Single Status Update
The First Day
So, I just got back from PAX. This was my first con ever, so it was a pretty big thing. It's weird, because all of my friends are big con goers, and they (and everyone else I met) were amazed that I was a first timer. Hotel arrangement was a bit spotty. I was originally supposed to just stay with some of my friends in one place while my other two friends (husband and wife) stayed in another. Then my other friend's girlfriend decided she was going to stay the night and arrangements got weird. I agreed to move over to the other hotel, and really it worked out a lot better because not only was that room a lot better, but the hotel was RIGHT ACROSS THE FUCKING STREET from the main convention and had two of the panel rooms downstairs. It cost me $200 for my share, but I guess it was worth it. Oh, and the other hotel was about 12 blocks away and had tiny rooms.
Friday I pretty much spent in confusion, not knowing what the fuck to do. I tried to get in to see Wil Wheaton' panel, but the line was already full up half an hour before it started. I did walk past him in the lobby, though, and he is a very small man. My friend, his friend, and myself instead went into the panel next door, where the Retronauts dissed everyone's favorite games. Basically, they just had people line up to list off their favorite games so they could tell them why the game was bad. It was pretty funny, actually. I was sad that there was only one guy on the panel who really knew computer games well enough to pick them apart, but I was also happy when people mentioned Planescape: Torment and Star Control 2. No one mentioned Doom, surprisingly, though many of the classic console games were mentioned.
Friday Night Concert
After that, I just followed the two of them around and ended up at the end of the day going to the concert at the Paramount that night. There were a bunch of bands there that I had heard of but never actually listened to. Video Game Orchestra (VGO) was pretty good, though (like 99% of video game cover musicians) they only did console games so I had to ask my friend what they were playing a couple of times. For instance, I didn't know that the song they opened up with was the Street Fighter II theme, and when my friend told me, I mentioned Guile's Theme Goes With Everything. He hadn't heard of it so I had to explain it. Right after that, guess what they segued into? I lol'd.
Anyway, MC Frontalot was next and he was actually pretty hilarious. Annoyingly, the sound mixing was terrible so I could only understand half of what he was saying. Guess I'll have to look him up on Youtube. Also, he played some clips from Friendship is Magic on his screen, so lol. After him was Metroid Metal, who rocked pretty hard with their wall of guitars, but not being a Metroid fan, I didn't recognise the tunes except Brinstar. They threw out some beach balls modded into metroids for the audience to bop around during their performace, which was pretty entertaining. Then the Minibosses came on but my ears were so fucked at that point that I couldn't tell if they were out of tune or my eardrums were indented. I didn't recognise any of their music, either any my friend was passed out. I spent most of the performance just staring that the ornate ceiling of the theater while I lay sprawled across two rows of seats.
The next day, I was left to my own devices when my friends all wanted to see the create-a-comic panel and I wanted to see the Dead Gentlemen instead. I'm a bit sad I missed that panel, because apparently the resulting comic was of Gabe's wife suddenly turning into Derpy Hooves after he warns her not to accidentally sleep with guys cosplaying as him. I hope this gets uploaded. Yogscast was also streaming into a panel from the UK, so I was pretty much torn 3 ways. Anyway, the Dead Gentlemen panel was pretty hilarious. They showed Journeyquest then had a Q&A. All the guys (and ladies) were pretty cool and hilarious people. They made Dorkness Rising and Journeyquest without any kind of real profit and all work normal 9 to 5 jobs, so I'm really grateful that they even bothered making these movies at all. I ended up getting a signed copy of Journeyquest at the end, so that was fun.
The Exhibition Halls
Anyway, by myself, I wandered the con for most of the day. Honestly, I had little interest in the main exhibition hall. It was loud, packed full, and pretty much consisted of booths for generic big name games with half-hour (at the very best) lines to get maybe 5-10 minutes of play and honestly it just didn't seem worth it. The worst was the KotOR MMO, which had (from what I heard) a 2-hour line, which is hilarious because I have a friend in the beta and I've seen plenty of gameplay already. Skyrim looked interesting, but not long-ass line interesting. I only had a morbid curiosity in Rage. The one interesting booth there was the EvE Online booth where they were selling some awesome minis of the ships and having discussions about both EvE and their new console game that's tied in with it, which looks....interesting. Honestly, my interest was piqued enough that I may reactivate my account. Avoiding the exhibition hall was probably the reason I left the con with less swag than my friends, though. Apparently they were handing out free stuff while hidden away in all the crowds of people there. Oh well, lesson learned for the next con, then.
I did buy some trinkets, though. I got a hand full of TF2 buttons for $5 and then a bunch of gimmick dice from one of several dice vendors. Namely, I got a d16, a d24, a random weather generator die, d10s with 100, 1,000, and 10,000 slots increments, and a couple d10s with the numbers spelled out in German.
As opposed to the main exhibition hall, the smaller upper exhibition hall was much more interesting. For one, it had a lot more vendors selling stuff. I was tempted to buy a board game but never got around to it. There were some pretty good deals there, like Arkham Horror and its large expansions for $40 each, the small expansions for $20 each, and Twilight Imperium for $70 (it's normally a $100+ game). I was mostly interested in this Civilization game, but didn't know anything about it so I just held on to my money. Also, that floor had all the indie game on it, of which there were some interesting ones. There was one called Chasing Aurora which is in very early development. They had multiplayer working, which basically amounted to a big game of flag tag with origami birds. It was cooler looking than it sounds. Allegedly there is going to be single player and more multiplayer modes, but it was fun as it was. There was also A Flipping Good Time, some game that was trying hard to be Portal with a glove pulling blocks around instead of a gun shooting portals (it was pretty fun though), and some game claiming to be a bullet-hell game in reverse but actually being a guitar hero clone in disguise.
Oh, and there was the Mojang booth. The latest unreleased build of Minecraft was there. It has skill points (dunno what they do) and some crazy fucking mobs that look like nighmares and will teleport to you full of death and vengeance. There also appeared to be new items. I was a bit more interested in another game they were demoing there called Cobalt. It was basically a platformer where you could pick up items to use them to solve puzzles. It also involved clinging on to walls and punching rockets. Let's just say it's pretty damn fun. Oh, and Notch. I ended up running into him about 6 times the whole weekend. He even showed up unexpectedly at then end of a panel I sat in on.
Grown Men Playing D&D And Other Nonsense
After that, I went back to the Paramount where I saw the Acquisitions, Inc. show. This was probably the highlight of the whole trip. I have been following their podcasts since they started and pretty much half the reason I came to the con was because of this. It was pretty epic because everyone in the group was dressed as their characters, and they had an epic miniature set (as Gabe said "we have way too much fucking money"). Tycho came on wielding a his weapon/holy symbol, Scott smashed through a wall in an epic dynamic entry, Wil showed up on stage drowning in a vat of acid (how his character died two sessions ago), Gabe was...well, Jim Motherfucking Darkmagic, and Chris Perkins was dressed as the Mad Hatter. They also had Paul & Storm as their bards, who had songs for their critical hits and misses among other things. After hearing it on the podcast so many times, it was great actually getting to watch it in person just to see the expressions on their faces as they rolled terribly and gaped at the incredulousness of their supposed teammates. Speaking of which, Jim Darkmagic is a huge fucking dick. :P Hopefully (and probably) this will get uploaded as well.
A friend of mine bought the new Penny Arcade board game and it was pretty fun. If anyone has played Ascension, it's a lot like that, except you end up saying stuff like "I'll grab another Scrotuum, they work best in pairs" and "anyone want to reveal their Wieners?". They had special cards for the game that were PAX exclusives that my friend snagged too, so that's cool.
At the end of the night, it was concert time at the Paramount again and this time it was Paul & Storm and Jonathon Coulton. Paul & Storm were actually fucking hilarious. They were really more of a comedy act than a band and did a LOT of fucking around. At one point they brought out just about every musician there (JoCo, MC Frontalot and his band, the string quartet and guitarist from VGO, half of the Minibosses, and a few others) to play an epic song about vaginas. When they found out they still had 15 minutes left at the end, they ended up dragging out their last song for that long and blaming the audience for it. JoCo was okay, but he was about as interesting as you'd expect. I'm not that big of a fan of his, so the only songs I recognized were Still Alive, Want You Gone, Skullcrusher Mountain and re: Your Brains. He also played a bunch of new stuff including one or two first time songs he revealed for us at PAX.
Sunday was just a lot more of the same. Panels, games, walking around, Notch. I played some Monopoly-style game for the Wii that used Mario and Dragonquest characters. It was fun, but I can't remember its name. Ate at the Cheesecake factory across the street. Finally went home and showed my friends the horribleness of the Pony Thread Simulators and Story Mark Crusaders on the way back. This post is taking way too long.
Okay, what's left? Cosplay. PAX apparently isn't a big cosplay event, but there were some good ones. My friends, for example. My friend was a Techpriest and got a lot of complements from fans of 40k, and his wife had a really good Tali costume. So good that the people at the Mass Effect 3 booth let her cut in line a couple times and gave her a bunch of swag. Oh yeah, and she was being swarmed by guys ALL THE FUCKING TIME. So many pictures were taken of her that I think that I'm probably in the background of over a hundred pics now. Check everyone's PAX Prime 2011 pic folders for the guy in the flat cap looking bewildered behind Tali. Between Paul & Storm and JoCo, we were down on the floor of the theater and my friend and I were talking and we turned around and she literally had a whole semicircle of guys around her taking pictures. It was weird. Oh yeah, and the bus full of call girls that stopped her on the street to ask if she wanted to work for them. Now that is fucking creepy.
Oh wait, I was going to talk about other cosplayers, too. Aside from my friend, the only other 40k cosplayer was a guy with the most badass Black Templar outfit ever. There was also Gordon Freeman, who had a fold-out presentation and brochures for Black Mesa recruitment. There was a guy with a pretty awesome Link costume, a ton of TF2 characters (especially snipers, engineers, and spies), the Eleventh Doctor (with mop and fez) with Amy Pond, a gaint piece of bacon handing out bacon salt, Carl from ATHF, a bunch of Homestuck trolls, and some ponies (namely Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, and Vinyl Scratch/DJ P0N-3). Those were the most memorable. There were some professionally hired ones, as well. Everything from the ones dressed as zombies for some Kinect zombie game who looked bored and pissed off from at least when I first saw them at 2 on Friday to the pretty awesome colonial marines guarding the booth for some new Aliens game (Aliens: Colonial Marine, I think its called). I think the tank commanders they got for promoting World of Tanks were pretty spot-on. They looked like grizzled army vets, and it really worked. It helped that they brought their own tank, though.
There was also some awesome statues. I'll start with FireFall. There was a running joke at the con that the convention was called "FireFall Presents: PAX" because ads for it were fucking EVERYWHERE. They were even plastered all over the city. It was the first I had ever even heard of it, so maybe this was its big reveal or something. Anyway, they had an awesome animatronic doohicky outside of the main entrance for the main exhibition hall. There were big statues of basic male and female PC models standing on either side of this big drop pod or harvester thingy or something. It kept opening up and making these booming noises with its pistons like a giant thumper from Dune or something. The next coolest statue was the motherfucking life sized dragon Bethesda dragged along with them. It was really fucking impressive. Wizards of the Coast had big statues of both Drizzt and Jace. The new Bioshock game had some sort of critter coming out of its booth's wall. The new Jurassic Park game had a JP jeep parked next to it. Rage had a buggy in front of it. I think there was a Gears of War statue.
That's about it really. I think I have a case of Pax Pox, and a bit of sunburn (at a con? YER DOIN' IT WRONG!)
tl;dr I went to PAX. It was fun. Ask me questions if you want.
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I want a d23. Sounds awesome and like you had a lot of fun, wish I could go sometime. My aunt and uncle live a few hours from there, maybe when i graduate I'll go. About firefall, I first heard of it when totalbiscuit was at gamescon last week, it looked pretty good. Think I'll check that and tribes:ascend out when they release.