But I also went to PAX.
PAX is a three-day gaming convention held in Seattle, created and put together by the guys who run Penny Arcade, one of my favorite webcomics. This was the third year of PAX, but my first. I'm not really a big gamer, so I mostly wanted to go just for the gawking and the Penny Arcade fun.
It was pretty great. About 20,000 people attended, so the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue was DRASTICALLY too small. The first night, I was waiting in a big crowd outside the main theatre to get in for the first Penny Arcade panel (we...about 2,000 people) started a ball game with one of those big Pilates balls, trying to get it up each consecutive level to the fourth balcony, and were crowded so tightly that the fire marshal was trying to throw us out when the doors finally opened.
The first panel was just Q&A, but it was great. The PA guys are really funny, and incredibly nice. I got to meet them after the show and they both signed each of my books for me. After that, I wandered around and checked out some Guitar Hero, watched part of a Super Smash Brothers tourney, and watched part of the round two elimination of Omegathon (Geometry Wars).
The next day, I came for two events. The first, a Penny Arcade strip panel, was awesome. It was overall the best part of the convention for me. Mike (Gabe) sat on stage and drew, inked, and colored this Wednesday's comic strip while the whole thing was projected onto enormous screens, and Jerry (Tycho) took questions. The best part was the way audience participation and feedback modified the comic into something that will probably be a complete non sequitor for anyone who wasn't there. The blue ball, from Friday, has a cameo. One character is holding a beating heart (a reference to the Phenomenon, in which certain fans point out that a single outstretched hand is often in the comics, and looks like it is holding an invisible beating heart). Then Mike got bored and started redrawing Jerry's character. By the time he was finished, Tycho had lipstick, vampire teeth, a snake tongue, a snake on his shoulder, no left arm, a lobster claw on his right arm that was holding a hot dog, no clothes, and was covered in spiders. It was grand.
Mike also drew a hot dog fairy, which was hilarious.
The next panel, which was for Red vs. Blue, wasn't great. The cast was awesome, and I really enjoyed what they had to say. But it was a Q&A panel, and the questions from the audience were terrible ("how awesome are you?" "what's 710 x 43?" "will you sign my stuffed pig? will you sign my t-shirt? will you sign my friend?" "do you remember me?"). I wish I'd had an intelligent question to ask.
I wanted to stay for the Guitar Hero tournament, but I was so tired of standing in lines that I just left and hung out with my parents for the night, which was nice. :)
It was a good weekend.