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Hi there! I'm MeanderBot. I enjoy video games. My video game playing history begins like many others: I was lucky enough to have an early computer to play games on, 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.

Aside from that, I am a visual artist desperately trying to be successful. I consider myself to be the visual art equivalent of a bard. Won't you tell me your tales of whimsy so I may illustrate and add them to the annals of time?
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(This is a series of my adventures with the Destructoid community at PAX Prime 2013.  Part one can be found here)

After the wildness of the first night, I woke up the next night with a horrible hangover. For whatever reason, I decided it would be wise to wake up early, wait outside in the cold in line for the keynote and listen to Pete Molyneux yap at me. And then I did some things. Can't really remember anything in particular from the day. Probably played some awesome indie games. Probably played some arcade games. Probably was awkward in front of somebody. Anyways, eventually night came and I sauntered over to the Elephant and Castle for some lighthearted debauchery with my fellow debauchers.

Before we get to the pictures though, a small story. At the beginning of the night, while I was vying for the attention of the bartender, a couple of people I've never seen before saw the Destructoid sticker on my camera and asked where the gathering was. I pointed them in the right direction, and had a small realization: I used to be like them. Sheepishly entering and being unsure about where the party might be, rather than entering somewhat confidently and heading to greet you lovely peoples. Makes me feel good to know I've grown more comfortable over the years, and feeling like I'm part of the community.

One more thing. I've had a world of trouble trying to correct the white balance, so I'm just going to make them grayscale. So when you see that, NOW YOU KNOW



Hamza is the CEO of Ruining Candid Photos



There, that's better



Andrew (powerglove) with his trademark smile



Adam gets comfortable with Conor



Law of Thermodynamics sees something horrible behind him. Which was probably me.



A group picture of Adam, Conor, Jack Shadow, David, JJMcCallum, Becky, Josh (gasp) and Alissa enjoying a few post PAX libations



Beccy shows the men how to properly Irish Car Bomb



Did I say a few? I meant a few dozen



Josh (IcarusKills) smiles for the camera, while Jacob grimaces for it



Spencer and Jesse engage in a heated discussion of plastic stemmed q-tips vs paper stemmed q-tips



Spencer than moves on to have a chat with Scotty G



Which quickly takes a terrible turn



The night starts to wind down and people begin to return to their hotels in order to save their progress. I corral them together for a quick group shot. Those I can name are Josh, Beccy, Conor, Ben (flintmech), Darik and JJMcCallum.



Darik, Alissa, Adam and Apathy idling outside.



Always the gracious host, Josh offered to let those not ready to go to bed yet to come over to his apartment. I was among the lucky few. Here he embraces Beccy as the ride gets sorted out.



Before going to Josh's, we stop by a burger shop called Dick's. Here Beccy groans as Josh makes the 42[sup]nd[/sup] “Bag of Dick's” joke.



Alissa reacts to something Conor said while Apathy lives up to his namesake.



Shortly before leaving Dick's, we realize that Scotty G is no longer with us. After arriving to Dicks with us, he disappeared, without notice. We manically search around the immediate block and make panicked phone calls in vain. Defeated, we reluctantly made our way to Josh's house. He eventually resurfaced the next day, in good health but unfortunately he lost his bag containing his 3DS and a beloved Yoshi doll. I feel partially responsible, as I started a drinking game in which he drink a few more beers when he probably should not have. Sorry Scotty :(

Anyways, on a lighter note, on the sullen walk to Josh's, I finally get a proper introduction to Conor, who proceeds to tell me he likes my pictures and that my TLR reminds him of a derringer, which is possibly the greatest thing anyone has ever said to me.



Nicole and Conor (I think) enjoy the view





And the night ends with some tourist ass pictures. It had to be done.

And that was the end of the night! After enjoying one last night drink, we left Casa de Josh and made our way back to home base. I crumbled into bed, and prayed to the Boozed Gods to spare me from another hangover, which I'm pretty sure they ignored. In the next installment of Because PHOTOJOURNALISM, we take a quick look at our adventure at the Taphouse!










(This is a series of my adventures with the Destructoid community at PAX Prime 2013.  Here is part two)

It's that time of year again. That time of year where I look back at the most fun I have all year and I cry. I cry because the next occurrence of it is so far away. I cry because my next chance to be a part of this amazing event is already in doubt. I cry because I am reminded of all the awesome people I only see every few hundred days. I cry because I am reminded of the awesome times that I failed to take pictures of. I cry because I'm reminded of all the money I spent and how I could have more responsibly spent it. But mostly it's the third part. I've made this point before, and I'll probably make it again: it's all about the people.

Sometimes I reflect back into my first PAX, when I was completely on my own. Being able to meander about and do what I want has its own appeal. One of the things I do miss is going to the concerts every night. Or walking through the dubious Seattle streets at night to pick up some beer, and unwind from the wild events of the day in my shitty hotel room in front of my shitty hotel TV. But the sort of adventures one can have by oneself, while liberating, is a kind of sufficating comfort. And let's face it, being alone makes for some boring pictures. And tagging along with others contains an exciting and terrifying unknown quality.that you just don't get wandering alone, where one tends to stay within a comfort zone (or at least I do).

But ultimately I am extremely pleased with what my PAX experience has become. I can drink beer in front of a TV alone all year (and I do), and as much fun as the concerts are, all of the lovely Destructoid people are more than happy to selflessly enrich my life far more than enjoying loud pounding music with strangers. Plus it gives me with an opportunity to run around with a camera, and for some reason or another people seem to appreciate it. So, here we are again. I've written some words and taken some pictures and regurgitated them here for a few select mutants to enjoy. Because taking a lot of pictures recording valuable memories and not sharing them is, while humorous on a certain level, is also cruel and ultimately pointless, especially when you exhaust yourself while crawling around on a beer soaked floor taking pictures only to not pass around the results.

ANYWAYS, those few who are familiar with my routine may notice something different: I've broken this up into parts, in an effort to get this out before the end of the year, and because I took a ridiculous amount of pictures. Relax, there won't be this much written dreck to read each time; merely a link back to this page for those who don't have enough displeasure in their life. So let's get this show on the road before I start another paragraph. Today I will cover the pre-PAX anxiety including the traditional meetup at Gameworks, where we gather around and pretend that video games are more interesting than booze.



Darren (Dexter 345) demonstrates the real reason for coming to PAX: grinding through street passes!



I start off the way I wish I could start off every night: with a healthy helping of McCallum and Apathy



During the meetup Becky and Conor recorded a live episode of Communitoid. They interviewed a bunch of progressively more inebriated people. Except for me, of course. I was too busy running around taking pictures :/ It's still an interesting show. You should check it out if you haven't yet.



Here I interrupt David (Hei), Jack (Shadow) and Sam (Mr Gobbledigook) in the middle of enjoying each other



Nero climbed on top of a chair and thanked everyone for coming and made a short but sweet address. If I had a dozen roses I probably would've thrown it at his feet.



Unlike last year, the party took place on a small balcony rather than on the ground floor near an entrance. Also unlike last year, CTZ and the crew were handing out drink tickets. Needless to say, it got pretty fucking crowded.



It's pretty difficult to take a picture of Jesse and make him look bad. I managed it though.




Alyssa and Scott look at Nicole with bemusement as she realizes that there are free drinks.




Did I mention it was crowded?



Darren (Dexter 345) ruins my candid picture during a conversation with CyricZ. I had my first conversation with CyricZ, after silently passing by him at previous PAXes. I can't remember a damn thing about the conversation, but it was nice to finally meet him.



JJMcCallum and Dyganth discuss their plans for inciting madness and confusion.



Andrew (Powerglove) and Andy (Dixon) reconnect over a flagon of cow blood.



Andy, Beccy, Adam and Digtastic take turn sampling each others carbon dioxide



I sneak a quick portrait of Andy before he scolds me because I stopped shining his shoes.



“Hey Apathy, did I ever tell you that you're my favorite?”



“Hey Andy, did I ever tell you that you're my favorite?”



Beccy and Eric (MuddBastard) engage in a debate of grass vs astroturf



Eric and Someone Who's Name I Should Probably Know pose for the camera while Sam checks out DAT ASS




Scott smiles while Sam... does something in my direction.



Jacob (Guygamer) nurtures Sam like the frail little bird that he is.

It's amazing that this picture is as clear as it is. By this point I was exceptionally drunk, but somehow still cognizant. Couldn't speak worth a damn though. Before I headed over to my hotel I had to find Darren whom I shared a room with. But it was a shitty hotel, so I had the only key and needed to make sure he got into the room. I somehow managed to find him (or rather he found me, more likely) and we headed over to the hotel while I slurred incomprehensibly at him. We made it back to home base where we passed out and I woke up the next morning to a vibrant hangover, which would become a pattern over the weekend. Curious what happens next? Tune in next time to BECAUSE (PHOTO)JOURNALISM, which hopefully will be up sooner than the next two months!










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.








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





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.