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Origins Photo Surveys

Origins '01: Stalking the Booth Babe

by Mark P., text by Sandy Antunes
July 16, 2001

Updates: "The Zorrow woman" is Celia Liang, a long-time gamer who helps out at Cons, not hired bait [thanks, John Nephews]. The lady in vinyl/ leather lady was with Third World Games, and likely was Kachiko of Cons past [thanks, several]. The Mad Royalty was pleased with being dubbed with that title. Despite this total lack of journalistic coordination on our part, our thesis remains intact: Gamer booth babes aren't just hired talent, but are gamers too!  

One can measure of how serious an entertainment show is, simply by surveying the percentage of Booth Babes. This is, of course, utter nonsense propagated by a geek-run industry (specifically, a legacy of the computer game industry), but hey, we just cover the news.

So our intrepid photographer set out to survey the booth babe-ness of Origins '01. Then, he left me photos without labels to sort. So we break this into three categories to pretend that we're applying some sort of fair, scientific morphological scheme to this all.

As with all our photo surveys, click on the thumbnail image to see the full-sized one.

Babes of the Booth

babe pic First mention goes to Looney Labs, who ran constant games and demos and had a mixed support team of men and women. Naturally, we photographed this plucky demo queen rather than, say, Andrew Looney. "Stay true to one's theme", that's our motto. In a way, since she was running games and not just looking pretty, it's questionable whether the 'booth' part of Booth Babe qualifies. (Besides, as an astronomer I have a thing for labcoats.)

babe pic Next comes the A-Z dancers, promoting Rein*hagen's new venture. They scored massive bonus points in our intangible ratings for:
  1. Being dressed like the game packaging
  2. Dancing
  3. Ditching their lame music for the better stuff Synister was pumping out next door to them
  4. Being actually connected to the publisher (i.e. girlfriend/friend), not just models-for-hire.

babe pic Booth Babes can max out with the 'classy' stat, as this Gold Rush Games/Zorro promo woman shows. She fits the definition: babe hired to be near the booth. Definitely relevant to the game's theme (and source material), so GRG scores bonus points for that.

babe pic In a similar fashion, a seller of medieval goods can-- nay, should have one or two obligatory busty medievals wench-like booth babes. Certainly, given the dominance of the fantasy genre, this is Con-appropriate.

Art Babes

babe pic And then we have the classic chainmail bikini chick, seen in art area. Why the art area, I have no idea. "Look, gorgeous pictures, and in case you can't visually tell, we'll (barely) put chainmail on this woman." I can understand it as a cheap promo ploy for the publishing area, but in the art show, perhaps it was just her choice of garb.

babe pic Similarly, our photographer spotted this leather model from afar. I'm not sure if it was exhibit hall or art room so I'm guessing, but it does bring that fantasy gaming feel to the area.

babe pic And here in what looks like the art gallery, we have another medieval chick with nice embroidery. The outfit makes this picture (well, that, and the smile), and overall does give a more artsy feel to things, so I'd rate this Booth-i-ness as a positive gain.

Artificial Babes

babe pic But hey, who needs to hire models? Apparently a life-sized and fairly pathetic Mageknight figure is enough.
babe pic Or just slap a set of wings on a mannequin! God we're pathetic.

Wandering Babes

This is the category for "Mark gave me the pictures with no labels."
babe pic For example, this boothless scifi woman. Is she from Quake (judging by the rocket launcher slung over her pack?) Or freelance?

babe pic Is this woman a larper? Mad royalty?

babe pic Is Sean Jaffe trying to score? I swear, trying to figure out these pictures is impossible.


Well, we're no E3. That's probably good, though. Overwhelming, the "eye candy" also had direct relevance to the actual material being sold, which I see as a good thing. That many of the models also were part of the game industry, and not just paid flesh, is heartening. So the next time you see a booth babe at a gaming convention, don't just think "Wow, untouchable sexy woman", think "and damn, she games, too!".

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What do you think?

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All Industry Insights

  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews China Mieville, April 24, 2002
  • lizard's Condensation of All Game Fiction, April 18, 2002
  • Sandy's "God or Whore?" GTS'02, March 26, 2002
  • Allan Sugarbaker with GAMA Trade Show '02: An Inside Report, March 22, 2002
  • Aldo of Impressions on the GamePlay CD, January 3, 2002
  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews Ken Hite, February 8, 2002
  • Gareth-Michael Skarka interviews Tim Powers, January 18, 2002
  • Aldo Ghoizzi on Inside the Making of GamePlay, January 3, 2002
  • The RPGnet Awards Cabal presents the RPGnet 2001 Awards Results!, December 5, 2001
  • Ken Whitman teaches us with A Note About Creating a Good Promotional Campaign, October 12, 2001
  • Sean Jaffe on The Fallout, September 27, 2001 [about 9/11]
  • Sean Jaffe on Interesting Times, September 21, 2001 [about 9/11]
  • GodLike: Dennis Detwiler and Greg Stolze, September 14, 2001
  • Jared Nielsen on Tribe Gamer, August 31, 2001
  • Mark Bruno teaches about Copy Editing, August 16, 2001
  • Ratings not just kid's stuff for RPG industry, reported by Matt Snyder, August 9, 2001
  • GenCon '01 News, reported by Matt Snyder, August 3, 2001
  • Origins Report: Would you send your mother to buy from them?, part 4 of 4
  • Origins Report: Booth Babes, part 3 of 4
  • Origins Report: Overview, part 2 of 4
  • The Origins Awards, part 1 of 4, reported by Jason Paul McCartan
  • Gary Gygax Interview, part 1 of 3, by Scott Lynch
  • Why I Write Gaming Materials by Greg Stolze, November 16, 1999
  • Blowing out the Nostalgia Candle by John Wick, October 19, 1999
  • Interview with Sean Pat Fannon, Shards October 5, 1999
  • Portuguese is not Spanish! by Thad Blanchette, September 14, 1999
  • Intuition and Surprise by M. J. Young, July 27, 1999
  • Fear and Loathing in the Wizards of the Coast Game Center by John Tynes, January 26, 1999
  • Breaking In,, on how to break into writing for RPGs, by Steve Kenson, December 22, 1998
  • ALT.RPG, first of a series looking deeply at what gaming is all about, by Matt Miller, September 1, 1998
  • The Night They Tore Old Mecca Down, GenCon report by Randy Porter, August 20, 1998
  • GenCon Fun: con, city, and even housing tips from Randy Porter, June 30, 1998
  • GenCon Lore Vol 3: Program Books, update on GenCon 98 attendance, by Randy Porter, June 23, 1998
  • The Missing and the Dead, update on GenCon 98 attendance, by Randy Porter, June 2, 1998
  • The Definitive Count on who is and isn't attending GenCon 98, by Randy Porter, April 28, 1998
  • How to Scam Games Part II by Steve Johnson, March 24, 1998
  • The Perils of Penniless Publishing by Aaron Rosenberg, February 3, 1998
  • Polyhedral Dice & Mirror Shades, by Greg Costikyan (or, the death of paper).
  • Ken Whitman: A Love Hate Relationship by (of course) Ken Whitman
  • Interview with Sean Punch, GURPS line editor, by Bob Portnell, October 1997
  • YOU DID WHAT? Perspectives On Becoming A Full-Time Writer In The RPG Industry, by Steven Long, September 1997
  • A Resurgence of Role Playing, by Gary Gygax, August 1997

    Other columns at RPGnet

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