If Comic-Con isn’t the leading exclusive geek con anymore, what is (if there is one at all)?
Serdar: The TED Talks. :D
Jason: Having just returned from five days of pure geek bliss at SDCC, let me tell you that in every possible way, Comic-con is about as perfect a convention for geeks of all shapes and sizes as you possibly find. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sci fi geek, game geek, movie and TV geek, even a geek for many mainstream things, it’s all about living and loving your inner geek. There’s nothing in the world like it for being in geek heaven.
Ewen: If I were to try to pick just one I’d probably have to say PAX, for size (70,000+ attendees), scope (ostensibly a video game con, but it covers just about everything), and quality (by all accounts it’s run very well). But there are so many different ways to be a geek that I don’t think any one convention can really be in the lead for all of them. There’s anime and tabletop gaming related stuff at PAX (and Comic-Con for that matter), but geeks interested in those things could be better served by, say, Anime Central or Gen Con Indy. Also I suspect I’m a little atypical for how much large crowds dampen my enjoyment of a convention, but some of the cons that are just plain good are also the ones that are small enough to be intimate and manageable. I can have a whole lot of fun at a small event while completely dodging the rush to register, the hours spent in lines, and the tortured logistics of getting around San Diego (or Indianapolis, Atlanta, downtown Los Angeles, etc.) that arise when the big convention is in town.
Bonnie: I don’t think there really is one that encompasses all of geekery, because geekery itself is so diverse. You have WorldCon for literary sci-fi, Anime Expo for Asian-based fandoms, PAX for gaming, etc. The ideal geek con is whatever meets the congoer’s individual needs.
Scott: I don’t think there’s any one exclusive geek con. Bonnie made a good point last week that the SDCC was becoming a gateway con, and that’s something cons are good for, introducing geeklings and protogeeks to others with similar interests and presenting a safe spot (i.e., no one is going to pick on them outright) for discovering the various aspects of fandom and geekdom. Even fans of properties that seem geeky but are outriders (like, say, Twilight) can be introduced to similar, better works that still fulfill the neo-fans’ wants. Cons work for all levels of interested, from the passive (viewing videos), to the social (room parties, panels), to the creative (cosplay for all ages!, fanfiction).
That said, and to going a complete 180 from the previous paragraph, tabletop gaming cons still have the geek niche. While the larger cons, such as GenCon (http://www.gencon.com) and Origins Game Fair (http://www.originsgamefair.com/), have panels and costumes, smaller gaming cons, in particular, CanGames (http://www.cangames.ca) remain focused on the gaming. Still, someone interested into getting into tabletop gaming (RPGs, wargaming, miniatures gaming, board games beyond Risk and Monopoly), these cons, especially if local, are a great way to learn games and meet people sharing the interest. And bringing people with the same interest together is what cons do best.