Cornfield Meet

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PAX East: Day Two, Part 2

Scratch Fury, Destroyer of Worlds

Destroyer of Worlds

In February 2006, I was staying with my friends Ivan and Alexa while on assignment to cover Toy Fair in New York. The Saturday night before the show’s opening day, while a snowstorm dumped a couple feet on the whole region, Ivan showed me to the spare bedroom and also pointed out a stack of books he figured I might like. They were the first three volumes of Player vs. Player, and reading page after page after page of 1980s pop-culture references and nerd jokes and geek-tuned humor, I was totally hooked.

So it was very cool meeting PvP creator Scott Kurtz at PAX East on Saturday morning, pretty much just a few minutes after getting Wil Wheaton’s autograph.  Scott drew a picture of Scratch Fury: Destroyer of Worlds on the title page of the PvP collection I bought from his table, and when I mentioned that my wife and I happen to share a wedding anniversary with Brent Sienna and Jade Fontaine, he actually knuckled up for a fist bump. (Yes, I know May 4 is also the birthday of PvP itself, and that’s why he made it their wedding day.  It’s still cool, like having 1138 as a street address would be.)

And right next to him was Bill Amend of FoxTrot, who helped me complete an awfully neat trifecta that morning, signing both a really worn-out book I brought along, and a print of his own Penny Arcade/FoxTrot mashup.

When I met you, I was but the learner...

Both of these guys were very generous with their time and I really enjoyed meeting them and getting the chance to tell them in person how much I like their work.

Paul & Wendy and I had spent this whole morning together, and while they were at Paul and Storm‘s table talking about the upcoming concert that night, I saw a T-shirt I wanted, despite having only a little familiarity with the duo’s musical stylings. It just says “cheese” in sign language, semaphor, and French. Nothing else. And I do like me some cheese. And the shirt was on super-sale, so, Bonus.

After a lunch in the food court, Paul & Wendy and I took a stroll through the Expo Hall for awhile, and then decided to hit the Classic Arcade for a couple rounds before I needed to drive back to Rhode Island. Lessons learned: Free-play games are awesome, even when they suck, so I enjoyed the sit-down version of Buck Rogers – Planet of Zoom despite the fact that the game itself was far lamer than I remembered.

We played some Food Fight, and then Paul and I teamed up for a good round of Joust 2: Survival of the Fittest, even if we couldn’t figure out what the hell good transforming into a Pegasus was. (Turns out you’re heavier and can drop quicker for attack purposes. I looked it up for the next time I’m time traveling to the arcade at Twin Pines Mall.) With the ’80s music playing and my fingers mashing the “fly” button and my desperate attempts to avoid enemies and scoop up giant eggs, I could practically hear the whine of a DeLorean revving in the distance, and it seemed as good a way as any to finish up my time at PAX East.

March 31, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Books, Current Affairs, eighties, Games, geek, Travel, video games | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ten, nine, eight …

The 10 day countdown to PAX East is ON!

I’m super-psyched about this. It’s my first convention road trip since last year’s Penguicon, and I’m feeling a few similarities anticipation-wise, inasmuch as while I’ve never considered myself a hardcore gamer, there’s just a ridiculous amount of stuff on the schedule I’m excited to check out. (Of course, I’ve also prepared myself for the likelihood that at some point, I will be having so much fun generally geeking out that I will miss one or five of these things.)

I’ve already given the the two-color highlight marker treatment to my printout grid of the schedule, and in the interest of showing some restraint, I managed to keep my “MUST SEE” highlights to three. My “MAYBE” list, though? Yeah, that’s up to 20 events and panels, and there’s clearly no way I’m making it to all those, especially since there’s a fair bit of overlap.

The ultimate “must attend,” for me, of course, is the GeekDad panel, which, really, I still can’t believe I’m a part of because it’s just too unbelievably cool, and seeing us there on the program listing page still seems surreal:

Bringing up the Next Generation of Geeks
Wyvern Theatre
Friday, 7:00pm

How young is too young for The Hobbit? What should my kids’ first LEGO set be? How can I control my disgust if my child tells me he likes Jar Jar and the Ewoks? When should I buy my kids their first non-six-sided dice? These questions and many more will be discussed by writers for Wired.com’s GeekDad blog and other geek parents. Come share your stories and advice for how to make sure our kids grow up to be geeks like us! Don’t have kids? Show up and find out what may be in store for you if you ever do!

In fact, I’d bet that panel alone and the chance to sit down with fellow GeekDad writers Dave Banks, Natania Barron, Matt Blum, Doug Cornelius, Michael Harrison and Corrina Lawson will make this whole road trip worthwhile by itself.

And yet there is more, from what I figure will be the high-profile draws like Wil Wheaton’s keynote, concerts by MC Frontalot, Paul & Storm and Jonathan Coulton and the Penny Arcade creator panels to the more narrowly-focused offerings like this movie GET LAMP (I was a huge Infocom text adventure fan back in the Commodore 64 days) and a look back at other arcade and computer games of my youth.

As if all that wasn’t enough, this is my first visit to see my old friend Aaron on his turf since he moved to Rhode Island, and he’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.

Can’t wait.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Current Affairs, eighties, Film, geek, science fiction, Travel, video games, Web/Tech | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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