After a long afternoon drive, Sun Beamer & Co. finally arrived in Reino just before sunset, although they were about 45 minutes late thanks to a traffic jam just outside of the city. Presumably, everypony else was on their way to Duskgem too. Long lines wound up becoming a recurring theme, as the Grand Gallop Reino Inn had a check-in line that stretched around the the entire lobby, chock-full of what Blast Furnace presumed to be possible attendees. While Smith Stone waited in line, Blast Furnace and Sun Beamer found one of the few couches that wasn't already occupied by somepony watching over the remainder of their friend's luggage.
"Y'know, I don't think I've ever seen the Grand Gallop this crowded two days before the Gathering before." Blast Furnace observed.
"I've seen this before: it's the registration line at a fandom convention." Sun Beamer admitted.
"Wait, you go to those too?" Blast Furnace replied, seemingly interested.
"Yeah. Before I moved on to real raves, I helped set up the Saturday night dance at Unicon to hone my skills." Sun Beamer explained. "Felt it was nice to give back to a con I had always gone to since I was a late-colt."
"Why didn't you tell me this earlier?" Blast Furnace asked.
"I didn't think you had a nerdy side too." replied Sun Beamer.
"In that case... psst, did I ever tell you I have a second PonyGram for cosplay and other generally nerdy stuff?" she whispered. "It got much easier to manage when PonyGram added multi-account mode. Some follow both, some only follow the nerdy stuff, some only follow the EDM stuff."
"Well, it's not like your skills go to waste outside of cons." acknowledged Sun Beamer.
"Yeah; much like your interests, there's quite a bit of overlap." Blast Furnace noted. "Though, last time I checked, cons usually aren't held in the middle of the desert."
"Are there any games you're good at?" asked Blast Furnace. "As you saw, I'm more of a fighting game mare myself."
"It was at Unicon that I found out I was quite good at dance video games." Sun Beamer continued.
"Really now? I wouldn't consider myself a 'professional' at games like that, though. Like I said earlier, beating DJVortex songs on the middle difficulty level is enough of an accomplishment for me." explained Blast Furnace. "That game is tough enough without the aid of unicorn magic. So many knobs and buttons and stuff."
"Yeah, I won the Groove Your Hooves 5 tournament at Unicon there in 2012, and I finished third the following year." said Sun Beamer
"Hmm, what happened in '13?" pondered Blast Furnace.
"In 2012, the franchise ended because they got sued by the maker of some other dance game. Nowadays, everyone just tries to get every last perfect score on songs they already played a million times." elaborated Sun Beamer. "Because of that, they changed the format to something called 'sightreading'. They made all these new routines just for it and, well, it got really trippy. Couldn't even read the arrows quarter of the time." he continued.
"Wow." Blast Furnace's jaw dropped a bit.
"Yeah, I crashed and burned. The year after, the con kind of crashed and burned too." Sun Beamer continued. "At least I have festivals to fill the gap now."
Meanwhile, about 20 minutes later, Smith Stone was almost at the check-in desk. Sun Beamer had a few conversations with some of the other ponies in the lobby to pass the time; at least 3 of them were also going to the Gathering. Another two were there to see their favorite 1990's R&B singers at a casino, and had to be told why there were so many roughneck stallions afoot. They really liked Blast Furnace's mane, though; it reminded them of 80's mane rock.
A few minutes later, Smith Stone trotted over "Okay, we got room 245. Elevators are that way, and the restaurant has a long waiting list tonight because of the influx of visitors." he explained
"Everypony says the Final Furlong Bar & Grill is one of the best restaurants in the entire state. This is probably one of the side effects of being popular." noted Blast Furnace.
"Especially on a night like this." added Sun Beamer.