Hello, I'm Holly Green, formerly of TheTanooki.com and a contributor at SpriteStitch.com. My favorite series are Fallout, Diablo, Left 4 Dead, and Legend of Zelda. The top ten most played games on my Raptr file in order: Skyrim, New Vegas, Borderlands, Dead Island, The Sims 3, Dance Central 2, LA Noire, Zombie Driver, Plants Vs. Zombies, and Alice: Madness Returns. My favorite game of all time is Diablo II. Among my favorite games are Castle Crashers, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, American McGee's Alice, Fallout 3, GTASA, Alan Wake, and Deadly Premonition.
My first gaming memory is of my mother, playing BurgerTime. The first console I ever owned was the Sega Genesis. The first game I ever mastered was Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The first game I ever bought for myself as an adult woman was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The first console I ever bought for myself was the Playstation 2.
I love playing user made games and mods. I'm also a big fan of horror games (and novels, and movies...)and supernatural themed thrillers. And I have never died in my entire life. Howdy!
So you're going to PAX Prime 2012! As a long time resident of the area, I welcome you to the city of Seattle. If you've booked one of the PAX affiliated hotels, you'll likely find it easy to track down food and other necessities while you stay, as Seattle has a well organized downtown area with a vast variety of resources. If you're looking for tips on transportation, where to go, and where to eat and drink, read on my friend!
Seattle Metro is fairly easy to use, especially if you have a smartphone and download the app One Bus Away. While you're downtown you probably won't have to use the bus system, but if you do, most of the area surrounding the Convention Center is part of the "Free Ride" zone, and you won't have to pay fare. Buses leaving the downtown area can generally be found on 3rd Ave., about four blocks south of the CC. When finding a route, be sure to check if it picks up on the street, or in the tunnel beneath 3rd Ave. There are many places to enter the tunnel, but I usually prefer the University Street entrance, located at Benaroya Hall.
Bus fare is $2.25, $2.50 during the peak hours from 6-9am and 3-6pm Monday through Friday. Your transfer ticket is good for up to three hours. Seattle Metro only accepts cash (or the local ORCA card system).
Check this map for details on the Free Ride Zone and the downtown area Metro tunnel:
Seattle's light rail is efficient and a much less expensive way to travel from the Sea-Tac airport. Generally a ticket from the Westlake (that is, the downtown area near the CC and many of the PAX affiliated hotels) to Sea-Tac or vice versa costs $2.75.
The light rail picks up in the tunnel beneath 3rd Ave. It is required you pay fare before embarking, as they do not sell tickets onboard. The ticket vending machine can be found on the train platform and it accepts cash, VISA, or Mastercard. Get more details here:
I personally recommend Yellow Cab, (206) 622-6500, as they have a $6 flat rate all the way up to Mercer St. of Queen Anne and down to S Dearborn St in Pioneer Square.
Where To Visit In Seattle:
You'll likely want to stay in the general downtown area, as venturing in a city you're unfamiliar with is generally unwise. But if you do find yourself feeling adventurous and prepare yourself well with a smartphone, Google Maps, and plenty of cab/bus fare, here are some fun places to visit during your stay.
Seattle Center/Space Needle/the Monorail
You know why they call it the Monorail right? Because it only goes one place, hyuck hyuck. But seriously, it only goes to the Space Needle. Head to the top of Westlake Center on Pine between 4th and 5th Ave and pay a $4 round trip fare to the Seattle Center and back. While you're there you can get a bite at Center House (with a newly opened Skillet location!) or check out the new Chihuly Garden beneath the Space Needle. If it's hot, consider a quick race to the center of the International Fountain.
Pike Place Market
It's cliche, but the Market really is a great place to spend an afternoon. You know, when it isn't so crowded. One highlight is the variety of cheap bouquets available from Washington's many flower farms; visitors can get a beautiful bunch of posies for as little as $10 or $5. I personally like to hit up Pike Place Chinese Cuisine on the second floor and buy a humbow through their service window so I can eat it as I walk around. Right around the corner on 1st Ave. is the Rocky Mountain Candy Company, where you can get everything from Oreo bark to decadent candy apples, drenched in a variety of rich chocolates and sweets.
Pike Place is also home to Post Alley's infamous "Gum Wall", accessed through the brick path between the Market and First & Pike News; be sure to stop by and leave a wad of your own!
Seattle Great Wheel This is a new feature on Seattle's waterfront, and can be accessed with a short walk down to the pier. Tickets are $13 and can be purchased online.
This Queen Anne area park features the best view in all of Seattle--it's actually where I took the shot used in the header for this post. It can be reached by taking the #2 Metro bus from downtown Seattle on 3rd Ave.
This tribute to Hendrix can be found up in Capitol Hill at 1798 Broadway. Take the #9 from Pine and 5th to reach it. Afterwards you can round the corner and hit up the mind blowing Molly Moon's. A Dick's location is also a short walk away.
This is the neighborhood surrounding Seattle Center and has a diverse restaurant and club scene. It can be reached by taking the 2, 13, 15, or 18 route from downtown Seattle on 3rd Ave or by taking the Monorail and exiting Seattle Center. Places of note are the Irish whiskey bar T.S. McHugh's, a classic Dick's sit-in restaurant, Seattle staple Pagliacci's Pizza, and Kidd Valley, home of the world's best deep fried mushrooms. Also, no trip to Seattle is satisfactory without a trip to Peso's for their happy hour, where as little as $5 will net you bacon shrimp quesadillas or honey walnut drenched prawns.
Best described as Seattle's gay neighborhood, Capitol Hill is usually home to several pub crawls during PAX Prime. It can be reached simply by walking east from downtown Seattle, or taking the Metro #10 from Madison and 2nd up to E Pine and Broadway. There you'll find an eclectic jam packed selection of organic coffee shops, jazz clubs, consignment boutiques, hole in the wall gin bars, smoke shops, Asian fusion restaurants, vegan bistros, and more. There is nowhere more "Seattle" than Capitol Hill.
Located south of Seattle's downtown leading into the stadium district, Pioneer Square can be a dangerous place to cross through at night. Nonetheless, they have the city's highest concentration of sports bars, many of which offer live music and cheap drinks on the weekends. It's also home to Elysian Fields, arguably one of Seattle's finest microbreweries (try the Men's Room Red, or the Loser) with an impressive menu to boot. Reaching this neighborhood is as easy as talking a walk; hit 1st Ave. and keep going south for best results. And be sure to cut through Occidental Ave. on your way back.
In between downtown Seattle and Queen Anne lies this posh and trendy neighborhood, home to a variety of upscale restaurants and posh nightclubs. One major highlight is Mama's Kitchen on 2nd Ave., serving up great Mexican food in an atmosphere that's classic Seattle. If you're in the mood for a non-virtual game during your PAX stay, hit up Belltown Billiard's on Blanchard and 1st. Shorty's on 2nd Ave. serves up some pinball fun alongside super cheap PBR.
Finding good Asian food is as easy as closing your eyes and pointing when you're in the International District. Visit Uwajimaya to stock up on manga and Ramune or visit their massive food court where you can get a variety of authentic Japanese cuisine. To get there take the tunnel down to King Street Station or just walk south from downtown. Once you're there just head inward and walk into almost any restaurant for amazing hot pot or sashimi or pho or dim sum...it's endless really. My friend Gil Ruta from Nintendo is a regular over at Honeycourt Seafood on Maynard Ave, which has some pretty tasty duck hot pot. And don't leave without getting a Seattle favorite: bubble tea.
This list is somewhat limited to what you can access during PAX Prime without sacrificing too much time or money, while at the same time filtering through the crap. If you're in a bind, don't forget you can always pop up to the top of Westlake Center on Pine between 4th and 5th to hit up everything from McDonald's to Sbarro's, with Thai, sushi, teriyaki and even crawfish available in the formidable food court (they also have the nicest public bathroom facility in the downtown area). I visit Candy Thyme, outside the Monorail station, on a weekly basis.
Note: some of these locations are not in the immediate downtown area and may require a small amount of travel. You can easily figure out what neighborhood an address is in by looking at the road names: anything with "South" is in Pioneer Square, "East" markings indicate Capitol Hill, and "North" designates Queen Anne. Neighborhoods with "SW", "NW", "NE" and "SE" will likely be too far for you to travel during your stay and thus have been left out of this list.
The 5 Point Cafe (open 24 hours, pancakes the size of dinner plates, full menu all day, best diner food!)
415 Cedar Street
Seattle, WA 98119
Peso's Kitchen and Lounge (best happy hour in the city, and one of the few breakfast happy hours)
605 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
Beth's Cafe (Features 12 egg omelet. Open 24 hours.)
7311 Aurora Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103
The Shanty Cafe (diner food with a great specials menu, try the Rockefeller Oysters if you can!)
350 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119
Bamboo Garden (mostly Chinese but other Asian dishes too like udon. Great cocktail list)
364 Roy Street
Seattle, WA 98109
Pike Place Chowder (has a delicious vegan chowder)
600 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
check other my listings; Zig Zag Cafe and Wild Ginger are also vegan friendly
The Crabpot (one of my fave restaurants, period)
1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98101
Ivar's 1001 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98104
Clay's Market (next door to the Convention Center)
815 Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98101
222 Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98101
1628 5th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Kress IGA Supermarket
1427 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Where Not To Visit:
These excursions just generally aren't worth the price and/or effort: the EMP, Gameworks (except for the Dtoid get together of course), going to the top of the Space Needle, Olympic Sculpture Park.
And of course folks, always be careful in the city if you're going to be attending one of the many PAX Prime pub crawls. It seems every year we got groups painting half of Capitol Hill with their barf and getting alcohol poisoning. If you're gonna bar hop with the best of 'em, stick to a beer per pub or less! PAX is substantially less fun when you're drunkover.
You should also take caution when traveling through Pioneer Square (anything east of 1st Avenue S) or going through 2nd & Pike (unfortunately the location of both the gourmet Japanese hot dog cart and the new downtown Target). Walk quickly and do not allow yourself to be approached. Slip into large groups if you can. The Seattle area homeless are very friendly and are easily placated with a quarter and/or a smile, but in the noted areas you are better off not stopping unless you have to.
ALSO--Seattle just passed a new ordinance that requires you pay $0.05 for plastic bags when you go shopping. Whether it's Old Navy or Metropolitan Market, they're required to ask if you'd like to "buy a bag today" during the transaction. Unless you brought your own, the answer is always "Yes."
With the dust finally settled I thought I'd share some photos from E3 with you all! This year was my third E3 and I have to say, the best so far. They don't make 'em better than the folks at Dtoid. Oh and the Flixist. I can't forget those lovely people who housed our insanity for a party the last night of E3. All in all I was impressed with how much I got done and how little kidney failure occurred. I came home all in one piece with a tiny bit of energy to spare. That's more than I can say for any convention I've ever attended. That would not have happened without such a supportive and wonderful team.
These pics are all taken from a variety of sources, various Twitter and FB pages of Destructoid writers mostly. If you're wondering who took what, it mostly comes down to: high def shots taken at good angles are Dale's, photos with filters on them are Niero's, Santa Monica photos are Jonathan Ross's, faded smartphone snaps are mine. Mostly.
When it was over it was almost like summer camp; I didn't want to have to go home. I didn't want it to end.
Undoubtedly this picture is my favorite from E3 2012. And it wasn't even during the event. If I remember right this was taken while the guys visited Santa Monica. I, meanwhile, checked into my flight 8 hours early so I could write in an airport sports bar. I'm kinda sad that I didn't go but in retrospect it was probably for the best. Running on four hours of sleep a night, less than 500 calories of solid food a day, five or more drinks a night, and walking at least five miles a day if not more...yeah, I had a bit of catching up to do in the writing department.
On the day everyone flew in, Tony and I got stuck at the hotel, unable to check in, for about seven hours. To pass the time we played Scribblenauts Remix on my iPad.
We also went to some random taco place a few blocks away and enjoyed a warm pitcher of Michelob in plastic cups. It was actually quite enjoyable.
Ha, don't we look productive. No one will acknowledge that I am taking a pic. At least Brett cooperated.
Oh how Jim pined for Holmes.
Chad did not disappoint in the ecstatic department. He's also one of the nicest and funnest people to hang out with ever. They do not make people better than Chad. Nope.
Don't leave him hangin', Tony.
I have this beer stein now. I shall never part with it. I made Michael Futter go buy me a tall boy just so I could use it.
These guys. We're in the middle of a swingin' party and they all stop to check messages. NOTE: I have since been corrected, they were putting up a post. Which makes me a dumb :(
Patrick Hancock (middle) is one of the funniest guys you ever met, you just don't know it yet. I kinda wish he'd talk more. Steven Hansen (right) is cooler than all of us and regularly dresses like a member of The Strokes.
The only snap Jim took at E3.
We found the Unabomber.
You guys so wacky. Brett Zeidler and Jonathan Ross, who are knee deep in a burgeoning bromance.
Hamza tried to convince me he wasn't falling asleep in his chair. I had to take photographic proof of his lies.
Daniel Starkey has the best surprised face you could ever hope to see. Its charisma is truly infectious.
This is the man that tells me what to do on a daily basis. Yup.
Hamza is very, very hairy. You can't stand too close to him or you get tangled.
Also, he and Niero really like to show off their biceps. Which I am fine with.
I have this amazing talent for never showing up in these photos.
If Conrad Zimmerman had a superpower, it'd be the ability to oscillate between looking like a healthy looking human being and looking like he's dying of both AIDS and cancer at any given moment. We all agreed this photo should be an album cover.
Not only is Max adorable in this pic but it's also the only one I can find that I'm in. You can see me far in the background there, the chick with the bitchin' hat.
Go buy Cards Against Humanity. Do not question me, just do it.
I don't know what's more dangerous, Tony's impeccable aim or his terrifying eyebrows. Seriously, he has evil villain eyebrows. I'm pretty sure they're wanted in ten states.
The Dtoid/Flixist party was one of the better ones I've ever been to.
Meanwhile, Brett Zeidler looks on, confused, in the background.
Daniel Starkey is just adorbs.
Though Brett does give him a run for the money in the adorbs department.
Ryan Perez accessorizes much better than I do.
Oops guess I lied, I guess one pic of me did get out. For you see, I'm actually Tara Long in disguise.
Actually Tara Long is the coolest lady alive and I adore her. Also Felicia Day was pretty cool, she has a very genuine spirit about her.
We were treated to a Polynesian feast the final night of the event. Never had better company over dinner.
I'm really excited to see everyone when they join me up here in Seattle for PAX Prime. Maybe for fun we'll all take a ride on the new ferris wheel on the pier (and promptly go flying into the ocean).
So far this head band has survived four plane rides and just as many conventions. The day it breaks once and for all will be a dark one. I'm sure there'll be a lot of stomping and incoherent hollering.
Today I decided that a Mr. Destructoid Perler bead sprite for PAX East just isn't enough. No. I will not be content until I can wear him around my neck like a gleaming robotic trophy head.
This was constructed out of Fimo clay and a little gloss. As you can see I added a hole in the bottom, for....reasons. Actually that makes it so I can slip in a pin and use it as a pendant. Not bad for a few hours work eh? Now to see if I have the patience to make two smaller versions of this bead so I can have earrings (spoiler alert: no.)
I love geekcraft! But what I love even more is making geekcraft and giving away my creations. Every time I attend a convention, I always make a themed Perler bead sprite for my fellow writers as a momento to mark the occasion. During my time at The Tanooki, I made a tanooki suit Mario, and we made a game of trying to get various industry members to pose with it.
PAX East will be my first event as a member of Destructoid so I figured I needed a new sprite. That meant starting from scratch with all new custom pixel work! Luckily Mr. Destructoid is pretty simple to make, and it took me all of ten minutes to come up with. I'd provide a pattern, but really, the pattern is in the picture itself! Feel free to make one of your own. The colors used are (Perler unless otherwise noted) Black, Dark Green, Gray, Dark Gray, Red, and Dark Red Hama.