In most cases, when a community is “tightly-knit” it also means the community is less welcoming to outsiders than a Baptist congregation to a group of vampire LARPers. Yet, for every rule there is an exception and unsurprisingly, Destructoid is that exception.
My initial expectations going in were to see some games, see a bit of the city, and hopefully get to meet a few of the people I had grown so fond of over the interwebs. 4 days of debauchery, nerdery, and revelry later, and I still hadn't met all the Dtoiders who showed up. No exaggeration, every single Dtoider I plucked up the courage to meet was friendly and welcoming – I've never seen such love before in my life, let alone from a community where people interact primarily over the internet.
My wife doesn't play very many games, but as a nerd herself she wanted to see what PAX was all about. She expected to just lurk in the background, but every time I turned around she was in a conversation with another Dtoider. Many thanks to all of you who took the time to get to know her and make her feel welcome – she had an awesome time.
The staff was so approachable and friendly – I got to meet Ashley, Samit, Dyson, Grim, Aerox, Colette, and even Niero himself. The way this team interacts with the community is nothing short of astounding. Special props go out to Hamza, who in addition to being a hella-cool shark (seriously, he's a snappy dresser) also worked his ass off to make sure that everyone got together and had a good time. He was constantly coordinating or informing and making the newbies feel welcome all the while!
Disproved by Destructoid.
From meeting the bad-ass members of Dtoid Texas, to being one of only 2 Dtoiders to actually sing karaoke on karaoke night (ScottyG was the other brave soul on the scouting party), to seeing a live gameplay demo of Red Dead Redemption (now my second most anticipated game of 2010 behind Heavy Rain), and many other happy memories, PAX is an experience I will never forget.
I could go on and on about all the amazing people I met, but I'll just close this part of the blog by saying you have got to find a way to get to the next community meetup – whether it be PAX or another con or your nearest NARP, you will not find a more worthy use of your time than getting to interact with this fine community face-to-face. I not only feel like a true part of the community now, but a part of the family. Whatever is standing in your way (money, time, shyness, etc.), start planning now for how you're going to overcome that obstacle for the next event, you'll be ever so glad you did.
Guns and Roses said it all so much more eloquently than I ever could, but I do have to reiterate that every story has a dark side. PAX wasn't all rainbows and kittens for me. Before I left, I promised my good interwebz buddy Kauza that I would take his avatar with me so that he could be there in spirit since he couldn't make it. Little did I know the trouble that would follow from such a simple gesture.
I had an inkling that things might be a little off when Kauza's avatar proceeded to get absolutely hammered on the plane. I think being 2-dimensional makes you a pretty cheap date.
The convention was fun, but Kauza's avatar didn't make it easy. I promised Kauza I'd take good care of his avatar for him, so I didn't want us to get separated – so when he demanded to hang around and stare at Mr. Destructoid's ass for 20 minutes I was forced to oblige.
I thought he could help me out at the Star Wars : The Old Republic Demo. When I let him out of the messenger bag he proceeded to immediately turn to the nearest woman in the crowd and said, “C'mon baby – I don't want to go Hand Solo tonight!”
After threatening to lock him up in the Hello Kitty demo box, he calmed down and even offered to take some notes for me. So I relaxed and enjoyed the demo thinking he had me covered -- so much for turning over a new leaf.
Kauza's avatar tagged along to the Elephant and Castle one night, and it wasn't just the nerves from flying that made him drink before – he really is a lush.
My wife and Aerox were trying to have a conversation about the Discworld novels, but Kauza's avatar kept butting in. Also, I was beginning to get a little bit uncomfortable with how close he was getting to my wife.
Before long, he was passed out right in the middle of the patio.
At the end of the night, all I wanted to do was sleep, but Kauza's avatar made that impossible. We barely got upstairs before he announced he was about to “de-frag his stomach's hard drive”, and asked if I would hold him over the toilet. Given that the alternative was him tossing his cookies in the hotel room, I had little choice.
What has been seen cannot be unseen. What took place in that bathroom defied the laws of physics.
You'd think after a night like that he would learn his lesson. The next night at the E&C he was right back to his old tricks. Having scared away all other prospects with his drunken misogynistic demeanor, he sunk to new depths when he asked my wife if she'd like to “ditch old 'kissyourass' over there and go back to the room with a real man”.
Well, my amazing wife was having none of that. She was just about fed up with Kauza's avatar anyway and the proposition was just too much. She took matters into her own hands.
Oh, the humanity!
Moral of the story : A person's avatar often does not reflect their true nature. Also, nobody, and I mean NOBODY fucks with wifey.