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PAX 2010: The Weekend of John Solgrim

So. PAX Prime.

What a waste of time. Literally the worst four days of my entire life - nothing at all exciting happened, I spent way too much money on garbage, Seattle is a terrible city, and now I'm really sick and stuck in bed. I regret ever going on this silly trip.

Wait, that isn't right at all, is it? Nope, it isn't. Well, except for the being sick thing. That's fairly right. Everything else is pretty wrong, though. Let's break it down by day.

Thursday, the day of western travel

So, for those of you unaware, I am an east coast boy. The east coast is truly awesome, but the west coast is the best coast. I did not sleep Wednesday evening, partially because I'm insane, partially because I left for Logan at 5 AM. After a direct flight to San Francisco, a fairly quick layover, and a quick flight to Seattle, I arrived at about 3 PM local time. After bugging Destructoid superstar TDiddy to let me into the hotel room, I took one look at it, declared it wonderful, and was off on my merry way.

From there, I headed to the Sheraton to meet up with...er, a lot of people. There were a lot of people. I did a lot of "I should know you but I don't" introductions, and I forgot most of their names that night anyway. Off the top of my head, I know Jon Ross, Mid3vol, Solgrim (more on him later), Knives, Cronosblade (I think?), storyr (I think???) and er...a lot of other people were there.* I think it was Knives who greeted me by slapping me with a trout. If you do not understand that, you are not on IRC. You should be on IRC.

* - This whole "me not remembering things" thing is going to be a recurring theme for what it's worth.

After that, we headed to Gameworks, which is basically Dave and Busters, except I didn't play video games there. There were a lot of people there. Like, all of the people. A lot of stuff probably happened, but I don't remember. I do remember that after that, a bunch of us ended up in Dorian's (I have no idea what your username is on this site!) hotel room for a pretty weird evening that...I don't remember too well.

I guess I ended up in my hotel room eventually. My ass had already been thoroughly kicked. My goal for PAX 2010 was to take it easy, not get overwhelmed. I had been in Seattle for less than 24 hours and that was already completely out the window.

Friday, the day of whiskey

Okay, so as some/many/all/none of you know, I worked at Harmonix Music for a year and a half. I'm friends with plenty of people who used to and still work there. The Rock Band 3 panel was at 10 AM on Friday, and I wanted to attend it. At 10:15 AM, I found out I was in the wrong building, and the panel was actually in the Sheraton, not the actual convention center. Oops.

So, I go down to the show floor. One of the things that always bummed me out about PAX East was how it basically had the title of being "PAX lite", so to speak. Well, when I got on the show floor for PAX Prime, I realized why. Wow, it just doesn't even compare. PAX Prime felt like the mental image I had of E3 as a child. It was that good.

I started off my day by checking out Rock Band 3 and Dance Central, because I am a nerd and want to play games I've already played. It was fun, I caught up with a few old friends, and apparently a video was shot of me playing Dance Central. It is not on Youtube yet, but I'll be sure to pimp it out once it is. I am sure I look like a nerdy white boy dancing in it. It is because I am a nerdy white boy, you see.

After that, I got in a few matches of Marvel vs Capcom 3, which is about as awesome as I expected it to be. I was pretty much on my own for a good chunk of Friday afternoon (and apparently missing texts left and right due to poor reception), so I wandered up to the console freeplay area, and enjoyed some more relaxing games that I've played a bunch - specifically Rock Band 2 and Super Street Fighter 4. Not much to say about this, but it was a fun time. Playing SSF4 with other people sans lag was honestly a highlight.

After I had dinner...uh, somewhere, with someone(s?) (I can't remember), I headed over to Elephant and Castle for the Destructoid meetup scheduled. I got there, had a drink, had some awesome chats with Storyr and Kryptonite, and I think a few others, and suddenly we're being kicked out, albeit in a manner that isn't technically "being kicked out". It really was no big deal. The group first moved to Gameworks, but a good chunk of us headed over to the Whiskey Bar instead.

Outside of one unfortunate complication (sorry tga!), the Whiskey Bar was a pretty fun night. I got TDiddy to chug a Knob Creek neat, which may have been the meanest alcohol-related thing I've ever done. I can't even remember most of what happened other than some entertaining conversation and a damn good time. That was the end of that evening.

Saturday, the day of John Solgrim

John Solgrim is the greatest man on the face of the earth. He is perfect in every way, and is quite possibly more sexy than Niero. He is that amazing. There is no one more amazing than John Solgrim. Do not even pretend you are. You are wrong. Very wrong. The wrongest of wrong.

You see, John Solgrim wasn't born like any other child. John Solgrim wasn't even born through virgin birth. One day, God decided "I need to create the perfect human being", and just beamed him down to earth via the USS Enterprise, and thus John Solgrim was born. No one before or after him will ever replicate how amazing John Solgrim is, as John Solgrim is perfect.

Now, the Destructoid panel happened on Saturday, but plenty of people will write about that and describe it better than I can. It was at 10:30 AM and I was pretty hungover so I kind of phoned in my involvement as an audience member. I did play some Bit Trip thing on the iPad afterwards (really fun!), and there was the group photo, also cocks, and all of that. I'll leave it to other people.

Back to John Solgrim.

Saturday night took place at the Chapel, which was actually a converted chapel, which I was somehow not expecting based on the name. It was very nice, and we had the choir loft section of the chapel to ourselves (though it did get crowded pretty quickly). The night started quiet, then into some good dance music, and eventually ended up in dubstep land I think, but none of that matters.

For, you see, John Solgrim was there. I was told early in the week that John Solgrim doesn't really drink - he had maybe one drink his entire life or something like that. Maybe it was the fact that Niero paid for everyone's drink for an hour, maybe John Solgrim was just feeling adventurous - who knows. On Saturday night at the Chapel, John Solgrim drank. God looked upon this, and smiled, for it was good.

This seriously was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. With perfect lucidity, John Solgrim described all of the feelings he had never felt before that come with that first night of drunkenness. The numb face. The giggles. The overall happy attitude, and how it defeated his idea of what would happen if he ever got drunk. I say with no hint of sarcasm whatsoever that it was one of the most truly entertaining things I've ever witnessed in my life.

After John Solgrim was good and drunk, a group of us went to a gay bar called The R Place (I think?). I'm pretty sure the group was John Solgrim, Tactix, Dorian (still don't know your username, several paragraphs later!), ProfPew, Changston, maybe one or two other people, and myself. Sadly, I ducked out of this night a bit early. I am not an indestructible machine like John Solgrim. Truly, my deepest regret.

John Solgrim, I love you.

Sunday, the day of not enough John Solgrim

The last day of conventions like this always seem a bit rushed to me, for whatever reason. It's almost like you're just waiting for the show to shut down, for the farewells to start, then the return to the mundane life back home.

I really didn't do all that much on the show floor worth mentioning, as I had done most of it all on Friday and Saturday. For what it's worth, the only unreleased games I played the entire weekend were Mortal Kombat (surprisingly fun, block button or not), MvC3 (now in preorder status), Rock Band 3 (just to see how it came along), Just Dance 2 (really fun, but I don't have a Wii) and Dance Central (will probably get me to purchase Kinect just for that game). I'm a dancing machine.

Sunday night brought us to Rock Bottom, which was an excellent place that was very accommodating. We crammed a lot of people in there, but it was a really good time - albeit a brief one for me. I left early so that I could get a few hours of sleep in before my flight home Monday morning. I chatted with a bunch of people**, enjoyed a drink, and before I knew it it was time to head out.

(**) - Including Seth Killian. I do not go into nerdy fanboy mode around famous gaming figures all that much these days, but Seth totally had that effect on me. With Niero standing right next to him...yeah, I was dead on arrival in that conversation.

After a long, long round of goodbyes (including a few repeat goodbyes), I headed home, effectively ending an amazing weekend. The closing memory I had of PAX was Niero driving TDiddy and I back to our hotel room in his soccer mom rental van. When he turned on the car, a weird version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" of all things was playing, which he then changed and we landed on "To Be With You" by Mr. Big. The three of us ended up singing along to it, and it was the most surreal/amazing ending to any one of these events I've ever been to. I can't even do it justice - I hate to end stories this way, but you really had to be there.

This barely even scratches the surface of my trip, though. I met so many more people who were amazing, like Halfleft, Kryptonite, Naia (she is wicked awesome!), Justice, Sean Carey (who is surprisingly not just me with a mustache) uh...oh god, so many people. I seriously can't think of all the people I hung out with, and you were all awesome. I know I'm forgetting people, but everyone I talked to from this site was absolutely amazing. Especially John Solgrim.

So basically, I can sum up PAX 2010 like this: If you remember PAX 2010, you weren't there.

(Sorry for the pictureless post - I only took one photo the entire weekend! I'm not really a picture taking guy, but maybe I'll edit some photos of my ugly mug into this post after a good night's sleep. This post is dedicated to John Solgrim.)
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About Alakaiserone of us since 1:32 PM on 03.15.2010

The name's Tom. I used to work as an industry guy, and am currently on the hunt for my next paying gig. In the meantime, I'm working on a bunch of different projects that don't help me pay my bills. I write a lot. I'm a musician, although certainly not of the professional variety. I like trying new things and meeting new people. I'm still somewhat new around Destructoid, so sorry in advance if I don't know something I probably should.

About my blog:

I update daily (not really, but I like to pretend). Generally, my updates get pretty long-winded, but hopefully not to the point where they're unreadable. I'll wax poetic about whatever's on my mind, like current events in my life, things that are happening in the video games I like, or whatever happens to pop in my head that day. With a few exceptions, I write my entries the same day I publish them, so they're pretty fresh content-wise. It also might help explain the occasional typos. I do my best to avoid any errors, though.

About my work:

I worked at Harmonix Music Systems as a tester on a year's worth of DLC, The Beatles: Rock Band, Lego Rock Band, and Rock Band Network. Feel free to ask me questions about it, but remember: I'm still under NDA. Also, if you know of a job opening, please tell me about it. I'm flexible.

About my contact info:

Want to collaborate with me on something, big or small, related to the site or not? I'd love to. I like working on any project that I'm even remotely capable of working on, and would love to help you in whatever way I can. Feel free to PM me here, or otherwise send me an email at alakaiser(at)gmail(period)com. Even if you don't want to work with me on something, I'd love to just chat. I'm a pretty friendly guy!

What happened to that thing you did? You know, that one thing?:

I wrote an article that ended up getting promoted to the front page of the site, which is pretty damn cool. It removes it from my cblog archive, though, so I'm throwing a link in this here sidebar for the sake of an archive (and in case I lose the link myself).

The Great Escape: One Foot in Reality