PAX Discussion

So Bwana asked for more info about PAX. The short form is that I really enjoyed it, but I'm not sure what to compare it to. It's not at all like E3, and I guess for the most part that's a good thing :-)

So the truth is I went in part just to check it out, but mostly for the concerts. I have to admit I bailed out of the Friday concert early - it was going really late and I was just fading rapidly, and I had see what I wanted to see already. I was a little disappointed with the sound system in the main theater - it would clip and get distorted at high volumes. Some of the vocals were hard to understand - and this was true even of the panels.

So what did we do at PAX?

I got there around 6 PM on Friday. It was already in full swing and to be quite honest I still was wrapped up in my Wizards visit (which of course I can't really talk about). I snagged concert wristbands for Karin and I and walked around a little bit. During my initial walk I got really panicky that I was relying on keeping too many details in my head so I sat down and banged out a page or so of key story notes. Found the free WiFi and checked email and all that.

At this point I realized that I didn't actually know how to get back to the hotel from the convention center and I was really hungry. I didn't relish figuring out the route at o'dark thirty so I walked back to the hotel (plus I was tired of carrying my laptop around). I had some dinner and watched Red Vs. Blue Season 3 (I hadn't seen the end yet and wanted to catch up before the panel).

I traipsed back to the con around 8ish or so and basically managed to meet Karin just before the Red Vs. Blue panel. They showed the end of Season Three and the first episode of Season Four and then did some Q&A. They were really funny and well worth hearing talk.

They kicked us out of the hall around 11:30 to set up the concert. It was even scheduled to start until midnight and it didn't start on time. We saw the Video Game Pianist who was awesome and part of the Optimus Rhyme set. I couldn't really make out the words of the Optimus Rhyme songs so that was a bit of a bummer and to be honest I was just barely conscious. I finally decided we had to cut out so I missed the last two acts.

Saturday we went over to see the "Make Monday's Strip with Gabe and Tycho" panel. They originally intended to make Monday's strip with fan input but they got worried about not getting anything done :-). So Gabe drew the strip beforehand but inked and colored it onstage. It started with Tycho having to recreate the script from memory because Gabe had apparently deleted it. Then basically we watched Gabe ink while Tycho heckled him and answered audience questions. This was really cool (this is the final strip here) I can tell you Gabe wasn't eating a bacon cheeseburger originally - the bacon was added when somebody in the audience asked for it.

After that we toured around a little bit, but I wasn't into just plunking down at a table and playing some tabletop game with strangers. I would have been interested in demos of Pirates of the Spanish Main but to be honest every time I saw these guys they looked like they were taking their stuff down and exuding a vague geek hostility. Even Karin acting interested didn't get them to offer to show us anything so screw it. They also had this showing which I guess just came out at GenCon but the same thing - they seemed to be taking it down and not interested in a demo. I bought the new MC Frontalot CD and he signed it for me, so that's pretty cool.

We wandered off for lunch and didn't come back until time for the main concert. Before the concert they did the Omegatron Round 4 - which consists of Karaoke Revolution. That was surprisingly hilarious - one poor guy didn't score ANY points for over half the song. Then we got hear Conney Lin playing some works from Final Fantasy on the piano - that was neat. This is the one point where the young crowd was a little saddening - she had a page turner guy. After one tune somebody called out "Let's hear it for Page Turner Guy!" and we had a separate round of applause. That was pretty funny I thought, but then the next song somebody group of clowns kept clapping during the song every time he turned a page. Taking a good joke and running it into the ground while being rude to a performer at the same time.

In fact throughout both concerts it was weird the amount of people who showed up and then seemed to ignore the concert. People were Picochatting or playing Meteos throughout the concert. I'm not sure if this just a youthful thing (the crowd was a lot younger than I would have expected - lots of early teenagers there), some sort of mass geek-culture speaking point or what.

Next up was MC Frontalot, my personal favorite of the concert. He played mostly tracks from the new CD but that was still cool. And of course he played the Penny Arcade theme.

MC Chris was next and he was really funny but he suffered almost as much as Optimus Rhyme did from the sound system. I know the songs so I was able to follow but I don't think you could hear the words if you didn't already know them.

The Minibosses closed out the concert and I have to admit we left early again. I'm not *that* into old school 8-bit songs, nor am I big fan of guitar music. They do what they do really well - I'm just not that interested in that particular confluence of things.

Sunday we pretty much just hung out and then had to go mess with the airport and all.

Would I go to PAX again? Yes, absolutely. A lot of the show isn't that interesting to me, but the parts that I was interested in were a great amount of fun.