(Warning: excessive sentimental foreward, then a shit ton of photos)
For the third time, I had the pleasure of attending PAX Prime. It was great to once again see the now almost familiar sights, be completely surrounded by the culture I grew up loving and to just get out of the oppressive Arizona heat. Although it was my third time, it was still filled with memorable first moments for me. The first time I got my hands on a WiiU; the first time I finally managed to attend a panel on becoming an artist within the industry; the first time (in a long time, at least) that I could play Asteroids in an actual arcade; the first time I got to wear the Destructoid helmet! But by far the most important first for me, was something I've been struggling to do since the first time I came: I made friends.
I know that sounds pretty sappy, but it's true. The biggest reason I finally created an account at Destructoid after reading the site for several years was right before my first PAX. I had seen all the meetups that were planned for the site, and I very much wanted to be a part of it. I joined in the hopes that I could develop an identity and people would want to hangout with me. It worked, sort of. Having an identity didn't help my crippling social anxiety, and for the most part, whenever I showed up at a Destructoid event, I wandered around, made some awkward conversation and left early, overwhelmed by self-loathing and my inability to talk to strangers, though I enjoyed myself a few times. But this year was totally different.
I decided that I would share a hotel room with other people from Destructoid, instead of getting one by myself like I had the previous two years, in the hopes that it would lead me to meet more people. I ended up arranging to stay with Cataract, Glichy and Knives, which was the best thing that could've happened to me. They were nothing short of awesome, and by fifth-wheeling around with them I met Ali D, IcarusKills, Mr Gobbldigook and Gobun; several more ridiculously friendly and awesome people. With a comfort zone established, I managed the fortitude to stick around the gatherings and actually talk and meet lots of people. I got a chance to talk briefly with Max. Tara, Anthony Carboni from Rev3Games, Hamza and Niero (even though I can't remember a single thing about it). I even got a chance to geek out about cameras with Dale North! THAT SHIT WAS AWESOME!
AH EM. Anyways, what I meant to do with this blog before it became an emotional outpouring was share my photos. Now I didn't really take many pictures of the show floor, or games, or cosplayers. You can find those pictures pretty much anywhere else. What really matters to me are the people. It's the unique moments with friends that really tickle my inner photojournalist, and mean much more to me then soulless pictures of under dressed women. Before I get to the pictures, I leave you with one last line of emotional dreck: For the first time, I can say that I am excited for PAX not because of all the nifty new video games and merchandise (and getting the fuck out of Arizona), but because of the many exemplary people that have left an indelible mark on my life.
After meeting up with Glitchy and Cataract the night before PAX, we made our way over to IcarusKill's place and meetup with him, Gobun, Mr Gobbldigook and Ali D. It was at this point I was introduced to Cards Against Humanity, which I am now convinced to be the greatest thing ever.
IcarusKills was kind enough to cook some wonderful burgers...
...even if they were a bit crispy.
Mr Gobbldigook and Cataract share a moment. No, I wasn't jealous. I swear.
I was trying to take a candid group picture at arms length, and not doing too well. A guy across from us demanded, “Give me your camera.” After briefly considering telling him to get lost and/or mock his more then likely shitty camera skills (I was right), I handed it to him and he took a few pictures. Apparently I was the only one still interested in making it seem candid.
Jumping forward to the end of the meetup on Thursday, I was drunk on ambrosial IPA and my unexpected success at socializing. Sitting by myself at a small table, Niero came and sat next to me, and engaged in conversation. Hamza joined soon after. I can't at all remember what was said, but I greatly enjoyed, and was honored by, their presence. Eventually, they started talking business, which triggered my “shit I feel awkward better take a picture so I don't have to try talking” reaction. Not as awesome as last year's picture, but significant nonetheless.
Friday afternoon, at the Destructoid panel. Much more interesting, and somehow insane, then last year. Max's reaction in that picture is quite accurate. The new Podtoid animation is quite mind-blowing.
“Hello, puny human!” PanaMusica (I think?) and his kid. Hamza eventually stopped during the Q&A to apologize about showing the Podtoid animation with his kid present. Hilarity/traumatized childhood ensued.
My terrible attempt at taking the group photo. Highlight: Someone urging the group to move into the shadows, shouting “C AMERAS DON'T WORK THAT WAY HAMZA!” as I demonstrated here.
There were lots of people up front, so I moved to the side and took another terrible picture.
Moving on to the Saturday meetup at The Elephant & Castle. Here we have featured Cataract and Glitchy, surrounded by other lovely people(s).
Mr Gobbldigook, some faceless creature, Beccy (another triumphant person I meet this year) and IcarusKills listen on to Cataract's complex plan to takeover the world.
ScottyG (I think?) shows Beccy how to accurately counterfeit money, while Mr Gobbldigook waves and makes a silly face.
Hey guys, did you know Gobun and Spencer wear the same sized clothing?
Looking at my pictures, you can tell the exact moment that I get really drunk is when I think “Bulb exposure with flash IS THE GREATEST IDEA EVER”
A Very Cool Man I Neglected To Meet shows his love for JackShadow
We watch in horror as Hamza demonstrates his ability for out of body experiences
Glitchy watches in disgust as Mr Gobbldigook whispers sweet nothings into Gobun's ear
ScottyG (I think?) shares in a robust conversation with RobotBebop
Knives and Glitchy embrace in an effort to give me cavities
Ali D sneaks up on IcarusKills and Glitchy
With surprise special guest, Mr. Freddie Wong! He left before I realized who he was, otherwise I would've briefly considered talking to him before settling with being a timid turtoise
ScottyG (I think?) shares in a loving high five
Mr Gobbldigook kisses JJMcCallum (yet another awesome person) goodnight
This is what happens when a drunken, egotistical photographer who loves self-portraits meanders down a street with countless convex mirrors
And now in the final stretch, here we are at Sunday's final celebration at Rock Bottom. JJMcCallum poses while everyone else pretends that they don't know I'm taking a picture
Beccy perches on a Mr Gobbldigook
MuddBastard, clearly enjoying a hug with Mr Andy Dixon
And possibly soiling himself (and Mr Andy Dixon)
A picture of my water glass. Oh, and also Glitchy and Cataract
JJMcCallum shares elemental love to Ali D
A Very Cool Man I Neglected To Meet shares a silly face. Maybe I should get a silly face group picture next year.
Mr Gobbldigook, Spencer and Cataract acting as a plinth for the classical Greek statue that is Gobun. The only thing missing?
Athena and Hera (err, I mean JackShadow and Glitchy)
And then we threw in a Beccy for good measure
IcarusKills demonstrates how not to give a massage
While Spencer steps in to clean up
The gang lines up for one last love train, while I silently lament, “Always the photographer, never the lover :(“
And Ali D bids farewell to JackShadow.
And that's it! If you made it this far then Flying Spaghetti Monster bless you. If you noticed that my pictures tended to jump around a bit, that's because I also shot a bunch of film that I haven't gotten developed yet. So if you enjoyed this ridiculously overwrought trek through memory lane, stick around because shortly I will have more, and assuming I wasn't too drunk to not screw up the exposure and composition, maybe they will be even more awesome! Thanks again for everyone who took time to hangout with me, and dealt with my hanging on. PAX 2013 (and hopefully MAGfest!) can't come soon enough.