Even when I received my pass in the post, I still couldnít believe I was actually going to PAX. I felt something would go wrong; like Iíd be turned away from US Customs for having a beard or something. So after saying bye to my mum and dad, I boarded my plane from Glasgow to Philly, then to Seattle.
When I arrived in Seattle, I was greeted by Storyr, Suffocat, bleachboy and Solgrim at the airport. Despite the fact it was pissing it down raining we made good progress back to Storyrís place, just outside Tacoma. Everyone was really nice, and after some pizza we sat down and watched Black Dynamite and also played some Youíre In The Movies (see Suffocatís Facebook page for a crazy video starring Storyrís arse). I was dead tired, so much so I couldnít keep my eyes open playing the Scott Pilgrim game with the guys. I crashed out, strangely in Storyrís parentís bed. Thankfully, they were not present in the house at that time.
A groggy start welcomed me to my first full day in the US. After some fumbling about, all of us got ready and headed out to do some shopping. First stop was a clothing store where we were looking for clothing to complete Suffocatís sax man cosplay. What we did find were some Brutal Legend boxer shorts! Then it was onto a costume store to find an inflatable sax. Sadly there was none, but there were plenty of costumes for Solgrim to dress up in.
We got some groceries and Storyr treated us to some grilling skills. We had a cool evening, culminating in watching The Room: if you donít know what that is, let me elaborate. Itís the cinematic equivalent of having someone vomit in your face. Itís a terrible, terrible movie only made bearable by watching it in company and by playing the drinking game. We also had some fun playing Youíre In The Movies, with a guest appearance by Storyrís arse. Itís a fun game, but I think that a Kinnect version would be even better. We all headed to bed in readiness of tomorrowís trip to Seattle.
After a quick bit of lunch, we headed into the city by bus to meet up with the first of the Dtoiders in the city. Me and Icarus went with Diverse to find a tattoo place heíd been recommended to get his tattoo done. When Diverse was informed that it was a mile away, he simply went to the nearest Tattoo joint. When informed of the price, we immediately left and headed for the space needle, but were again put off by the price. We all headed to Gameworks for the pre-PAX meetup. A good time was had by all, introductions were made, drinks were consumed and arcade games were played. A good time was had by all and much booze was consumed, especially the custom Destructoid cocktail that was created by one of the barmen there:
Up and at Ďem! Me, Icarus and Changston all headed to the expo floor fairly early. Then once we were let in, Josh and I realised that the keynote speech by Warren Spector was in the theatre down the street. Díoh! We hightailed it there and missed a bit at the start but we got seated fairly quickly. Then the Penny Arcade Q&A session started with the surprise of one of the Penny Arcade crew getting proposed to, which was rather sweet. On the way back from the theatre, Josh and I bumped into Jerry from Penny Arcade and some fanboy gushing were heard. We also came across some pretty cool Assassin's Creed viral marketing:
After some quick lunch, Josh and I headed to the show floor and were quickly bewildered by all the things to see and do. After wandering around in a daze, we finally started queuing up for Portal 2. The line moved pretty quickly and we got some snazzy Portal 2 t-shirts, but the demo was good. The scale of the new Portal 2 levels is insane and all the new gameplay features look to enhance the original game tenfold. The demo was of the co-op campaign and I was pleased to hear that itís a completely separate campaign from the single player.
Once we were done, we headed back to the hotel for a rest before heading out to the Elephant and Castle. Unfortunately, not a good time was had. The staff were stand-offish to say the least, and after a quick dinner, most of us retreated back to Gameworks. My jet lag was starting to kick in again, so I called it a night.
Of course, the first thing on the agenda was the Destructoid Live Panel; Hamza was nice enough to get me, Josh, Zodiac Eclipse and her husband Lukas in early so we were right at the front. Seeing everyone have pre-presentation nerves was really funny. The presentation was awesome, from the aborted start of the pre-pax orgy to the eating contest, the Bit Trip announcement, Q&A session and then outside for a photograph. A truly epic time was had by all, photos were taken, more meet and greets happened and energy drinks were consumed.
Afterwards, some of us headed to the Cheesecake Factory to eat some pizza. Go figure. Changston and I headed for the Chiptune showcase, just in time to catch Zen Albatross do his thing which was wicked. After that, I hit the convention floor hard with one goal: play Duke Nukem forever. I manged to get into the line for Duke Nukem: Forever along with fellow Dtoiders Azereki and Hope. 2 hours and 45 minutes later, I actually got to play Duke Nukem: Forever! Holy fucking crap! It still boggles my mind that I played it. I mean, you know exactly what to expect, but itís still a game I look forward to immensely. Afterwards, I managed to catch the last Dragon Age II presentation, no hands on time but it was still cool to see the game.
That night was the big ďSuit-erdayĒ night out; Dtoiders all headed to the Chapel Bar for a fun night out. Definitely one of the best night outs Iíve had. Of course Div3rse got really drunk, which was hilarious, but good times were had by all. Apart from the dude who got mugged outside. But all Dtoiders had a great night, especially with the forum created Brournal being handed out for Dtoid community members to write their own entries for. Good luck whoever has to decipher my drunk-ass handwriting.
Argh! The last day of PAX and just enough time to fit in some more games. Hit the floor running and managed to have two sessions of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Assassinís Creed Brotherhood, Fallout New Vegas, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Battle Chess, Microsoft Kinnect Adventures and more! I was dog tired by the end of the day, but thankfully Changston came to me aid by organising some sushi dinner with some fellow Dtoid buddies. Sake bombs all around!
Afterwards, we headed to Rock Bottom (only pausing to be serenaded by the Ice Cream truck) where we had our final community meetup. The place was packed, but I managed to get in some quality time with the PAD guys, Guncannon, Powerglove and Kraid. Shitty movie recommendations were thrown about and fun times were had. Eventually, we moved outside for some last minute bonding, goodbyes and Hamza bestowed some Mr Destructoid bobbleheads on some lucky community members including myself. It was indeed an honour to receive a Mr Destructoid bobblehead; itís like winning an Oscar or something! Much thanks Hamza.
And so it ends...
With only two hours sleep under my belt, I left Seattle on Monday morning for my two day trip back home. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon...... urrrruuugghghggghh............
But seriously, I had the best time of my life. I thought I was going to be overwhelemed by the whole PAX experience, but if youíve seen any pictures of me I was grinning like an absolute moron for the whole weekend. I donít think Iíve ever looked happier. My face hurt from all the smiling I did. I left messages on my Facebook page telling my friends what games Iíd played and I saw all their jealous responses. I met and hung out with awesome people, community and staff alike. PAX is now something I want to do every year. I'm already forming plans about what I want to do next year to avoid the hellish jet lag I had. I also want to help Dextructoid out, by helping plan events or taking photos or video.... whatever happens, I'll see you guys next year!
Storyr - Massive props goes to Storyr for letting both myself, Suffocat, bleachboy and Solgrim stay at his place. It was great to arrive in the US a couple days earlier and help get over my jetlag. We all had a blast man! Thank you.
Icarus - Josh did a great job at organising a room for us at the Sheraton.
Solgrim and Changston - both these guys shared a room with myself and Icarus and we had a great time. Changston was a little late, but he brought some amazing bacon brownies that wowed everyone. Heís also a top notch dancer and an all round awesome dude. Solgrim: the man, the legend. Weíd been staying at Storyrís place for a couple of days, so we were already familiar but after a couple days sharing a hotel room, we became firm buddies. This guy knows how to rock a party and is the friendliest, nicest drunk you could ever hope to meet.
Public Access Destructoid - You guys rock; meeting Jon Carnage, Venom and the lovely Cierra was a total blast. Carnage is like some kind of deranged crazy guy, wrapped in the shell of an awesome dude. We swapped crappy movie recommendations and shot the shit for ages on Sunday night. I look forward to sending you some crazy vids that I find in the future.
Hamza - you da man. Man. I had a blast at PAX and I want to thanks you for organising some great things at PAX.
Niero - I wouldnít ever have gone to PAX and had this amazing time if it wasnít for you. Thanks dude. Also, your hair is amazing.
Tactix - dude, it was superb to meet you. The sushi on Sunday night was a great time and many laughs were had by all.
Zodiac Eclipse & Lucas - finally got to meet MOM (and Mr MOM)!
Div3rse - u gay son? ;)
Guncannon, Jack Shadow and Kraid - forum members represent!
Scotty G, Funktastic, Elsa, Mongoose, Dexter 345, Sean Caret, Walrusmustache, Johnny Viral..... thereís too many Dtoiders to mention.... I hope I see you soon. If I didnít meet you or introduce myself, then I will make up for it next year.
Azereki and Hope - that three hour wait was worth it!
Pew, Hollie, Justice, Mikey, Anus and Halfie - you Dtoid UK guys are awesome. Next time Iím back home Iím giving you guys a shoutout for some NARP loving.
Aubrey and Geoff @ Soutpeak games - great meeting you guys, Battle Chess looks like a lot of fun and hopefully we can catch up at PAX again.
Coming Soon! Stevil's less than amazing PAX adventure.