Almost exactly one year ago I attended Konline. It was my first virtual convention. Now, after twelve months, I had the chance to attend second Konline. It changed in many ways but at the same time it kept its strong points.
More Than Gaming
The first Konline was mainly a gaming event. There were programme items not related to it, but as far as I recall gaming dominated the con. This year, the situation changed a bit. There was a strong gaming programme. I think it was even stronger than last year. Yet there were also other types of programme items. Looking at my choice of items, it was more of a literary event for me. I was a programme participant. I interviewed two Polish writers – Agnieszka Hałas and Krystyna Chodorowska. Then I was in a panel about fanzines. Diabeł, Seji and myself took part in a discussion that took around 90 minutes. Our aim was to show the concept of fanzines to the younger generation of fans. Of course, the audience consisted of both younger and older SFF enthusiasts. I hope it was an interesting discussion.
There were some foreign guests at Konline. This year, I managed to meet just two of them – Gillian Polack and Nathan Phillips. They gave one talk together – World building using ethnohistory. In this presentation they shared the world they are working on for gaming. It was pretty interesting and I know I want to play the game. Gillian also had a solo presentation about Australian food and I enjoyed it as well.
As it was the case last year, I did not manage to play any games at Konline 2021. There were options for RPG sessions, LARPs, and board gaming. Somehow, I was too busy with other things to try any of those.
I was not in a mood for Discord socializing. I saw some people talking there but I barely participated. Fortunately, thanks to a few coincidences I had some great video chats. There was a discussion about the reception of two Polish speculative fiction writers by the mainstream. It was led by two academics and was very interesting. As it was ok to use the room for a longer time, the discussion drifted a bit and opened for the audience. We were still quite close to the general topic though. Later, after my panel on fanzines, we had time to discuss a lot about fanzines, clubs and fandom in general. I am not sure how long the discussion was. For sure it was long enough for me to mention a few times that I need to leave soon as I had to eat my supper…
If not for those two spontaneous discussions I would not have any socializing. On the other hand, it was a very real-life convention-like experience. After a programme item ended, the panellists and some members of the audience would continue the discussion. It is normal for such spontaneous events to last longer than the programme item itself.
The previous Konline used two venues – Google Meets and Discord. This year, the first one was replaced by Jitsi/8×8. I have a mixed feeling about the app. It worked, which is good, but I am used to Zoom and I believe it works much better. Maybe it is because I got used to it but Jitsi is not as user friendly. If other conventions use it, I won’t complain (at least not too much) – it serves its purpose but there are better options available.
I had a good time at the convention. When I compare it to the first Konline, it has similar strong points. At the same time, some aspects improved. The first edition was prepared in a very short time. It was also an experiment. Here it was evident that the team knew better what they are doing and how they might achieve that. I liked it but at the same time I hope that in a year I will be writing a report from an in-person event done by the Avangarda society who ran both Konlines.
My next post will be published within two weeks.