Con Man the Game at Dragon Con

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By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)

Every Labor Day weekend, thousands and thousands of comic, pop culture, and cosplay fans descend upon Atlanta for Dragon Con. This year, the con celebrated its 30th anniversary with record-breaking crowds enjoying diverse panels and guests. A few such guests were there to promote their con-within-a-game offering, Con Man the Game.

Alan Tudyk has a wide and varied resume, but is perhaps best known to sci-fi fans as Wash from Firefly and Serenity. It was because of his involvement in that series that he was introduced to the world of conventions and was inspired to make his web series, Con Man. The show was backed on Kickstarter, and one of the perks was the creation of a video game, which was officially launched at Dragon Con.

The premise is simple: have you ever wanted to create your own con? So much goes in to planning one, like do your booths have enough merch, are there enough toilets, and is Joss Whedon around to act as janitor?

Wait, what?

Yes, Whedon makes a cameo in the game, as do many of Tudyk’s other famous friends like Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, and Kevin Smith. The Nerd Machine even has a booth on the con floor!

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Joining Tudyk at the press conference were PJ Haarsma and Nolan North, producer and actor in Con Man, respectively. With the three of them together, it’s hard to get a word in edgewise, but you don’t care because you’re laughing so hard the whole time, and it’s easy to see where such absurdist – and niche nerd – ideas for the game come from, like cameos from the cabin in the woods from Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Jerry Lansing (North’s character) giving out hats that look suspiciously like a certain orange hat worn by a certain character from a certain cancelled-too-soon space Western, vending machines that dispense trout, and the aforementioned janitor Whedon.

However, above all else, fandom is what makes Con Man special.

After raising $3.2 million on Kickstarter, fans who donated at certain levels could actually become part of the game. They are the ones who fight the aliens from Spectrum, the series in which Tudyk’s Con Man character starred, who come to destroy your con.

Fandom also influences Con Man the series. It was when Tudyk attended a convention where half of the attendees were in town for a sci-fi convention, toting around action figures, and the other half were women who were there for some sort of doll convention, carrying baby dolls around and treating them as real babies that he thought to himself, “What’s the difference here?” It is situations like those that Tudyk and the creative team hope never change because while interactions with stand-out fans could perhaps serve as inspiration for a future Con Man storyline, they also provide the love that fuels everyone’s passion for the project.

For our review of Con Man the Game, click here and check out a trailer for the game below:


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