PAX story: Part 3

By Hans Wuerflein

I woke up and stumbled down the block to the Washington State Convention Center to try and find out where I was supposed to be meeting up for the Omegathon.

I found the info desk on the 4th floor and asked where I was supposed to be.  They told me to check Twitter, but I couldn’t get it on my phone up in Seattle (thanks Pioneer Cellular!) and the Sheraton was trying to charge $10 a day on top of their already pricey (but nice) room.  Seriously, that was free at the Days Inn I worked at.  Why do all the little things sky rocket in price once you go somewhere that you don’t have guests asking for hourly rates.  I’m not paying $10.  You pay $10.

Anyway, after several minutes of waiting on phone calls to be returned, I was informed that I needed to go back down to the street, wait across from the Cheesecake Factory, and eventually the guy’s cousin Rey Rey would “have what I need.”

Ok, so I made the part about Rey Rey up, but it still sounded a little shady.

I headed down, and while I was waiting I was this:

Neo talking to Altair  while Mario waits on the cross walk isn’t normal, but at PAX it is.

Anyway, I found the confused looking group of people and their “plus ones,” or their official sidekick that also got line cutting privileges, presumably in exchange for carrying their crap all weekend.  I still hadn’t picked mine, but the plan was to rotate between the two other people in the group without any sort of Super Best Friends Club® pass.

We moved into the lobby (why we didn’t just meet there in the first place…) and they handed out our passes while we waited on the last few Omeganauts to arrive.

We headed up to the Serpent theater (they all had cool names like that) to get ready for the first round, Mario Kart: Double Dash.  They had originally wanted Mario Kart Wii, but due to bass-ackwards network design on Nintendo’s part, there was no way to set up the matches to eliminate the appropriate number of players from the first round.

We took a picture with Gabe and Tycho (which I still haven’t found anywhere), then told us we had about 45 minutes to cut into the exhibitor room before the general public got in (and our round was supposed to start).

I walked around the show floor for a few minutes, trying not to freak out over the upcoming round, and played a few minutes of Scribblenauts.  The girl running that part of the booth saw my badge and congratulated me.  She told me she had been an Omeganaut in a past year and got weeded out by Jenga.  I remember thanking God I didn’t have to play that.

My time was about up so I made my way back to the competition to pair up.

The next half hour is a blur.  I remember doing an entrance interview, and putting a mic on for our group’s press people, but I barely remember the first of the three races happening, except that we got 4th.

The second round will haunt my dreams forever.

We were running well in first place on Dry Dry Desert in the final lap when…the horror.

It happened next to the sand trap.  We got blue shelled, then immediately red shelled, knocking us into the Sarlacc pit.  We went from first place to not even finishing, and there’s was nothing we could do.

We did everything we could to catch up, but even a second place finish couldn’t save us.

After we got eliminated they took us out for an exit interview.  The wanted to know what happened.

What happened? Mario Kart happened.

Mario Kart ran a train on me.  Mario Kart made me its prison bitch, then when it was done with me, it traded me for a cigarette, and it doesn’t even smoke.

So just like that, I was out.

“Well, now what?” I thought.

At least I got to cut up front for the keynote address by Ron Gilbert.

Speaking of which, absolutely amazing.

He told stories about growing up in the infancy of the computer and video game industries and how he got into the industry.  He talked about how incredibly wrong Rodger Ebert is and that yes, of course games are art.  And I had great seats for it too (2nd row, slightly left of center).

I stayed put for the Penny Arcade Q & A (part 1) with Gabe and Tycho (aka Mike and Jerry) right after the keynote.  I had seen pictures of them before, but if you haven’t it’s funny how little they look like their cartoon counterparts.

Here they are (Gabe on the left, Tycho on the right) with the cardboard cutout of a guy his friends brought along because he couldn’t make it this year.

Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the lude gestures they made with his hand right after this. 😦

The Q & A was great, and I really hope it makes the DVD like (I think) it has in past years.

A couple of us headed up to catch the live taping of the CO-OP podcast. I was kind of disappointed though, because they apparently hadn’t told the enforcers Omeganauts could cut yet, so we got banhammered to the end of the line.

It was pretty cool, but most of them couldn’t make it and were just on a screen via a (crappy) Skype connection.  It was cool to hear people’s thoughts on and memories of the Dreamcast on its 10th anniversary though.

We met up with the rest of the group and headed out to more press parties.  First we hit up Sony’s to see MAG (and only MAG) and raid their hor’dourves and open bar.  Great food, decent looking game.  They were giving out beta codes, but not having a PS3, I forgot to grab any (sorry).   It was interesting to see it running on about half old PS3s and half “slims.”  Also, I love seeing stuff lock up or crash at events like this (regardless of the publisher) and between the twenty some demo units there was plenty that.  No pictures though, because a shot of MAG running and MAG frozen look pretty much the same (lol no video camera).

Anyway, we headed over to catch the end of the Hudson party, and although their presentation was over there was (drum roll please…) AN OPEN BAR!!!  Oh, and Deca Sports and another Bomberman game.  Woo.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Bomberman, but as soon as I found out I could get a free White Russian my priorities reorganized a bit.

Now, it should be noted that somewhere around this time the subject of my elimination from the Omegathon came up, and due to me now being a bit more, shall we say, socially lubricated than before, I went off a little.

I apparently threatened to go over to Nintendo’s booth the next day and yell,

“Hey!  Which one of you dead mother f***ers designed that sand trap in Double Dash?!”

The guy from Hudson loved it too.

Seriously, White Russians get the job done.

We heard IGN had something going on back at Gameworks, but I guess word got out that they were buying everyone a drink.  We managed to get past most of  the line with press credentials (plus guests), and after a few more rounds of Street Fighter 4 (or that horse racing game, you know the one) we headed back to the hotel.

To be continued…


2 Responses to “PAX story: Part 3”

  1. You know that horse racing game is the best game you’ve ever played, admit it 😛

  2. […] not sure if you remember when I went to PAX back in September as an Omeganaut, but i totally went to PAX in September as an […]

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