I spent time at Romics 2018 yesterday, letting my phreak phlag phly. Thoughts and pics below:
- This was a huge event, and I’d love to know attendance numbers. Trenitalia was clearly ready, as they were checking bags and had extra personnel on hand to do crowd control and navigation.
- As I was searching for the train platform that I needed to find to get on my train from Roma Ostiense, I looked about a bit frantically (I didn’t waste time waiting for trains) until I saw a bunch of Final Fantasy characters hanging out on binario 12. Ah, my people…
- I’m excited about the future for these folks, even if I wish a bit more analysis went on. I don’t long for the days of 47 of my best friends going to a comic-con, and listening to dramatic appeals, spoken as if from a lonely Arctic outpost, for somehow finding more attendees before comic-con died.
- We are clearly beyond those days.
- The mix between enormous corporations and small, local entrepeneurs, artists, and craftsfolk is fascinating. The cottage industries that have grown up around Star Wars, for example (full disclosure – I think Star Wars sort of sucks, as the series in my mind consists with one exception simply of morality tales set in space), have become full-fledged in ways that make me think of the ancillary industries that support old industrial plants. Without the support of specialized tool-and-die manufacturers, and problem-solvers from the outside, the auto and other industries would not have been as adaptable or flexible as they would otherwise have been.
- The failure of that system in the 1980s became evident when we visited the Papal Palace at Castel Gandalfo and saw the former popemobiles, a subject I will blog about in a future post.
- The level of attachment to something like Star Wars is worthy of lots of academic work and conversation among scifi authors (and it is, as witnessed at pop culture conferences and the loathing shown SW by the cyberpunk crowd).
- There were lots of institutions selling their academic wares here as well, including our friends at Vigamus. The academics were all visual arts-oriented, with little devoted to helping develop story-telling. It’s an interesting phenomenon to me, as game developers constantly talk about how they can’t find good writers, and yet I rarely see resources devoted to helping writers develop their craft. I hear the same thing in web content development…sounds like a project I should investigate.
- I was particularly interested in the ways that VIGAMUS had set up their space – they had a Dinosaur Jr. cover band (really) playing when I first walked by, but they had also brought a couple of old arcade games for folks to play, and they had a couple of gaming PCs fired up with older versions of some of the games that I saw people cosplaying – final fantasy, zelda, myst, and so on. Smart approach, I think, to getting people involved in the history of gaming. Perhaps that’s the best way to help gamers both casual and hard-core become more invested in approaching their diversion of choice from a more analytical perspective.
- I’ll write more about this in future posts…there was an entire exhibition hall devoted to e-sports (league of legends and FIFA soccer), and I’ve got a few words to say about the art on display as well…