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PAX 2009 Recap

Friday, September 11, 2009

I had this idea that I would try live blogging the Penny Arcade Expo and yeah, that didn’t quite go as planned. Too much awesome and too much fun all in one weekend package. I barely took any pictures and didn’t tweet at all. As much as you think that you will be attending as prepared as possible something always goes awry and you end up not as prepared as you think you should be and some things just go to hell in a handbasket.

My party arrived at the Grand Hyatt on Thursday afternoon, and after a minor check-in snafu, they upgraded our room to the king corner bedroom and brought an extra bed for us. I think we might be at the Grand Hyatt every year from now on, the hotel was wonderful and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful and nice.

We settled into our room, unpacked and tried to make a tentative schedule of events of what was to happen over the course of the weekend, a schedule that (of course) we didn’t keep.
Carmen sacked out

First up, was the Pre-Pax Dinner at the Navy Reserve Hall where I was really looking forward to the dinner and meeting a lot of people and just having a good time in general. I guess the dinner had some logistical issues and everyone ended up in a huge line, and caterers were cooking each and every serving,they were much too small for that many people.

Needless to say, it seemed to have turned into a huge mess. We were at the end of the line and Tjada and Carmen were starving and so we cut our losses and headed to the Pike Place Brewery to eat some dinner.
The view from the back of the line

After dinner, we went back to the room, changed and freshened up for the TriWizard Pub Crawl. I had elected to join House Hufflepuff and while we were late and missed the first challenge, we caught up to everyone at Barca for the second challenge against Ravenclaw. My challenge consisted of a shot of tequila and a shot of “polyjuice potion” when we asked the bartender what they used to make it, he replied, ” You don’t want to know.” I didn’t taste bad at first, it was the aftertaste that finally got to me and I had to rinse out my mouth with more alcohol. It felt like something had curdled in my mouth. Ew.
First round of shots for the night

The pub crawl was a shit ton of fun needless to say, I met some new people, I got to meet people that I had spent the better part of year conversing with over Twitter or the forums. Nakki and Isha were doing a bang up job herding the drunk Hufflepuffs from pub to pub with maybe a couple of snafu’s along the way. Snafu’s in the variety of, “Your group of being obnoxiously loud and annoying and please stop them from screaming HUFFLEPUFF! every ten minutes while inside the bar please.” But otherwise it was great. I regret not dressing up at least a little bit in costume, but there’s always next year.
NakkiAt BarcaHanging out on the streetOutside The ChapelI forget what's going on here

The Expo Hall was amazing! The extra space that Gabe & Tycho added definitely made a difference. It was crowded with loads of people but at no point did I feel that i was hugging the walls to move which is what happened last year. I hear that next year that their hoping to get the Annex again in addition to the entire Convention Center. Someone asked during the Penny Arcade Q&A if they could make PAX even bigger and they replied, “not unless we drill into the earth to carve out our very own spot” and we would blindly follow them to the depths of the earth.
The Convention CenterThe Expo HallRockstar boothPink Gorillaseattleslim cosplaying

And Oh! the games I played (or watched a video for): I was very disappointed that there was no playable demo for Bioshock 2 and Assassin’s Creed 2 but I did enjoy watching the video demo that they presented at their respective booths. I was able to play my beloved Fairy Tale Fights for about 20 minutes because no one was there and had to leave once a line formed (phooey!), managed to get my hands on Scribblenauts after a lengthy wait but I was entertained by watching some obnoxious people at the nearby Rockstar booth do crazy things for swag.
Darksiders' bucking bronco
Carmen with her Ballad of Gay Tony shirt

As always I had a lot of fun at this years PAX and there’s also the sense that I missed a lot too. This year was a little weird because I would be walking or waiting or playing and I would inevitably see someone from Twitter but I never said “Hi” or introduced myself because even though we indulge in casual conversation or a spirited debate via Twitter, we don’t really know each other. We’re part of a larger community but we’re still strangers. That, and like most people at PAX, I’m incredibly introverted and don’t speak much. πŸ™‚ Maybe next year, I can work myself up to at least wave at people.

In all, I had a another great year at PAX and I can’t wait for next year! I know that there’s PAX East in the interim but I don’t think I’ll be able to hang with that this go ’round. I would really like to try to make it to PNWA this summer and that’s a $500 registration fee (ouch!). So the goals, for next PAX go round would be to try to make it to more of the community events and I’m bouncing the idea around in my head of suggesting a panel. Although in the interest of full disclosure, I would be a bit terrified if it were approved and then I had to put it together.

Coming home was a bit of a relief, I never sleep very well away from my own home and bed and I wouldn’t have missed PAX unless it was a dire emergency but there was a sense of relief getting back to Olympia. I think I might actually start calling this place home… o.O
unloading the car
Tjada cheesing it up

I also got my parents to take some funny pics with some of the things I bought at PAX. Parents, gotta love ’em.

Mom & Dad
Now that's a man secure with his masculinity

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