The day before I left I didn't get much sleep, presuming I would get some shuteye on the plane ride over to Boston, but I didn't sleep. As I sat on the plane waiting to take off, a very powerful fear of flying gripped my heart and proceeded to thump it against the inside of my ribcage.
I assumed I might be able to take a short nap when I finally arrived in Boston a few hours later, but Ethan hadn't arrived yet so I had to wait around the main terminal for him to show up. Turns out, he got lost. Then he lost is parking ticket and his car is registered to his fiance, so the airport wouldn't let us drive away. So we ended up taking the train around to a few places in Boston, got something to eat, visited Ethan's comic shop of choice, and eventually headed back to his apartment.
This is Ethan and myself.
That night we played D&D with a few of Ethan's friends, half of whom were not sticking around for PAX, and I realized that I had been awake for 35 hours straight and the urge to sleep was coming on stronger than a lech in a dive bar.
The next day was Friday, PAX had begun. Ethan, Lisa and myself were joined by Josh and Casey, two of Ethan's college friends whom I had met before but never realized how geeky they truly are. Apparently, they attend both PAX Prime and PAX East every year.
Waiting to get in
Now, to be fair, all three days of the expo somewhat run together in my mind. On Friday I met Luna and attended some of the first gaming discussions I've seen in over a decade. I got to play Fez and F.3.A.R. and the new LOTR game, I saw intense and deep previews for Portal 2 and L.A.Noire, I played a few board games I had never played before, I got to meet the designers of about a dozen indie games, and I got to meet the lead designer of the Burning Wheel RPG (who is a complete and utter asshat). I also got tons of free t-shirts, loot and swag - Stuff We All Get.
many other geeks waiting to get in
Ethan, Casey and Josh
Ethan and Lisa
Luna and myself
the first panel I attended (and asked stupid questions at)
the walkway separating the two areas
this table is made by Geek Chic
apparently there were ghosts all over the convention, and those lazy Ghostbusters were just sitting around waiting to get paid before they would do anything
a dress made out of Magic: the Gathering cards
Ethan paid $40 for that little plush doll
the Bioshock Infinite booth
the Brink display - it took 2 hours to wait in line to play
L.A. Noire - it took an hour and a half to watch somebody play a scripted portion of the game - totally worth it!
Ubisoft did not announce a new Assassin's Creed game, but their booth was epic in scale
cosplayers were everywhere, not all of them good, not all of them friendly
Portal 2 - it took 40 minutes to see the preview, the first 6 minutes of the game - also worth it!
some Mass Effect cosplayers posing at the Star Wars: KOTOR booth - I overheard that it took 4 hours to wait in line to play the KOTOR MMO, totally NOT worth it!
yeah, he knows how awesome they are
the Twisted Pixel panel was especially entertaining!
the view from Ethan & Lisa's apartment
When it was all over, I took a nap, then I woke up, then I slept some more. A lot more. When I finally woke up on Monday, it was 3pm.
my bedhead is always awesome
I played around on the internet, I played some video games on Ethan's Xbox, I played with Ethan's cat Thaddeus (who is super cute and purrs at me every time I rub his neck), and then when Ethan got home we left together to see the Phil Ochs documentary, There But For Fortune, and eat Korean barbecue.
Now I can't sleep, I'm just waiting to return home. To get Louis'es oil changed, to do laundry, to go back to my own bed, to get back to my routine. A routine that feels a little empty, except for that one day a week I get together with friends and we share a fantasy of warriors and rogues in a faraway land. And throughout all of this I have been sick. My dry cough turned phlegmy, and then it turned painful, and now I am still coughing and swallowing hard. I've been sick for over 7 days. If I hadn't dropped my insurance then visiting a doctor would be the first thing I do when I get back to Madison.
I did make one very big, very important realization on this trip: As long as I'm alone, I won't be happy. Gaming has always been a central part of my life, and it seems like almost everyone I know is married to a fellow gamer or has a partner who not just understands and tolerates it but actively supports them. This is probably the biggest reason why I'm single right now, because I no longer consider women as romantic options unless they have some stated level of geekiness that I know will be compatible or complimentary to mine.
If I could be said to have left PAX with only one thing, it was a newfound appreciation of indie developers and their games.