Gen Con has seen much in its 50-year history. Born from the remains of a small convention in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Gen Con has evolved to become the foremost gathering for tabletop gamers in North America, if not the world. There are a multitude of other gaming conventions, however. What makes Gen Con special? How has it lasted as long as it has, and why has it been able to grow to its current size of more than 60,000 individual attendees? To examine these questions, we turn to the historical record of Gen Con: its programs.
Nearly every Gen Con had a program of some form, at the very least a listing of the scheduled events that took place that year. This project by the Temple University Digital Scholarship Center has taken those event listings and transformed them into a normalized format for study. With the event data in CSV form, we can now explore it quickly using Blacklight, search for patterns using R, or do some light text mining with Voyant. Using these tools, along with some close reading of the events and programs, allows us to see a broader picture of the convention and help answer our above questions about Gen Con.
Let's explore Gen Con through its event history. The next few pages of this exhibit provide an introduction to some of what we can learn about this convention through event data. I encourage you to conduct your own research on Gen Con through this site as you follow along with ours and that of other people who post research exhibits here. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.