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The Gaming Gang Extra Episode 31: Vul-Con 2012 Raw

Elliott and Jeff discuss this past weekend’s Vul-Con convention which took place in Phoenix, Arizona. What begins as a rehash of the weekend con delves into the topic of game stores actively working against the success of a local convention. All this and a sprinkling of our usual nonsense…

Our apologies for the occasional background noises as this was a completely spur of the moment podcast and Elliott’s family was going about their normal evening activities.

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Jeff McAleer

Founder/Editor-in-chief of The Gaming Gang website and host of The Gaming Gang Dispatch and other TGG media, Jeff tackles any and all sorts of games but has a special fondness for strategy, conflict sims, and roleplaying games. Plus, he's certainly never at a loss for an opinion...

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  1. Was great seeing you Jeff! Glad you had a great time! We’re looking forward to next year already!

  2. I wish I’d had a chance to kick it with yourself and Jay a bit more at the con but I certainly want to say thanks for having me out and look forward to more Arena events throughout the coming year as things build toward Vul-Con 2013! I hope we can get together to record a follow up interview in the next few days – once everything settles down – to put together an interview to recap your thoughts on the first Vul-Con.

  3. Your pointless drivel of a podcast is a joke. How long have you lived and gamed in Arizona? Vul-Con’s advertising and promotion was great. You ever run a convention? It is obvious you have not. NO GAME STORES were working against Vul-Con you are a LIAR. Get out of your mom’s basement and get your facts straight. You pissed off alot of gamers and we all know each other so keep trash talking your reputation is plummeting.

    1. Au Contraire AZGamer. Gamers Inn specifically made announcements that they were going to hold a tournament in their store and that people should stop in there instead of going to Vul Con.

      Really sorry to burst your bubble, but the game stores down here are all utter crap.

      We have ( in order from east to west)

      The one owned by a guy that cracks peoples skulls open when he gets drunk.
      One that people need tetnus shots to walk into.
      One that run by and for total snobs who think they’re better than everyone else.
      One that’s owned by a fat, lazy jerk who won’t get off of his computer to do anything.

      The community gets the game stores it deserves, and it’s a crappy community and so it gets crappy game stores.

      1. Well T, you called one of the stores on to the carpet. I suppose that makes you a liar too.

        I’m not going to bash the community here because there are a lot of people who really want the hobby to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, there’s a small pond mentality that permeates through much of the community and a lot of overinflated egos. I’ve tried to put together interviews with various groups here in the state and time after time been blown off. Mainly the excuse is the person was too involved in some planning committee that no doubt comprised a dozen people or less. You’d think I was asking them to somehow promote us as opposed to the other way around… The short sightedness of many of the people who are supposedly the “movers and shakers” in gaming here simply boggles my mind; maybe the fifteen or thirty minutes they could devote to our Skype interview would serve their cause better by reaching 1500 people on a daily basis as opposed to the thirty minutes they stroked their ego lording over five people at the local In-N-Out Burger or Denny’s.

        That isn’t even what frosts my ass the most; it’s the lack of even the simplest common courtesy to email or text me to let me know they can’t make the interview time. Normally I’ll get an email a few days later with some lame excuse of why they weren’t available at the time that was set for their own convenience. If I don’t tolerate that kind of treatment from a game company (and 99.9% of the people we deal with in the industry are too professional to ever imagine doing that) how likely am I to put up with that from Jane Doe and XYZ game group?

        You feel the game community is crappy and I’m not going to say it is or it isn’t. Yet the community is what you’ll allow it to be; if the community is run by idiots then kick the idiots out of their positions of power. I love how AZGamer asked how long I’ve lived and gamed in Arizona as if his first assumption is I’m from Podunck, Nowhere. As if Phoenix is some holy Mecca of gaming… Obviously if he’d come to this site prior to thinking he was going to tear me a new one, he’d have known I’m from Chicago and spent 38 years in the city proper; don’t try to play me as if Phoenix is a better gaming town than Chicago.

        Hell, Milwaukee’s a better gaming town than Phoenix!

        And that’s what irks me to no end.

        Phoenix has a nice core of gamers. Yet they sit and quiver in fear that they’re going to piss off their local gaming store and somehow that store (or their gaming group organizer) is going to somehow cut off their supply of gaming goodness. If it weren’t so sad it would be certifiably hysterical.

    2. Hey Jason! That sound you’re hearing is the Atom Bomb Jeff dropped on you that made you look like the asshole you are! I think you dropped that mom’s basement crack because you wish you lived in a basement and weren’t still attached to your mom’s teat!

  4. Well Jason (AZGamer), thanks for the very kind feedback. Oh, and be very careful when you try to be an ass with someone who works with Google… I have actually been gaming for a bit more than thirty years and lived in Arizona for about five years altogether. Hey, so you know my mom just called down to me from upstairs and she sends along her best… Come on! You live in Arizona right? You should know very few people actually have basements here.

    I’m not sure how you took anything I said, in the podcast, as a huge knock on Vul-Con. I will be very upfront and say I’ve never personally handled the reins of a convention but I have consulted or assisted in the operations of them. I truly believe if you talked to Jay and Rick (who actually posted the first comment in this thread) they would tell you the Vul-Con videos they shot should have been out on the web much sooner than they had been, the Vul-Con blog should have been updated with more regularity, and so on. Yet I didn’t present it as a negative but simply bumps in the road getting a convention started.

    I don’t suffer fools or trolls so it was within my prerogative to not even to have approved your comment – all comments have to be approved by either Elliott or I because spammers love to try to sneak in – but as long as you’re not spamming us, or asking us to come up to your hotel room in Laughlin to shoot porn, everything is fair game. You can certainly tell me you hate our shows, our website, my face, my opinions, and just about anything about me personally but I will not have someone roll up out of nowhere and call me a liar.

    As I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a little fairy perched on my shoulder during my time at Vul-Con, I’ll have to say you were not privy to the same conversations as I in my time there. If it had been one or two people who had told me that certain stores were effectively embargoing Vul-Con, I’d have let it slide and chalked it up to sour grapes from a customer of one store toward another store. Because this was a topic multiple people brought up to me – without my asking – and I did speak to someone who was “in the know” in order to fact check, I talked about it on the podcast. It pissed me off and I believe an attitude like that is not only detrimental to our hobby but even for that very business owner who engages in that sort of practice.

    I intentionally didn’t reveal the names of the stores I’d been told wanted to screw over Vul-Con because I’m not here to hurt anyone’s business. Obviously, we know it wasn’t Imperial Outpost, Mana Werx, Crusaders Retreat, Samurai Comics, or Pop Culture Comics because they were there and accounted for or sponsored the show. Everyone else in the Valley would be fair game I guess and I know you really don’t want me to go on the record do you Jason; you’re a pissed gamer while I’m a guy who’s currently tracking for three million visitors to his website in 2012. Do you really want me to out the store who wouldn’t allow any posters for Vul-Con? Who told their Warhammer 40k gamers they shouldn’t go to Vul-Con because they could come to the store and play for free? Or who give people a piece of tape to cover any rival game store’s name displayed on a tee shirt they may be wearing?

    Since I have an odd sense you either have an affiliation with a store that effectively blacklisted Vul-Con, or have somehow taken up their mantle, I’m going to take a guess that’s not an avenue you’d like to pursue. Keep in mind it’s only libel if it isn’t true… Then again you may not have any affiliation at all but when you effectively come into what is effectively my home and call me a liar, because you are a gamer and may not be exposed to the information that I am, I am certainly going to put you in the right light.

    Overall, I’m not concerned with you telling me my “reputation is plummeting” because I’m pretty sure this isn’t your gaming website destination of choice and you aren’t a part of our core audience. Pissing off “alot of gamers” isn’t a big concern either because we didn’t begin this endeavor to be the most popular kids on the block; Elliott and I launched TGG because we love the games, we love the hobby, and we wanted to share our thoughts and opinions regarding gaming. At the same time we didn’t set out to blow sunshine up anyone’s ass either so we call it like we see it regardless if it’s going to put a big bright smile on your face or a nasty frown.

    I’ll be at Imperial Outpost Games on Sunday March 25th running some demos so if you’d like to come up there – along with your fellow pissed off gamers in the Valley – I’ll be more than happy to chat with you about gaming, Vul-Con, how I suck, or anything else your hearts desire.

    That is unless you’ve already booked you room in Laughlin for the weekend…

  5. Game! Set! Match! McAleer! If this was my website I have just told this guy to F Off!

  6. Bring it on AZG! I’ve never commented before but my boyfriend and I love the gaming gang! These guys tell it like it is so if you and your fellow mouth breathers want a fight we’ll give you a fight!

  7. Alright everyone let’s keep it civil. Mr. AZGamer has every right to voice his opinion. As I pointed out, we don’t only approve comments that speak of us in glowing terms. He doesn’t have to like me, the website, the shows, or anything else and that is completely his right to do so. What I will not tolerate is someone calling me a liar and doing so in a way that wouldn’t even intimidate a little twelve year old girl with a blog.

    We know who really supported Vul-Con here in the Valley and who didn’t so Jason was obviously trying to deflect some heat from the game store he works at, or is in some way affiliated with, so the easiest way to do so is to call me a liar and say our shows are “pointless drivel.”

    Bravo Jason, you’ve made me waste 45 minutes that could have been better spent elsewhere and that’s all you’ve achieved.

  8. Do you really thing you are doing any good for the local gaming community with your podcast?
    You think that if someone doesn’t have time to do an interview that they are snubbing you?
    Your ego shows and it took my post for you to actually call out these stores that you have slandered.
    Well done sir.

    1. I think someone who approaches me and sets up an interview to promote their own group or cause, emails me on the day of the interview to confirm the time, and then doesn’t show up displays a real lack of professional courtesy at the very least.

      Ah yes, the old “you’re hurting the community” argument. You tell me what’s more harmful: a store owner who is too shortsighted to see a successful local convention would actually be beneficial to their business in the long run so they work against that shows success? Or me talking about those kinds of people existing?

      Once again you take time to come to my website and call me a liar. Slander is a false statement and nothing in the podcast or my comments has been false. I haven’t called anyone out, I’ve simply stated the local Valley sponsors who had a hand in working for the success of Vul-Con.

  9. Did you go directly to these store owners and verify your information that you got hearsay?

  10. Jeff, first of all, well done.

    I am a huge fan of the podcast and a fellow valley resident.

    I was really excited to see that you did a podcast about Vul-Con to get your take on it. I was aware of the convention of course, I heard about it on the podcast and saw advertising on that ubiquitous board gaming site. I really wanted to attend but wouldn’t have been able to go Saturday and couldn’t justify the price of the full convention if I was only able to go Sunday. Jay & Rick, if you’re out there, if it’s possible to do single day tickets next year I think that would be a wonderful idea.

    I live in Peoria and work in Chandler so I pass most of the game stores in the valley every day on my way home and know I can spend my money in any of them that I choose, and I’m happy to say Imperial Outpost is my store of choice. I’m very much looking forward to hearing the interview with Darren, thanks a ton for spotlighting them. They’ve been putting a lot of effort into their store lately and are really starting to shine.

    It saddens me that other game stores in the valley would act in the ways you talked about. It’s a real shame that we can’t come together as a group to have each other’s backs and expand the hobby.

    Anyway, thanks for the podcast and the work you guys do. Keep it up!

  11. Let me say, I’ve known Jeff for over 30 years. The man is anything but a liar. He has his opinion, he expresses it, and he calls them like he sees them. The people who can’t accept or are offended by what is reported are free to take themselves elsewhere.

    I’m right there with Jeff, if less vocal. If you don’t like what we have to say, go start your own gaming website and podcast and say whatever you want. That is the beauty of having a free country. I stand behind what Jeff said, I’ve known him long enough to respect his integrity and courage to say what he thinks despite the fact that it might gain some negative responses, and as is apparent here, attacks.

    The truth hurts Jason (original Jason), take off the rose colored glasses and see what can be done to make it better.

  12. Since the original commenter Jason can publicly call me a liar and then privately email me a couple days ago to inform me, “Well what do you know? Jeff’s not a liar,” without having the stones to actually return to the site where he slandered me I thought I’d share a portion of his email. Funny enough he indicates his last name is Smith in the email which I already know is not the case…

    The subject line of the email was “An Apology of Sorts”

    So I verified the rumor of your podcast and which game store you were trash talking but never named. You were right about the rumor. I apologize. It was Gamer’s Inn. Gamer’s Inn has disappointed me, I have supported Presto for many years and he lied to me when I questioned him about this rumor. I was defending another store in the valley on your blog actually, because that store thought you were talking about them. Which so did I until some people told me it was Gamer’s Inn…

    So, in reality, Jason came here calling me a liar because he thought I was talking about some other store in the Valley on what almost seems like the instructions of the store that thought I was talking about them.


    I also love how he states he “verified the rumor” as if the truth is only a rumor unless lord of all things Arizona gaming, Jason, can investigate and prove it for himself! Regardless of that, I didn’t post his email in full simply because he wrote about some inner dealings with stores and companies located in AZ (that I can’t substantiate) so I didn’t want to get the whole merry-go-round going again.

    But, in the interests of full disclosure on my end, here is my response in full:

    Hiya Jason,

    I have to say I don’t have it in for any game store in the Valley and that’s why I didn’t call Gamers Inn onto the carpet. I’ll take a guess that the folks over at Games Depot thought I was trash talking them which, in reality, I wasn’t. I will point out I heard some stores about some shenanigans with Games Depot but since it wasn’t something I heard from a lot of people I did take that as hearsay or sour grapes. In the future if I’m aware of solid info about a store that is, in my opinion, working against the good of the hobby locally I will certainly specifically state who it is. The reality though is I hardly even mention gaming here in the Valley. We’ve been at this for almost a year and a half with over 70 shows, be they our normal program or the Extras, and I believe I’ve mentioned the local scene for more than a minute on three occasions. The vast majority of our audience isn’t located here so I highly doubt the ins and outs of the local scene would be of much interest to them.

    I appreciate the fact you’ve worked to support the local scene for more than a decade and I certainly understand it can be a difficult thing to do with many of the, shall we say, “unique” personalities. The behind the scenes info you share once again just reiterates my sense that there’s way too much childish nonsense involving people in the business side of the hobby here. You’d think there was a game store on every corner as opposed to having a handful scattered around.

    Personally, I didn’t need an apology of sorts simply because I knew I was telling the truth and if anyone didn’t like it there was no skin off my nose. Granted, I didn’t appreciate someone calling me a liar multiple times on my own website and I heard from people you were ripping me pretty good on Facebook (I didn’t bother to look so I don’t know) for a while. I’m all for people voicing their opinions so I didn’t lose any sleep over it.

    I’ll say thanks for emailing me to point out you learned I was being honest about what was going on. Yet you publicly called me a liar on my site and now you email me privately to say you realize I’m not. Don’t you think I would deserve a simple sentence along the lines of, “I did some checking around and Jeff was right,” posted in the same thread of comments where you called me a liar?

    Thanks for the email and all the best!

    Jeff McAleer

    Thus end of discussion…

  13. I was out of town and didn’t read your e-mail responses sheesh. Sorry for not getting back quicker, obviously I don’t have my priorities set right. Can we all just calm down a little? Still doing some fact checking to verify some stuff, will get back soon. So much drama who gives a crap anymore.

  14. I bet Jason would give a crap if he ran a website and you went there and publicly said HE was a liar. I bet he’d be giving more than a crap and probably would delete your comments.

    And he’s still investigating things? Fact checking? Who is this guy, Colombo? Personally, if I were Jeff and Elliott I wouldn’t approve any of this guy’s comments any more as he really just comes across as a jerk. He should take Elliott’s advice and go start his own gaming website and leave the gaming gang to normal people.

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