Saturday, August 25, 2007

PAX 2007 day one

First day of PAX was today, at the new and improved venue. Before heading down this afternoon, I had lunch with Heather, Craig and Lysee at Duke's Chowder House over on Greenlake. Nothing like a little seafood to prepare you for a day of gaming. Got down there around 1:45pm and was surprised to find that there was no line around the block. In previous years, I'd always spent the first hour of PAX sitting on a sidewalk in Bellevue. It seems that they'd moved the line inside for this one. Although the (new and improved) line to get in was a 40 minute Disneyland style walk back and forth through a makeshift cattle still seemed faster than years prior.

John and Scott showed up and ate their lunch while we waited for the entry lines to die down a bit, then we went in. On the way into the con we were presented with the swag bag and a bottle of Bawls energy drink for free. Very nice. First thing we decided to do was sign up for the console tournies...then we headed to the exhibition hall. First thing you see when you enter is a huge Xbox 360 booth. They were demoing Mass Effect, but I couldn't get close enough to really hear it.

Next it was over to the Wii booth, where they were showing off the new Metroid. I played a game of Mario Strikers soccer with John there. It's rather fun. Apparently, it's out now. I haven't bought a new game for the Wii in awhile...maybe this one will be it? Maybe I should rent it first....all the Wii games are great for 5 minutes.

We checked out the Ubisoft, Rockstar and Eidos booths, along with a quick glimpse of the new Rock Band game before getting into the line for the keynote in the big theater. The line was huge and snaked through the hall, but I was easily able to save 3 seats while John and Scott ran off to get their Omegathon badges punched. They arrived just in time to see Wil Wheaton do his keynote speech, which was rather hilarious.

After Wil, Gabe and Tycho arrived to do their first Q&A of the weekend. It was great as well, with several funny questions and answers throughout. The strangest part of it was at the end, when they announced that they couldn't get Jack Thompson to show up, but they did get the next best thing. They then announced that Uwe Boll was here for a surprise Q&A and they left the stage. For a moment, I figured they were joking. Uwe Boll is notorious not just for making horrible films, but specifically for making horrible adaptations of video games. The guys at Penny Arcade have never said anything nice about him, so why would he be here?

What happened next was both hilarious and sad at the same time. Uwe Boll appeared on stage to a chorus of boos mixed in with some applause. The room, packed with thousands of people....emptied almost immediatley. People got up in the middle of him introducing himself and left.

This was the scene moments earlier as Tycho was singing a song. Standing room only:

And the same shot 5 minutes into Uwe Boll's surprise Q&A.

I didn't know whether to laugh at the guy or feel sorry for him. I don't know why his manager said "We want Uwe Boll at PAX 2007" but he's probably being fired as we speak. This was the most hostile crowd I've ever seen. People got up and asked him questions like "How do you sleep at night?" and "Who in God's name continues to fund your movies, because I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell them." He seemed unphased, and showed a clip of his newest film (Postal), in which the opening scene pokes fun at the 9/11 hijackers in a cockpit talking about how many virgins they'll have waiting for them (while the passengers of flight 93 bang on the cabin door). After the clip ran, even more people left. One girl grabbed the mic and told him to "Get the fuck off the stage, what the hell was that racist shit?". Most of the remaining people in attendance either laughed or applauded.

Like a bad train wreck, I was unable to look away, so I took advantage of the now empty giant room and moved to the front. John, Scott and I stayed for the rest of his unmoderated panel, where he basically listened to geek after geek get up and tear him a new one. There was no moderator, no one to filter the questions....just a bunch of angry dorks and a German director known for making awful video game flicks. George Bush would have gotten a warmer reception at the Democratic national convention.

One of my favorite comments: "You're in a room full of your harshest critics and you can't fight us all, how does that make you feel?". I actually felt sorry for the poor guy as he tried to explain that his boxing match against one of his critics was a one time only thing. He was sort of funny, but it wasn't enough to save him. At least he'll laugh his way to the bank with his next paycheck......not that I'll be seeing his new movie or anything.

After that horrible scene we went back to the Expo hall. It's so huge this year that we didn't have time to see nearly half of it before it closed for the evening. Afterwards, John and I did some DS gaming while Scott entered a Magic tournament, then at about 10pm tonight we jumped into the first console tourney of the event: Guitar Hero. Unfortunately for us, the rules said you had to play on the Hard setting (or worse) and neither of us is that good. We failed our practice song and decided to gracefully bow out lest we stick around and be slaughtered.

We watched one of the concerts (The One Ups) when Scott called and said he was done. Came home...and here I am. The day is done, and I'm off to bed so I can get a good night's rest before getting up to do it all over again tomorrow.

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