Wednesday has become the opening night of SimuCon, with as much as a fourth of the total attendees showing up for this party-before-the-party during the last three years. This year's crowd seemed a tad more seasoned and subdued, gathering in small groups inside and outside the bar (unlike 2000 when we invaded the bar, cranked the music up to 10, and had coaster fights).
In an unfortunate turn of events, many con-goers with room reservations got sent to another hotel down the road. The GMs volunteered to be the displaced group so no paying visitors would have to move. It seems the Hilton had done some room remodelling and the fire marshal had not permitted many of the rooms to be reopened yet. These displaced folks were given several drink vouchers for their troubles, and at the prices the Hilton charged for drinks that was a pretty good deal!
When Thursday morning rolled around and the registration table opened, most attendees were already in St. Louis. The line when the tables opened was enormous! Fortunately Simutronics has really streamlined registration over the years and the lines moved quickly:
Name? ID? Sit here. Smile. I don't care that you blinked. Here's your badge. Here's your t-shirt. Have fun.
Plus, if you came back a couple hours later there was no line at all!
During registration time, the usual tours to our multiplayer-game-Mecca were offered - the Simutronics headquarters in St. Charles. Although it's just an office building, your first trip to see the home of our online worlds is very special, and you can gawk at some really expensive computers to boot!
Lunch was available at the Hilton's only restaurant, but most people opted for a less expensive meal at nearby Tiffany's. Later in the day and for the rest of the convention the Hilton erected a portable deli for our group which boasted $2 hot dogs, $3 sandwiches, $1 soft drinks, and $1 chips - a welcome change from the typical $10-$20 buffet the Hilton normally offers. Also during this time the 24-hour hospitality suite opened and the nearly-24-hour movie room started its run at noon with Braveheart.