Sunday, August 31, 2008

PAX (and the Company Bowling Shirt)

Well, my ears are still wringing and I have a mild hangover that a single beer cannot account for, but I can safely say I survived a day of PAX. It is still going on today, so if you're of the geekerati, go have fun.

PAX moved to the Washington Convention Center last year and is already bursting it at the seams. The exhibitor's hall was blocked by regular nerd-jams, and lines stretched everywhere. I touched base with friends new and old.

And that's something incredibly nice about the PAX fans - they know how to queue. All those hours spent in an outpost looking for group seems to have paid off.

The exhibitor's hall was a continual rumble and flashing of bright lights as everyone had their games running at peak efficiency. There are a lot of good-looking games out there, in particular NCSoft's newest - Aion (prounced "Ion"), It is just beautiful, and I found myself drifting back to the booth time and again just to watch it (not a smart move, by the way, if you're wearing a company bowling shirt - I ended up answering a wide variety of questions from people assuming I was on booth duty).

Oh, and the strangest thing I saw was the Iron Chef game for the Wii, complete with animated Alton Brown head commenting on your work.

I was there for a panel on Guild Wars, and we had a packed house, which absolutely gob-smacked me. We had more people this year than last year in the same room. We can't say anything about the newest version, unfortunately (Or rather, I said several times that day - "I could tell you, but I would be wrong."), but still the outpouring of support for the game was amazing. We have some of the finest fans in the world.

After the panel we had a party at Gameworks, and again, before the party, everyone queued up along the sidewalk leading to the event. The company bowling shirt? It does nothing as far as giving you a good place in the line. I actually ended up directing traffic as the line extended past an active parking garage entrance. I would complain about having to wait, but one of the founders of the company was in line about twenty feet ahead of me, waiting for the party as well. The company is egalitarian that way.

The party itself was a delight - they had a scavenger hunt for company employees, getting autographs from some twenty+ people on the list, who were wearing red wristbands. I was not wearing a wristband, nor was I on the list, but I WAS wearing the company bowling shirt, and so was struck up continually. And the fun thing was, I was drinking with author Will McDermott, who WAS on the list, but dressed in mufti. So I took delight is saying "I'm sorry, I'm only the decoy, but HE (pointing at Will dramatically) is your QUARRY." And then I got to watch Will get mobbed, which was fun.

As it was, I signed a lot of stuff - a shirt, a pants leg, some original art, and a lot of copies of The Art of Guild Wars. And I ran into a lot of people who really enjoy the game, and I was delighted to meet and greet everyone.

So know I've got a mild headache and the sides of my mouth hurt from smiling so much. Thanks to all our fans.

More later,

UPDATE: Have some photos of the booth, the talk, and the party here.