Awesome People: Corsets, Goggles, and Game Geeks in Warwick


Originally Appeared in The Phoenix

Are you an aspiring warlord, dragon slayer or munchkin? Do you find Queen Victoria strangely sexy? Well TempleCon 2011 might be right up your alley.

The sixth annual convention of gaming and retro-futurism — think geeks getting off on old-timey visions of the future — returns to the Crowne Plaza in Warwick February 4-6 and is expected to bring in as many as 1500 attendees from all over the world.

The event attracts both hardcore and casual gamers, fans of science fiction and fans of fantasy. TempleCon will offer dozens of competitive tournaments (three Flames of War national qualifiers!), alongside panel discussions, presentations, fashion shows, and a retro-futurist ball.

The idea, according to TempleCon co-founder "Madame" Ximon Dundaine, is to provide a little something for everybody, whether you're the intense gamer or the poor significant other who gets dragged along for the ride. She said her event has become known as a couple's destination in the retro-futurist community.

"When we started this, we wanted to have the kind of event to go to that we desired," Madame Ximon says. "After going to a lot of other conventions, we hadn't yet found that. Let's say you hate gaming, we still have a lot going on."

Retro-futurism has become an entire subculture complete with games, novels, and paintings. Among the genre's most popular forms is Steampunk, which is often set in Victorian England and fetishizes steam power.

It is, among other things, a good excuse to wear corsets, petticoats, and goggles.

There are more in Rhode Island who take to this sort of thing than you might imagine. Madame Ximon, co-owner of the Temple, a retail hobby game store in Pawtucket, says the Ocean State has among the most game stores per capita in the country.

Gaming enthusiasts who have not yet registered for the conference may be disappointed — most of the tournaments are already filled. But you can still dress up like Dickens and grab an autographed copy of C.J. Henderson's Steam Powered Love: Tales of the Pelgimbly Institute for the Advanced Sciences And the Chaos It Caused.

Sounds romantic.


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