INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Thousand of gamers will descend upon the Circle City from Thursday through Sunday for the annual Gen Con convention.
This is the event's 11th year in Indianapolis, it’s 46th year overall.
Fans and gamers will see more events this year than before, with more than 12,000 games expected to be played around the clock.
Organizers say gamers travel from all 50 states and from 12 different countries, including Australia and Japan.
“We'll have folks in costume as all local residents will see, we'll have vibrant personalities running around town and playing games,” Jake Theis with Gen Con said. “Throughout the convention, we'll have a costume parade, we'll have a large zombie walk.”
- PHOTOS | Gen Con Convention
New for 2013, Boy Scouts can earn a merit badge for game design.
Gen Con has also partnered with Sun King to brew the official Gen Con beer, Flageon Slayer, a follow-up to 2012’s Ale of Destiny.
Organizers say nearly 42,000 gamers attended in 2012, and they expect more this year. The event is expected to bring in $47 million for the city.
Only at Gen Con can you stand in line with a zombie chef, listen to music from days of yore and talk to an elf.
“I am an elf rogue from the pathfinders society. It's just basically a dress and the ears. It's awesome” said pointy eared Samantha Loyer who is visiting from Memphis, TN.
The convention allows gamers to try new games, and hang out with like-minded enthusiasts. It's so popular, people budget for the convention.
“I probably saved since January. Just a little here a little there. Get the tickets and everything,” said Jimmy Glover who drove in from Little Rock, Arkansas.
“We actually have been saving up since last year so we could come back here,” said Ashleigh Sedlak of Fort Leonardwood, Missouri.
Not only do gamers save money to come, they spend it while they are here. Not just on games.
The Federmeyer family is spending five nights in Indianapolis.
“It's our yearly big fun vacation for us. Our whole family, my wife is here, my other son is here, this is where we go to have fun and we don't ask too many questions about the money,” said Ed Federmeyer of Chicago.
Gen Con is Indy's number one convention in terms of economic impact.
Thanks to the $275 million convention center expansion, and the revamped pedestrian friendly Georgia Street, organizers are scheduled to return each year through 2020.
“Just keeping Gen Con here has paid for the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center,” said Chris Gahl of Visit Indy.
Gamers are excited about this years four day event. And many already know, they will be back next year.
“This is humungus. The facility itself is amazing,” said Jimmy Glover who drove in from Little Rock, Arkansas.
40 students and five professors from IUPUI's school of Informatics and Computing created a full scale questing game for this years convention.
Anyone attending Gen Con can register to play the interactive game. It uses the entire convention center as its stage.
Gen Con asked the school to create the game. Students took classes and then created the quests.
One IU professor considers the project an intense internship.
"Most people in a classroom will do a project and they are done with it but this actually has a real world consequence so they know it's not just me grading them, it's the world grading them and they are getting the experience before the industry. Experience the industry is looking for," said IU instructor Mathew Powers.
Gen Con runs through Sunday.
- One-day: $50/person
- Sunday Family Fun Day: $30/family of four
- Thurs -- Sat:10 a.m. -- 6 p.m.
- Sun: 10 a.m. -- 4 p.m.
Fans who don't want to pay to go to the Convention Center can head to Georgia Street.
From Thursday through Saturday, food trucks will line Georgia Street drawing gamers in costume and fans alike.
Folks can try Gen Con's Flaegon Slayer beer there too.
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