In August of 2009 I attended my second Penny Arcade Expo in the weird anti-jaywalking city of Seattle. It was fun. To my great relief, in 2010 PAX has performed mitosis and now makes up two conventions... PAX Prime in the Fall in Seattle and PAX East in the Spring in Boston. Boston is much closer to my home in the northeast United States and would not require my flying across the entire country. Last week myself, my wife, a few of my friends and their significant others piled into a couple of cars and made the seven hour drive up to Boston to attend the very first Penny Arcade Expo East.
Long Ass Car Ride
Driving from Philadelphia to Boston is a long drive. I've done it several times but it still never feels any shorter. On the way up I had to drop my Puggles off at the doggy-daycare so that they could have fun playing with the other dogs and eating each others shit for a long weekend without us.
Tiny Balls Of Shit-Eating Fury
Late on Thursday night we arrived, got wasted at the hotel bar and prepared for the start of PAX East on Friday...
Keynote - Wil Wheaton
First of all, let me say that anyone who has not listened to Wil's speech from PAX 2007 needs to watch this video immediately:
I was fortunate enough to be there and it was a great speech that most nerds will be able to relate with. Upon hearing that he would be doing the inaugural PAX East 2010 keynote as well, we made sure to get in line with at least a good hour to spare. What we didn't realize was that the main room where it was being given was not even close to being big enough for all the people in line to get in. As the doors opened and we neared the entrance, a yell was given up from the front. "The keynote is full!" was spread down the line and my heart sank. I was going to be denied Wil Wheaton! Why would they not ensure that there was enough room for everyone to view what was the important kick-off moment of the show? No! Wheeattonnnnnnnn!!!
As the rest of the line began to disperse, my wife and I moved up to the very front of the overflow group and began to make sad, frowny faces at the Enforcers and convention guard at the door. The minutes went by... 10... 20... 30... with the keynote almost starting, one of the Enforcers informed us that a couple people had left the seats and there was room for two! With only moments to spare we were in! Near tragedy had been averted... Wil did not disappoint.
I Love You Mr Wheaton
After the keynote and the following Penny Arcade Q&A with Gabe and Tycho, we set off to look around the convention. One of the cooler things we got a chance to look at for a few minutes as the Jamspace presented by the MAGFest. Essentially it was a bunch of standard instruments (guitars, drums, keyboards, microphones, etc) set up that anyone could access and use. Whether you had a full band with you or just wanted to jam with random folks, it was there for everyones use. We managed to watch a few moments of some random fellow beatboxing but it was less than stellar. A great idea regardless and I wish I had spent more time in there. Perhaps next year I will get up and perform myself. Perhaps.
Concert - The Protomen
Wow. Who would have thought that this would be one of the biggest highlights of the weekend for me. A couple of my friends had been telling me about a band called The Protomen that were going to be playing at the Friday night concert so I purchased their albums a few days before we left and gave them a good listen. For anyone not familiar, The Protomen are a band that play what can only be described as a Mega Man opera. They have taken the characters of Mega Man, Dr Light, Dr Wily and Proto Man along with several characters invented by The Protomen themselves for use in the story. A huge majority of the story is original and not taken from the actual Mega Man games. As lame and bizarre as it sounds, it is so goddamn awesome that I'm not even sure how to tell you how goddamn awesome it is. Their performance on Friday night was fantastic and I can only describe it was a weird combination of an opera, an 80's metal/synth band and Meatloaf. I highly recommend giving their second album "Act II - Father of Death" a good listen as a whole as words cannot do them justice.
Pointing Isn't Polite Mr Mega Man
The Tools Of Destruction Up Close
With the best part of the concert over, we left and returned to the room for some Whiskey and Shootin' Ladders. Only late that night did I notice my throat and head starting to hurt. Probably just from fatigue and yelling so much... right?
To Be Continued - Penny Arcade Expo East - DAY 2!