on campus. It’s nice to see an aspect of Asian pop culture on campus and have it open to the general public and community. I’m wary that most of the people who attend are white, but most of the vendors are Asian, and it’s nice to see our campus being less exclusive to the general Hudson Valley for a weekend.”
Maben hopes for a scintillating and energetic ambiance for prospective NSC attendees. He also wants to kindle new interests in previously uninvolved students on campus. He wrote, “My favorite part of the convention is always seeing people coming there and having a good time…My hope for the convention is always the same, that people will have a good time and come away having learned something they didn’t already know or find a new passion.”