Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Omegathon

So, I promised a post about this and I better do it now before the vivid details begin to fade from memory.

On Friday morning, Jason got this bright idea that we'd all wear matching T-shirts the next day. It was an excellent idea, and Jason Brooks started working on designs for a logo. At first we were just looking at different fonts and stuff, but then he came up with an Atari style logo with a Storm Trooper design on it. I loved it. Later that day, he came up with this cool combination of Halo and the Imperial Snowflake. I loved that one even we decided to make both designs, one for each day.

Friday night, I had a Halo party, and everyone came over to help practice up for Saturday. We had some projector problems, so it got started late...but we had a few good Halo matches. They were all pretty close, but I'd say I took a good enough percentage of them that I felt ready. During the course of the games, we had some pizza and drinks. After Halo was over, a few of us played some 5 man Diceland. By then it was about midnight and most people took off. For my future reference, Diceland is a great way to kill a Halo party. The remaining few people played LAN Mario Kart Double Dash until we were all ready for bed.

Saturday morning, we got up at about 8 and headed over to downtown Bellevue. There was a huge line of maybe 1000 people stretching around the block in two directions, but they were letting Omeganauts (as they called us) right in. So I tromped up to the front of the line with Heather and John in tow and we picked up our hand stamps. They directed us to the downstairs arena where the first round would take place: Diceland.

We arrived downstairs to find at least 10 of the other Omeganauts getting a refresher course in Diceland from one of the referee type people who worked for the company that makes it. I joined in the huddle to listen and watch. Jason and Brandon arrived a few minutes later with the shirts. They looked amazing, and we all put them on.

Mine said: OmeganautHeather's was: GroupieJohn's was: Trainer Jason's said: Security
One Omeganaut was missing, and they declared over the loudspeaker that if she didn't show, she would be eliminated. She didn't and so shortly after, the game began and we all shuffled cards to see where we'd sit. 4 lucky folks got a "by" that round, and didn't have to play at all. They played for fun, with no fear of elimination.

The other 3 tables each got passed a box full of mystery dice. My table was populated by 4 different people besides me, and I got one of the better colors. The guy next to me go the best color and took off to an early lead. During the course of the game, I realized that though I was in a pretty strong 2nd place....he was going to stay about 15 points ahead of me due to an early lead. So I started working to help him win by either knocking his enemies into more vulnerable position or avoiding killing him. That strategy worked well enough and I advanced to the next round: Halo. One person at our table wasn't so lucky, as was the case with 2 other people at the other tables.

They told us that the Halo round wouldn't start for quite awhile and all the lines for panels were too long, so we decided to go eat. We all went to lunch at the Cheesecake factory. Then we walked around the mall a bit and went back to PAX. The Halo round hadn't started yet, so Jason and Brandon decided to take off while John and I entered a Soul Calibur tourney. Heather hung out in the sunshine with Jay's finacee Eve, and they apparently talked about weddings. I beat a few opponents, but not enough to get very I went back to walking around the con a little until it was time for Halo.

Finally, it was 4:30 and time for Halo. I sat down and created a profile. Several people filled in the remaining seats, including Kevin, the guy from Diceland who sat right next to me. We had a pretty big crowd by the time the match started, and it was very crowded in there. The guy to the left of me (Sean) ended up taking first by 15 kills, Kevin took 2nd, and I took 3rd with 3 kills less than him. Everyone else filed in somewhere below that and 4 more people were summarily eliminated.

The next round (Mario Kart) started immediately. They decided that who we were sitting next to was who we'd be partnered with, so I ended up with Kevin. He admitted that he wasn't great at the game, and that he should be the gunner. I taught him how to do the blue sparks, which he learned very quickly....and we were on the road for a practice match. We took 5th....which if it had been the real match would have killed us. Luckily, by the time the real one rolled around, we had the bugs worked out of our partnership and we ended up taking 2nd place to Sean and his partner.

At that point, I was assured a spot in DDR, on day 2. I took off to go upstairs and check out the competition on the arcade machines. It was insane and I was fairly convinced there was no way I'd ever get to round 5.

My Dad showed up with Robert and Marilyn and we all walked around the convention a bit so I could show them what it was all about. Then we headed to the parking garage to head home. I had a damn ticket on my car even though I had paid the fee. I called to dispute it, but all I got is a machine.

I was mad, but we left and went home to have some dinner. After that, we played some video games at home. They were all flying out the next morning, and so they wanted to get some sleep. I practiced DDR and realized that I was going to need to practice on the actual arcade machine. At midnight or so, I felt like I needed more practice and my nephew really wanted to we all went back to the con to try and do that...but the line for it was longer than it was during the day. John, Robert and I went to Lanwerx next door and paid to use the DDR machine there.

After 30 minutes or so of playing for quarters....I realized two things:
1. DDR is expensive.2. My feet are too big for those stupid arcade dance pads.
So, I decided that the next morning I would be bringing along shoes that are too small for me, which might help.

I only got a few hours of sleep before I got up to start practicing my DDR. After my Dad left with Robert and Marilyn for the airport.....I went back to practicing and got another hour or so in. I figured at that point, I was as ready as I could get....and we went to the con.

We got there just in time for me to have one practice match before the real deal. I danced with an Omeganaut named Svetlana and discovered that we were very closely matched. We decided that it would be cool if we could dance together instead of against one of the crazy good people that were still left in the competition. Jason showed up a bit later with the Sunday (Halo) shirts, and we all got into them. They were really cool looking.

The DDR round started, and Mike and Jerry had decided that the best people were going to dance against each other first. That was a huge relief. They went and they were all REALLY amazing at that game. There were some good matches, but most of them weren't that close. Then my match came and I was indeed paired up with Svetlana. Our game came down to a difference of 5 steps, but I won it. It was so close, and a really good match. After that, we all decided to go to lunch, and she came along...with a group of about 8 other people.

We had lunch at the Rock Bottom, and it was a lot of fun. Everyone we met was really nice and we just sat around talking about random stuff until it was time to go back for the Doom round. It seemed like I was having lunch with the best group of gamers I'd met in a long time. Everyone had been up all night playing one game or another....and they were all still really friendly to be around.

We all waited until everyone had gotten their bills settled (there were a lot of separate checks) and then walked back to the convention together. The Doom round was about to start, and I hustled upstairs to get my seat. By the time I got there the room was just PACKED....and we filled it up even more with most of our lunch group plus the 4 of us in our matching shirts. They decided we'd get a practice match first.

I sat next to Tina, a girl that had done really well at DDR. She unfortunately wasn't too great at Doom, and she and I brought up the rear for most of the match. Kevin and Sean were sitting at the other side of the long table...and seemed to be dominating the practice round. The real match started....and for a long time, they were scoring kill after unanswered kill.

I finally got a few good weapons and went after them. It was 0 to 0 to 7 to 9 for awhile, but suddenly I was scoring a kill here and there. Before long, I had tied it up 10-10-12. Then Kevin and I went back and forth chasing Sean until it was 13-13-15-1 (Or whatever Tina had).
We then had the most controversial moment of the match. I had just killed Tina for my 14th when instead of calling "Time" they decided to shut down the server. My 14th kill didn't register, and so Kevin and I were tied for 2nd. They sent us to a tiebreaker.

Kevin got to the rockets first and started rocket camping. He killed me every time I went into the rocket arena, and I hadn't figured out that he was camping there. People were yelling it at me, but it just wasn't registering. Finally....after 3 dawned on me. He was camping and I had to stop it. So....I shot at him from the window, then got him to chase me down a hall until he killed himself. Then I took his camping spot from him. The next 2 kills were mine...and suddenly it was 2 to 3. They called out an announcement that they were lowering the frag count from 10 to 5, because our match was taking forever.

I couldn't stay in there and I ran out to fight him again. I got one more kill...but then he killed me and it was 4 to 3. He got back into his camping spot, and that was all she wrote. I was eliminated and took 3rd place overall while Kevin and Sean went on to the final round.
Kevin told me it was a good game, I got lots of sympathy pats on the back for it from my crew. I was mad that he won it by camping at first, then regretted that I hadn't spoken up about my 14th kill when I'd had the chance. Then it all started to sink in and I realized that I had gotten to the 2nd day, past DDR (my worst game) and taken 3rd place overall. I was still really bummed that I wasn't going to get to do my grand entry into the final round, but I knew that the two guys in there probably deserved to be as much as I did.

We all kind of walked around together for awhile, then Heather went home and John and I tried to enter a Mario Kart tourney before the final round of the Omegathon. Unfortunately, they had technical problems...and although we got some practice games in, we never got to compete for real.

We went down and lined up with the other Omeganauts to get into the theater for the final round. Kevin was all smiles at this point and was very gracious about his wins. I talked to his mom, who was very happy for him....and I started to feel like it was OK that he was in there instead of me. Not great, but OK. The doors opened....we went in...and the final mystery game was PONG.

Sean beat Kevin pretty badly and the Omegathon was over. It was a great time though, and afterwards I hung out to congratulate them both for beating me and getting as far as they did.
By the end of the evening I had completely lost my voice, I was exhausted and ready for bed. I went home.....watched a little TV, then hit the sack. All I could think about for the next two days when I wasn't sleeping was the Omegathon.
Next year, if by some miracle I can get back in's going to be ROTJ time.
Revenge of Team JoshEEE

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