Penny Arcade Expo - Day 1

Greetings everyone from Seattle, one of the greatest places in the United States. The air is rather pure, with a slight accent of pine, the streets are rather clean for a rather large metropolis, and there are farely few bums to be found.

I'm in Seattle because of the nation's large gaming get together, the Penny Arcade Expo or PAX. The year is year number 4, which has been relocated to the Washington Community Center where I had attended Sakura-con back in April.

Last night, I got into the area around Midnight or so, met up with Dan & Becky, and pretty much went straight to bed since Midnight = 2AM local time, for me. This morning I woke up at 7AM, which is pretty amazing. Rarely am I awake and ready to hit the town so early, until I realized, it was actualy 9AM local time, for me.

We got over to PAX about 8.30-ish where the line had already begun to form, despite PAX not opening until 2pm.

The line was kinda long, but was it really worth it to sit in line for close to 5 hours, just to get inside right as it opened? I mean, the Con itself will be pretty widely opened later. Yeah, screw this line crap. let's tour!

We went down the road to Pike's Peer or Pike's Place or whatever you wish to call it.

Pike's Peer is a cornucopia of local farmers, fisherman, floral-men, gift shops, etc. all along the waterfront of the Seattle bay.

Absolutely beautiful.. How can you not love Seattle. Honestly..

Also on Pike's Peer is the Starbucks Number 1. The first Starbucks ever made. The originator.

Out front were a bunch of hippy musicians.

This stand has a bunch of chiles on a string!

Inside Pike's Peer was an aptly named sushi bar, Umai Sushi & Teriyaki. Umai is kind of a trendy word for delicious or super delicious in Japan. Kinda like "Yum" or "Yummy" in our vocabulary.

After Pike's Peer we walked past the Art Museum, and visited the Seattle Public Library, which is a marvel of modern-esq architecture.. Difficult to photograph in tight quarters though :/

It was starting to get close to 2pm, so we decided to head back to PAX and sit in line once again. We took a shortcut through the park

Back at the Con, the line had grown just a little bit.

But it really wasn't too long before began to move, and we were past the gates and inside the exhibition hall.

more pictures!

4pm rolled around very quickly, which was when the guest of honor, Wil Wheaton, was to give his keynote speach.

Wil Wheaton gave an amazing speech of his childhood growing up with games, what games really meant to him, and how gaming is really the social pinacle of our lives as gamers. The fact that gaming a social medium on the same level as any other hobby, and it is also an artist medium on the same level as movies and fine art.

He also blasted any political critics that defined gaming as anti-social, because in our own lives, gaming is nothing but a social activity. How else would 30,000 gamers come together at one location to be with each other, simply because we ARE gamers. This is no difficult than a bunch of sports fan packing into a stadium to watch a game. Nothing different than state citizens coming together for a state fair.

As he said to finish off his speech.. if you find someone who thinks that gaming is anti-social. you should invite him over sometime to play a game, and see what they think of it. ^_^

Great speech overall.. Hopefully the PAX07 dvd will be released containing it. If not, hopefully the video will pop up on YouTube at some point. It's probably there now.. maybe.

After Wil Wheaton's speech, Gabe and Tycho take the stage for some hilarious Q & A. One Q resulted in Tycho singing on stage, which resulted in everyone holding their lighters in the air, or in the case of us gamers.. our DS screens.

As a special ironic treat, Gabe & Tycho has a special guest star for an improtu appearance after their Q&A. Someone reveared in the gaming community. To their dismay, they were unable to get Jack Thompson to attend, but got the next best guest.. Uwe Boll.

haha. It was rather hilarious that they actually got him to come to PAX and speak to the crowd.. but it didn't really pay off all that much. This guy is pretty damn boring, and just ended up talking about random things that weren't interesting. Joystiq taped a video of Uwe Boll on stage.

Outside, I ran into Mr. Destructoid.

And we continued looking around the exhibition hall.

They had an aquarium cooled PC box.

It was around this time that we caught up with Ace & Jess, who were working at the Con, later in the night. We went a couple blocks away to an amazing Asia-esq restaurant, Wild Ginger. A very trendy semi-upscale restaurant where the food was fantastic. I had the Mushrooms and Peapods.

Back at the Con, we were getting pretty tired but hung around a little while for the One-Ups, which were the first headliners at this evenings concert. The was starting to wear on us though, so we began to make our way back to the room for the evening.
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I must say that PAX is quite impressive. Not only have a had a great time seeing a ton of new games, met Mr. Destructoid, listened to Wil Wheaton talk passionately about gaming, and so forth.. but the Con itself is amazing organized. For already having 30,000 registered people at this Con, everything is spread out enough that you're hardly cramped for space.

Even all the standing in lines hasn't been that bad at all because everyone had been sifted off into areas that could accommodate everyone.

There's so little frustration with the way everything in being handled that all you see is everyone having a great time. No one is pissed off, or bitchy. When you look at random people, they have smiles across their faces.

So far, I'm having a great time here, and it's really amazing to have that Con spirit rekindled inside of myself after getting so damn bored at Anime Conventions. These resurfaced feelings of being at Con remind of the first time I went to Anime Iowa back in 2002 or 2001.

Fantastic.
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Anywho.. more to follow on tomorrow's events. ^_^




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