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Pax Day 212:59 AM -- Thu September 4, 2008

Day 2, we woke up at a reasonable hour very tired from our late night of revelry. Hats back on again, and we headed out for breakfast.

La Creperie Voila (insert various french punctuation marks) is a tiny little crepe stand outside the convention hall. They've got crepes with all kinds of things in them. You could literally eat every meal there and be healthy. But I went for the good stuff - both times we ate there I had a strawberry, vanilla custard, and whipped cream crepe. They are not cheap, but they are awesome. There was a big line of course, because it was right there at the convention. We were awake a little earlier than most geeks, but not enough. We still stood out in the bitter wind for about 45 minutes. I say it was worth it.

Saturday began at 10am, so we had a big day ahead of us! We started out, once properly creped, with the Advertising & PR panel. We somehow managed to miss the beginning of it while eating our crepes, but it was in the Walrus Theater, which is the one 'theater' that is actually just a corner of a big room, so you can walk right up and stand there. I wish the others had been like that! We hung about and listened. Didn't learn much as they talked about how they spend their $5 million advertising their products... not a lot of discussion of things that I might be able to actually do.

Then finally, we got to see a round of the Omegathon for the first time! The Omegathon is a big game tournament, where the contestants are picked randomly via a variety of methods, and they don't know what they are competing in until a couple of weeks before the show. There are 6 rounds, each competing in a different game, and the final one is a mystery even to the contestants right up until it happens (well, I think they got an hour or two notice... they seemed to know the controls). Obviously people are eliminated from the roster with each round until only two remain for the final showdown. I really like the concept, because with its completely random set of games (this year, Jenga, Peggle, Rock Band, and Geometry Wars were among the games featured), it's much more laid back. You don't have hardcore Halo nuts just Haloing away, you have people flailing around with stuff they have no idea how to do, and nobody is good at every game. The prizes make it quite serious though - $5,000 and a trip to Tokyo to go to the Tokyo Game Show!

Anyway, round 1 of the Omegathon was no spectators allowed because it took place in the BYOC room - a place where people could bring their own computers to set up. So for security reasons, they didn't have spectators. That round was Peggle.

Round 2 was Boom Blox. We could've seen it, we just missed it.

This was round 3, and it was Geometry Wars. We saw it! It was fun enough, I suppose. I'd never actually seen Geometry Wars in action before, and by the final round (it went for 4 rounds with 3 players in each, since there were 12 remaining Omeganauts by this round), we in the crowd understood the game well enough to do a lot of "Oooh!" and "Awwww!" when there were great escapes and unfortunate deaths.

Lunch break! We ate at the restaurant in our hotel, which was actually very good, and of course very expensive. There was a big wait, but we sat in the bar instead, which had open tables. No wait for us!

(This is one of those things you're supposed to stick your face through and take a picture... we stuck Yerfdog through instead, and it amuses me) We went back to the same theater then to see the Mega64 panel, followed by a screening of a Mega64 episode. All I really have to say about them is that it was fairly funny, and they're really really juvenile, and their episodes are really funny when they are just blatant live-action enactments of video games (complete with being yelled at by bystanders or cops), and a lot less entertaining when they have plot to them.

BUT! Something amazing and spectacular happened during this screening! We were just watching the episode when someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Darkaruki, who is a new member of the forums, and the brother of Blackduck, who was also there! He handed me a Loonyland 2 Collector's Edition CD and a pen, and sign I did. Rather poorly, sorry about that. It was unexpected. So that was exciting, right? To have a fan come up and want something signed? But wait, that's not the crazy part.

When I signed the disc, this kid sitting in front of me turned around and watched, and his eyes got really wide. We had given him one of our Freebie/Demo CDs earlier, and I guess he didn't think too much of it... until he saw somebody wanted my signature. Suddenly, he slides over, turns around, and starts quizzing me. You could just see he was absolutely starstruck. He didn't know why he was supposed to be in awe of me, but if somebody else wanted a signature, then by gum, I must be somebody interesting! I had to control myself to avoid laughing out loud at the absurdity of the situation.

Then we headed downstairs and met Blackduck, Darkaruki, and their mom properly (hard to do while people are trying to watch a movie), and took that picture with them. We also managed to give a CD to the older lady who was doing convention security. She was intrigued, and said that she wasn't allowed to take things, but she'd slip it in her jacket anyway. I hope I didn't just get her in trouble by writing this.

Our next move was a mad dash back to Bandland in hopes of catching Wil Wheaton (I left out an earlier Wheaton Failure, too. We went by his booth many times to no avail), but he was not there. He did have a schedule posted this time though, so we knew we had to come back tomorrow. So we hit the exhibit hall for a few minutes and ran into Phil again, who invited us to dinner. We wandered for countless hours trying to find a place to eat. Did you know that Seattle closes at like 6pm? Everything was closed! On a Saturday!

We eventually found a nice little place down in the Pike Street Market, which had good food like all the other places we tried on this trip. Food went well every time!

We hit the expo hall again, and checked out the Pax 10 there. Those are 10 indie games that got chosen as special to be voted on at the show. We looked at all of them, and played a couple. We placed our votes for Chronotron, which is downright clever. Several of the games were gravity/magnet themed and frankly not that interesting. I still don't get why people think Strange Attractors is good.

Our last event for the night was similar to our previous last event: concerts! We got no wristbands this time, and stood in line for a while, but it was no problem getting in. We went to our favorite corner again and set up our foodless picnic.

The pre-show for this evening's concerts was actually Round 4 of the Omegathon! Logically enough, it was Rock Band. It must've been pretty cool for the contestants, because it was like truly being a rock star as 5,000 people were jumping up and down cheering as they 'performed'. They broke the eight remaining contestants into two bands of four for this event. I'm curious how they did that, since it seems kind of unfair to lose because your teammates (who were previously your opponents) weren't any good. But anyway, one team outscored the other (just barely!), and four contestants remained. Oh, also, the Penny Arcade people performed a Rock Band number before this, all playing on Expert, very impressive.

Then the first act that actually produced their own music was Anamanaguchi. Just didn't like them. They'd start every song with a little videogamey chiptune melody, then after a couple of seconds, completely bury it under a wall of thrash noise. Not for me.

Next up was The Darkest Of The Hillside Thickets. They are a Lovecraft-themed band, which would've been funny if the lyrics were hearable (remember, the sound at all the shows was very bad. It occurs to me today, though, that that may have also related to our location. It probably sounded a lot better in the middle near the stage). Their outfits were definitely entertaining, with two guys with goat legs and horns, one with tentacles all over, one with a Cthulhu head, and one... well, he just kinda was covered with light strings and cords and things. Did Lovecraft ever write about robots?

We actually left shortly into the Thickets set. We were far beyond tired after two very very full days of being 'on' all the time and walking around. I was sad because I really wanted to see MC Frontalot, who was up next (The Minibosses would've followed him as well, but mainly I've been intrigued by Frontalot for some time), but I was happier just to sleep. And I swear the second night concerts were even louder than the first. Or maybe it's just that I was yet one more day older. I am too old.
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