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Hi there! I'm MeanderBot. I enjoy video games. My video game playing history begins like many others: someone across the street got an NES, then I stumbled across a used stack of Nintendo Power at a swap meet, and soon enough I was spending more time with a controller in my hand then lying in my bed.

As mentioned above, I'm a bit of a Nintendo fanboy. Though I'd like to think I'm open minded enough to not get needlessly insulted whenever someone slights Ninty, while being able to acknowledge its shortcomings. But if it's got a big red N on it, chances are it will fall within my sphere of desire. I have every other current gen system, and thanks to the rediscovery of a local swapmart, I've pulled my SNES and NES out of storage so I can agonize over trying to get the damned things to work. I also try to do some gaming on my crappy PC, which usually ends up being either six+ old games, or indie games. Which is pretty much all I could ask for.

Outside of zeroes and ones, I'm also interested in skateboarding, drawing, photography and drinking a metric asston of soda. But that stuff's boring.
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As I have been known to go on for at length, I go to PAX a lot. And I enjoy myself. A lot. But as I wondered through the exhibit hall for the third year in a row, everything was beginning to feel a bit too familiar. What was once a great adventure was dangerously close to becoming routine. And as I spent precious time with the lovely cherubs that is the Destructoid community, I heard whispered echoes of a magical place. Like a garbled message heard in a fever dream.

“...MAGfest...”

“...come to MAGfest...”

Despite the consensual stories of unrelenting joy and golden memories, I balked at these claims. And better than PAX? Madness. But despite my skepticism, and dwindling finances, I decided to make the trip. My wanderlust would not allow me to do otherwise. And although my credit card still aches like an old wound, I can describe my decision to go as the polar opposite of regret. My enjoyment of the trip could not be overstated, and I continued my streak of actually talking to and meeting people instead of cowering under a sheath of social anxiety. Naturally I was armed with my faithful cameras to record the insanity. And even though my bank statement paints a bleak outlook, I will do everything in my power to go again.

So those in the know are aware that this post is late. By about six months. And with cruel time combined with my supernatural ability to be terrible with names, I have forgotten the name of some people who made my time there much more enjoyable. So just know that I have not forgotten you, just your name. If I ever see you again I assure you, you will be greeted with the utmost warmth. Also, some of the details have become foggy, so I will share what I can and try not to be too obnoxious about it.



After a long flight and an infuriating shuttle ride, I finally arrive at the hotel and quickly run into Cataract whom I am glad to say still gives awesome hugs. After checking in with the hotel and the Destructoid group, I settle down and receive an invitation from Changston to accompany him on a mission to pickup Glitchy from the airport. What resulted was a comedy of errors as we desperately tried to navigate our way through Virginia's bastardization of a highway system before our phones die. Against all odds, we managed to get to the airport and ferry Glitchy to the hotel. Though the ride was a good time, it meant that I missed out on Mega Ran's show. However, I did manage to catch The Megas's Show, which was awesome AND also featured a cameo from Mega Ran. A nice compromise.



The first act I catch the next day is Danimal Cannon. One of the few acts I had some familiarity with. Awesome chiptunes along with a rocking electric guitar. If you haven't heard Roots yet, I highly recommend it.





Next up was Crashfaster. Had some good tunes, although the main vocalist used some crazy voice effect that I wasn't quite a fan of. But I was bobbing rhythmically to it, so I guess I can't complain too much.





Afterwards I made my way for the Destructoid panel, where I ran around taking pictures and being reminded of how limited my knowledge of video game music is.





What's a Meanderbot appearance at a community event without a terribly taken group photo?

After a few other bands, I returned to my room to find that a party had formed there. All the more eager to be part, I quickly downed several beers and wielded my camera.





Changston doing what he does best: shaking his ass



I think this is my favorite picture of the weekend, a cheerful Apathy embracing an equally cheerful or greater than cheerful Changston



An emphatic man demonstrates something to Glitchy and Dyganth



One of the few pictures I have of the lovely Julius. Despite being nervous of hosting someone I hadn't ever heard of, he ended up being nothing but a joy. He even saved my ass by driving me back to the bar we just left because I left my camera there. Oops.



Here we have a picture of MYSTERY MAN, Aaron Mxy Yost, Changston and OTHER MYSTERY MAN. Aaron is a lovely human being. One of the few people to recognize my screen name. Pity I didn't get to know him better.



A wide group shot. There are a lot of these, because I'm too scared to get up close to people. On the left, pointing out a stain on my shirt is N7. Is it getting redundant to say he was a lovely person? Pretty much everyone was. This includes his younger brother, whose name I cannot recall but nonetheless enjoyed his company.





Tino: “How you doing down there?”

???:“Well actually-”

Apathy: GLUG GLUG GL



Tino: “Ok buddy, sounds good!”

???: “MmrrmmMphhh”

Apathy: UG GLUG GLUG

Dyganth: “I'm gonna allow it.”



And here we have this iconic picture. This picture is particularly frustrating for me. I'm just out of frame on the right. That's my right arm merging under Dyganth's left armpit. Normally I can deal with not being in pictures. But that's usually because I'm the one taking them. Somebody took this picture. But it was with my camera. I guess I'll just have to settle with that.



Later that night was the performance I was looking forward to the most: The Protomen. I've been to a few of their concerts before and I can say without hesitation that their shows are the most fun I have ever had in my (admittedly limited) history of music shows. Though I will say seeing them in a big venue like the MAGfest main stage is absolutely nothing compared to them performing on a bar stage. Now before this becomes a blog about the Protomen show (which it very nearly did) I just get these numerous pictures out of the way and move on before my enthusiasm becomes insurmountable.



The Gambler



FUCK YEAH KILROY



The Gambler, Murphy Weller and Reanimator



Raul Panther III telling it like it



Ringo Segundo



Turbo Lover steps out







A group of people were lucky enough to get a suite, and kind enough to invite us in (briefly)



The view was AMAZING





Aaron slings some wisdom



Afterwards we moved on to somebody's ajoined room, which was pratically filled with people including the lovely Dale North and Niero Gonzalez! Niero pulled out his phone and recorded a video of the room chanting, “HAMZA HAMZA HAMZA” in an attempt to shame him into making it to MAGfest next year.









After consuming several drinks, and not talking to anyone, I get a bit bored and meander off (as I am oft to do) to the main theater where I find that DJ Cutman is playing. I announce on the Groupme chat that I wandered to the main theater, and find to my surprise that Changston and Mark are already there. I quickly locate them and, thanks to my rapidly fading sobriety, proceed to enjoy carelessly dancing for possibly the first time in my life. Seriously, I cannot ever hope to describe how much I enjoyed myself at that moment. I best I could do was capture a few inadequate pictures.


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I DON'T KNOW WHY THIS IS ALL LUMPED TOGETHER AND LOOKS DUMB BUT IT'S 2 AM AND I DON'T REALLY CARE ANYMORE

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And that's pretty much it as far as pictures go! I was tempted to spend several paragraphs going through all the stories I had that had no pictures, so I guess I plow through them now: Adam Dork talking to me, being awesome and giving me a hug, even though I'm pretty sure we never introduced ourselves to each other; Glitchy, Apathy and Julius for being awesome roommates; Julius leaving two bottles of wine for me, Apathy and Glitchy to enjoy; that time where I ordered an IPA and then everyone else got the same thing (I don't know, this made me feel cool for some reason); eating Pot Belly for the first time (there's one opening by my house OMGOMGOMG); Julius for driving my dumbass back to a bar where I left my camera; the amazing karaoke performance of “Always” the Dtoid crew performed at said bar; Julius leaving two bottles of wine for me, Apathy and Glitchy to enjoy; Apathy breaking one of my pencils about half a second before I tell him to be careful and not break my pencil, and yelling at him even though it was my idea; being able to enjoy a REAL ARCADE for the first time in years; a bunch of amazing music I didn't take pictures of and a bunch of other stuff I was either too drunk to remember or just plan forgot. Thanks to everyone I met that made my time there better. I absolutely cannot wait to go again. What's that? Is it better than PAX? Well, you see, that's a complicated question and – HOLY CRAP WHAT'S THAT BEHIND YOU?!








(For full effect, play this in a different tab)

I've been fortunate/spoiled enough to have been able to play video games since I was young. And being of that age where one begins to notice girls for the first time, I spent a lot of time fantasizing about various female protagonists. It might have been because I could naturally project myself onto the heroes of the games I played, or the fact that I was very shy and didn't talk to very many girls. But either way, I have a long list of names of imaginary characters I lusted after. But by far, the most prominent one was Marin from Link's Awakening.



I couldn't tell you exactly why, or at least narrow it down to one reason. It could've been because Marin was the first major female character in a TLoZ game; it could've been because I sympathized with her sad and tragic story; it could've been because she had the hots for Link, and I spent a lot of time pretending to be him; or it could've been because I dig red heads. But all I can say for sure is that every time I hear the Ballad of the Wind Fish, to this day, I instantly become somber, my eyes water up just a bit, and I think of Marin.

PS: HHNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGG










I had this all planned out. Winter theme huh? Easy. Do something that takes place in Winters from Earthbound, be a smartass and call it Winter:Winters. Done. Next thing I know, the first idea for a comic of the gang screwing around, throwing snowballs and making snow Mr. Saturns is going nowhere and what's that? It's the 31st? Crap. So I decided to scale down and just isolate it to a single scene, and actually do something from the game. I somehow stumbled onto an idea that I really like while sketching idly during class, and once I get home from work I knock out a quick pencil drawing while silently cursing myself for not allowing myself time to ink. The result is what you see above.

So about this scene. I've always been rather fond of it, despite it being very short. Tessie is awesome, and I always wish he/she/it played a bigger part in the game. I would've loved to see him/her/it pop up during the Kraken battle and whoop some ass. I really like the music too, starts off nice and relaxing, while building into a triumphant crescendo before fading away, like the enigmatic Tessie slinking away into the ocean. Also, a monkey that floats around by blowing bubble gum bubbles? FUCK. YES.










I am used to being the camera guy. Among all of my friends, I am the one always carrying a fancy camera around, taking pictures and mocking their crappy point-and-shoots at every oppurtunity I could. But the first time I went to PAX, I wasn't the only person running around with a DSLR, which I should have expected at a nerd convention. So in a further effort to stand out as the photo nerd, I decided to bring my big-ass-medium-format-no-nonsense twin lens reflex camera. Last year I got some great shots out of it. I think I made an impression, considering that the first thing both Hamza and Niero said to me this year upon seeing me/it was along the lines of, “So you brought the camera again, huh?” as I nodded and grinned like an idiot. So it sounds like I've received the identity I sought, and hopefully not just because I wielded an almost alien looking camera, but because the pictures that I take help people remember all the good times that were had. But I'll let you decide.

Thursday Meetup @ Gameworks



Lost Triton (I think?) and a gentleman that I had seen several times before at past PAXs that I have yet to learn the name of. Sorry buddy.



Knives and said gentleman embracing



Spencer, LawOfThermalDynamics and One More Gentleman I Neglected To Meet.



Knives, Powerglove and Gentleman try to pretend I'm not taking their picture.



If you had seen my last photo post, you may recall me saying that you can tell when I'm drunk when I start taking pictures with flash and long exposures. Another good sign is when I screw up the focus, even though I'm using a narrow aperture and flash. What could have been.



Gobun hugging Hamza like only a drunk man could.



Eventually I followed people outside and after having a nice conversation with the always lovely Tara Long, I wandered down the street and found a homeless guy with a kitten on his shoulder. Homeless or not, that man is richer then I.



I returned to Gameworks after realizing they still had my debit card, and tried to take a picture of this ridiculous shirt, but Max and Gobun got in the way.



As the night wound down, Niero came by my lonely table and kindly talked to me. Looking at my negatives, I realized I took like five pictures of him. I can be kind of creepy when I'm drunk.

Friday



Waiting in line for the keynote. The only thing I saw for an hour and a half.



Oh boy!



As much as I hated having to leave the Q&A early, one of my favorite panels of the convention, I had to make it over to my other favorite panel of the convention.



The Destructoid panel, in all of its monochromatic majesty.



Oops. Don't cut negatives while drunk, kids.



My annual attempt at taking a terrible group photo.



And then a slightly less terrible photo.



Muddbastard presenting the new Mr. Destructoid helmet!

Saturday



I present to you the evolution of a candid photograph. A Very Cool Man I Neglected To Meet, a shadow, Spencer, Beccy, Ali D and JackShadow converse, still unaware of my presence.



Now aware of my position, they engage in a classic pose and embrace. We are joined by Yet Another Cool Man I Neglected To Meet.



Once they realize that I'm not yet satisfied, things get ugly as hips are thrust, mouths are opened in order to make guttural sounds, and the obligatory sodomy position is assumed. Mr. Gobbldigook has time to hop into the picture with a silly face, completing the cycle.



Mr. Gobbldigook, JJMcCallum and a Mysterious Stranger relax around a table. If I bought more into bullshit artistry, this is were I would suggest that the empty seat is occupied by the viewer, or some such nonsense.



ScottyG (I think?) and Mr. Gobbldigook share a moment.



Knives, Ali D and an arm locked in engaging discussion



Beccy and Ali D enjoying the night together.



JJMcCallum and Knives help me demonstrate the pitfalls of having a side mounted flash.



Mr. Gobbldigook doing what he does best: making silly look sexy.



And by the end of the night, many fallen bodies laid in our wake.

Sunday



A group of people at the meetup at Red Lion.



A terrible moment in which I realize that my flash isn't working. I unfortunately had to lean on my DSLR for all of this hallow night.

Tuesday



And with the help of Sir Gobbldigook, I end my trip with a tourist ass tourist picture.

I almost hate myself for doing this so long after the trip, because I have to remind myself of all the fun I had, all the great people I met and how long it will be until I can do it again. Circa 320 days. Goddammit. See you next year.








(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?



D'AWWWWWWWWWWWW



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.







MeanderBot
2:52 AM on 08.29.2012

Being a boss is a pretty nice position to be in. Dozens of underlings at your beck and call, your own sweet lair and the opportunity to deliver an epic monologue before kicking some ass! But let's face it: chances are that you aren't at the top. So while you do get a taste of power, there's always some jerkface above you with a ridiculous ego and delusions of grandeur. But you have to take the good with the bad, and take solace in the fact that at least you aren't a fuckin' Zeb.



So this is me trying out some grey markers I had lying around for sometime, taunting me with their latent potential. I'm pretty happy with what happened, other then that nonexistent background. I might have to do this again. Or maybe I'll just scribble on some paper with a dried stick of poo. It all depends on what mood strikes me at the time.








(PS bonus alternative punchline)