I knew that the really cool plans that I laid out in my pre-pax schedule were subject to change, and they did!
Thursday: Joe Kozachek drove us from Burlington, Vermont and while he drove, I worked really hard at looking at stuff. We made it to Cambridge around 5:30ish where I took the Green Line from the Science Center to my destination: HYNES! Obejective: Make it to my Gameshark dinner with Troy Goodfellow, Jenn Cutter, Meghan Watt, and Rob Zacny, PLUS have time to grab my media badge for tomorrow. I was really excited to meet Troy and Jenn for the first time IRL. Troy and I used to write for CGM back in the days of yore, and I also guested on his podcast about the gender gap with Jenn Cutter and Lara Crigger.
My mission was a complete success thanks to Jenn, and I even conquered my insanely humongous bar meal which was really messy. I’m pretty sure I grossed everyone out. We saw a number of pre-PAX East nerds sporting POKEMON stuff, which made Jenn visibly squee. You see, Jenn <3’s Pokemons.
Next, I had to navigate the T system and make it to Cambridge, where the generous Ben Webster of MIT became my hospitable host. He was extremely thoughtful and gracious about me staying at his place with really short notice. Thank you, Sir Webster!
Friday: Welcome to the CLUSTERFUCK. I slept in, donned my Kombo.com shirt like I promised, and showed up to the Hynes about an hour or so early. There was an entire room devoted to the queue. To put that in perspective, imagine the lines at Disney. Now imagine you put all the lines from all the rides together, and you’re in a big room. These guys aren’t even in the queue room. That’s how packed this was. There was a line just to queue. Thankfully, there was queue entertainment which was freaking awesome. I was looking for a video online and didn’t find any, so let me know if you see it.
Went to the Journalists vs Devs: The Ultimate Grudge Match at 2pm featuring panelists Tim Gerritsen (Director of Product Development, Irrational Games), Chris Kohler (Editor, Games, Wired.com), John Drake (Publicist, Harmonix), Patrick Klepek (News Editor, G4), and moderating Jeff Green (Editor-in-Chief, EA). Patrick Klepek was representing the writers well, and probably reading my mind. Also, Jeff was kindof doing a weird not-journalist/not-dev hybrid thing as the host. Something about that sounds familiar but I’m not sure why.
It was great to see Jeff, and we had a few minutes to bond over our dead magazines before running away from the enforcers and Jeff’s adoring fans. We all support you! PS: Jeff Green has balls of steel.
Afterward, there was no way I was getting into the 3pm keynote hosted by Wil Wheaton. I was too late getting out of the panel to wait in the line to get in, which I suspected would happen. So instead I took a look around the Expo floor, and made mental notes about where I would focus my attention. I spoke to devs and others about their games, and miraculously forgot to bring my business cards to the show that day. Which was awesome, because I couldn’t give anyone anything to contact me with.
After futzing for a while around the Expo, I got texts inviting me to meet up with Jenn Cutter’s old buddies at G4 (formerly the superb TechTV) where Jenn used to work. We asked some hot firemen with cool Boston accents how to get to the TC Lounge, fulfilling one of Jenn Cutter’s life goals of hearing an authentic Boston accent. It was a hole in the wall, nearly empty, and strangely decorated with naked ladies and one of those claw arcade games with prizes—only all the prizes were like, asian porn for some reason.
The group was a little concerned that this was not where we were supposed to be, due to the weirdness. But after a while nerds were showing up and it was all good. Jenn introduced us to the amazingly cool Matt Keil, who was super smart and awesome. We talked about games the entire time. Rob left early with his girlfriend, a physicist, who is way cooler than him. Meghan couldn’t stop saying intelligent things and impressing me despite being female. What’s up with that?
We also met and talked with Adam Sessler for a while, which was intimidating at first, but he was so nice. I suggested a game of Rise of Nations with Adam, Matt, and myself. It sounded like the coolest idea ever, mostly because they kept insisting that they suck at RTSs. Of course, we didn’t invite Troy to play, because he’d just pummel us into meat.
I asked Matt and Adam for business cards, that way I could e-mail them later—also because I didn’t have mine (stupid, huh?). Matt complied, and then Adam said something weird about not having any because he didn’t like to lose money needlessly. I was confused, but was left feeling respect for Adam’s financial savvy. Through the din we figured out that Adam thought I was asking if he had cards so we could play poker or something. It was too fucking loud in the bar to hear anything. After clearing up that mishap, I offered to teach him how to school at poker, to which he declined, further insisting he was unteachable at poker.
It was the highlight of my day talking shop with such intelligent, informed people. They were so funny and had really interesting things to talk about. I was in awe of every single one of them, honestly. I had a great time watching the lovable Troy Goodfellow drink like a fish, and the adorable Jenn Cutter accidentally scare a hockey fan. Did I mention that Jenn Cutter is my personal badass hero?
I had to leave early and get back to Cambridge, but I had a stupid smile on my face all the way back.