Sep. 5th, 2012

terriko: Adorable icon care of John (bubble bobble)
It was, as always, fun and exhausting. I don't know how people do fan con stuff more than once a year.

I think the most unusual game I played was the board game "Oh my god, there's an axe in my head!" wherein you are at the first league of nations meeting and the entertainment, the Swiss axe throwing team, has gone bezerk and you must trade territories and make treaties while fleeing for your life.

The best panel I went to was the geek crafting one, and not only because it was almost the only panel I went to. Love seeing other people's crafts, and I think VandalEyes kind of stole the show as low-effort high-hilarity art.

For the first time I actually sat down and did some tabletop roleplaying at PAX and it was pretty cool, but we didn't really have time to get deep into the game 'cause we'd made dinner plans already. Still, the system was one I'd never heard of before, based largely on relationships between characters in a post-apocalyptic setting, and it had a lot of potential. Most ridiculous moment: one of the characters was a "faceless" who wore a gas mask at all times. This led to a pretty hilarious moment where one of the other players made a crack about how he couldn't use facebook... because he didn't have a face. Queue groans and game master banging his head lightly on the table. That's how you know you've got a good synergy going in the players. ;)

Our costumes went over well. People figured out the lemmings thing pretty quickly and we got some laughs. I have no idea if people figured out the Leah & Magda Diablo III cosplay, but we certainly got stopped for lots of photos so obviously we looked interesting. I'm contemplating having a photo shoot on my own for the Leah costume before my hair grows back out completely or I get it cut professionally prior to GHC, but my friends do have some pictures of us actually at PAX so I'll put those up when I have them. I am sad that Susan and I can't do a photo shoot together easily.

As usual, I found PAX surprisingly pleasant for such a huge crowded venue. I really appreciate how so many folk ask before taking photos of me when I'm in costume. I mean, I wouldn't be wearing this getup if I weren't willing to pose, but it's still nice that the standard is "can I get a photo?" and not "pose for me!" We had an interesting conversation about how PAX has been for us safer than, say, going to university classes or (in my case) walking to the library. I am incredibly sorry to hear that this enhanced safety wasn't the case for everyone at PAX prime this year. (I fear the responses to that as usual, but so far the condemnation seems pretty sincere.)

Coming home sucked. I mean, the flights were fine, but it's a billion degrees here and it sucks to contrast the relative safety of downtown Seattle during PAX to feeling like I have to dress down if I want to walk to the library here without being hassled. After the excessive heat woke me up in the middle of the night, I started reading twitter and this post about being harassed frequently on public transit really hit home for me. Did you know that I rarely leave the house without earphones in (although sometimes they're not on or only one is in, for safety), just so I have a visible reason to ignore the multitude of men who feel a need to "hey pretty lady" me even if I'm showing all the signs that I'm not in the mood to chat? It's hard, 'cause so many people here are just southwest friendly and chatting with them would be fun, but you never know when you're going to get someone who's got serious problems.

So yeah, I miss PAX and its friendly strangers who want to talk about games and not about how pretty I am (or am not) already, and I haven't even been outside.

PAX Prime is definitely superior to PAX East as far as venue goes. More sound baffling, closer hotels, more food options within easy walking distance, more carpet, better trained staff, etc. I also find the prime exhibitors tend towards "We want to show you our awesome game!" and less "We want to sell you stuff!" even though I got less swag this year in general (That's not really a huge problem as there's only so much cheap con stuff I really need, though I was disappointed to see so few buttons. I like buttons and do actually wear ones I get if I like where they came from.)

I was a bit disappointed that my favourite triple-A RPG devs weren't really there: bioware had a little session room and I enjoyed their talk on voice acting, but no big booth. Blizzard I didn't see at all (especially disappointing given our diablo III costumes -- would have been nice to show off!), and I saw no opportunity to try Guild Wars 2 out on the con floor (I'll probably buy it eventually, but I would have liked a demo). I guess I could have tried the wizards of the coast offerings, but the lines were huge and to be honest after our somewhat mediocre DDO experience I just wasn't that interested. We did try their new minis game which was pretty much everything I don't like about mini and card games stuffed into one over-ruled package, so that didn't help. At least I got to try Torchlight II, which is on my to-buy list when it comes out (even though, I admit, I'm less excited about it now that I have diablo III to fill that niche). Still, it's $20 and multiplayer and I had fun with the demo and chatting briefly with the dev folk who were there working the line. Plus, my engineer had a ferret pet and robots, so she was pretty cool.

I did get to try lots of indie puzzle games, so that was cool 'specially since I was hanging out with M most often and that's her favourite genre. And I have to say, the art assets for even little indie games are getting more and more impressive. I highly enjoyed the dinosaur tower defense game even though it wasn't that novel just 'cause of the ridiculous dinos. :) [Edit: the beta is free on the Chrome web store!] And the Go-like zombie containment game was clever (and seriously, $3. I bought it on the spot.) And I'm looking forwards to using my coupon to buy Splice which had you splicing molecule-like structures to fit the given pattern.

I didn't spend time watching the League of Legends tourney, but I think this code they gave me will give me a new character to learn and that's kind of fun. I don't feel like I'm willing to invest the kind of time I need into LoL to be really good at everything, but when it cools down maybe I can get up to the level where I'm at least not embarrassing my friends if I stick to a small subset of characters, so having a new one is exciting!

I didn't really try many new DS games since I don't have a 3DS yet, but I was reminded why I like the DS so much when all my other devices were running out of power and I could still play pokemon. I guess I'll keep an eye out for good black friday through Christmas sales on the 3ds. It seems weird to invest in the platform given how much easier it is to get cheap games for my tablet, but it seems like there's still enough available to make me happy and at least I can trade some games with my sister. Plus, the DS doesn't overheat me like my other devices, and that's worth a fair bit in this city!

Anyhow... I'm taking today off as self-quarantine after being exposed to so many people, but I *do* need to get some cleaning done (I left the house in quite the state after last minute costume work; normally I try to clean before I leave so I don't come home and think my house sucks. Oops.) so that's enough rambling about PAX until I develop the few pictures I took or get pictures of us in costume from other people!


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