Category Archives: Experiences

The McDonald’s Manager: A random tale from my high school years.

I don’t post in this blog too often, but I’m going to relay a personal story that I had been thinking about recently…

My high school, MLC in downtown Portland, was a fairly relaxed one. One where you could go anywhere you want to eat for lunch. Most people went to the newly-opened (at the time) Pizza Schmizza to chill and occasionally play pool. Though since I didn’t want to get sick of pizza, I tried various other options. Though usually when all else failed, I went to McDonald’s.

There’s a McDonald’s down on West Burnside St. In a fairly busy part of downtown Portland. Since it was a 5 minute walk to there, it was my frequent haunt. I have only eaten their burgers a few times, and they were not pleasing to my appetite compared to Wendy’s or Burger King. So I usually get chicken something, usually their chicken sandwiches, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

One thing I remember is this manager. I’m bad at guessing nationalities, but he was likely hispanic. He was always there. He remembered me and was usually able to predict my orders since I usually stuck to the same stuff.

I graduated from MLC in 2005. Since then I had been there sporadically, though if I wanted a McDonald’s while in downtown there were a few a bit closer to Pioneer Courthouse Square that I opted to go to instead. Though every once in a while I’d go back to that McDonald’s and grab something to eat because it’s somewhat comforting in a weird sort of way.

The restaurant’s gone through the usual renovations, adding loads of curved seating and tall tables, as well as an HDTV always on some cable channel. I still see that manager there, though now much older. Other workers have come and gone over the years, likely going to more higher-paying jobs. I figured it must be paying good if he’s still there today.

Now my original story would’ve ended here. Since it was just a random tale about seeing the same person working at the same place for (presumably) a long, long time. But today was different. I stepped into that McDonald’s just to grab some McNuggets, and it just so happens I see that same manager there.

He smiles as I stepped up to the counter, saying “I remember you!” surprising me considerably. As I was giving my order, he asked the usual thing anyone asks you when it’s been a long time since they’ve last seen you: what you’ve been up to, where you go to school now, that sort of thing. I was actually surprised he remembered me, considering he likely sees hundreds of people go in and out of that place daily, and has done that for several years. But apparently I was enough of a regular at that place for him to remember me. It certainly surprised the hell out of me.

I know this likely sounds like the dumbest personal story ever, but it holds some nostalgia for me. It makes me yearn for those somewhat blissful high school years again. Or at least, meet up with some old friends I haven’t seen in a while. Funny how this came about because of a manager at McDonald’s. But that’s how life experiences go, you know?

Meeting Ken Jennings.

I know I update this blog about once every six months at this point, but it’s because I usually have nothing interesting happen in my life that’s blog-worthy. Wednesday changed all that.

I heard Ken Jennings was coming into town at Powell’s Books to talk about his new book, Because I Said So!, which talks about myths and legends that you might’ve heard from your parents. For those not quite in the loop, Jennings was the guy who went on Jeopardy! back in 2004 and won over $2,500,000 thanks to the show’s then-new rule of staying a returning champion until you were defeated. Since then, he’s wrote a book about the experience — Brainiac — as well as a trivia almanac and a book about maps titled Maphead, so he’s been keeping busy with telling his trivia knowledge to the masses. One of these days I need to pick up Brainiac just so I can do a compare-and-contrast with another book written by another former Jeopardy! contestant: Prisoner of Trebekistan by Bob Harris. Never finished Trebekistan, but it’s still a great read.

So, the event was mostly Jennings repeating stuff from the book and interjecting with a good amount of humor. I follow the guy on Twitter, so I’m used to some of his jokey, sometimes groan-worthy humor, but there were plenty of laughs here and there. After that, there was a book signing in which I snagged a copy and got him to sign it. As well as a picture.

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Normally I usually don’t do photo-ops with famous people, especially since a picture in 2009 with a games journalist-turned-game designer looked painfully uncomfortable from his point of view. But I really couldn’t pass this one up, since it’s Ken freakin’ Jennings. Afterwards I hopped on a train and went home — it was pretty late, and I’m usually not out and about at night.

I don’t really give myself time to read books, but I’ll likely read Because I Said So! in the near future and maybe write about it. We shall see.

Football.

So yesterday, me, my dad, my aunt visiting from Las Vegas, my uncle and my cousins piled into a rental van and drove from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA for the football game in CenturyLink field. The Seattle Seahawks vs. the Green Bay Packers. I’ve to sporting events in the past: A few Portland Trail Blazer games, a Mariners game in middle school, even a minor league game in Wisconsin a couple years ago, but never to a football game. So this was going to be a fun experience.

Outside of my aunt, everybody, including me, was wearing some form of Packers garb. A shirt, a jersey of Clay Matthews or other supporting members of the team, all that jazz. Our family are Packers fans, we got team shirts, a blanket when they won Super Bowl XXXI, even a big Packers bobblehead that features a soundbite of the Hank Williams Jr. Monday Night Football theme that’s kinda funny now. Personally, I like both teams for different reasons: Green Bay because of their skill and past victories, Seattle because they’re the closest football team, but I had my Packers Super Bowl victory shirt from a year or two ago for the game.

We arrived in Seattle around 3:00, and didn’t take long to get through the large crowd and get inside. Unfortunately we were in the nosebleed section, where we walked up lots of stairs. It was a good view of the field from above, but somewhat of a pain to go up and down in to get to the restrooms or snack bars.  Regardless, we snagged some drinks and snacks — $10 for fries and a root beer? Ridiculous — and sat down for kickoff around 5:30.

It was interesting to see the pre-game events where they grab audience members to win prizes, which I’ve seen in the other sporting events I went to. They also had sponsor offers if certain events happened at the game. For instance, if the Seahawks had 3 QB sacks in the game, you could show your ticket stub at a Jack-in-the-Box for a free Jumbo Jack. Funny enough, we walked by the Jack-in-the-Box after the game to see it was closed for the night. Clearly they didn’t want thousands of Seahawks fans flooding the place, and I couldn’t blame them.

Now, if you follow football in any capacity, you may have heard about the bad judgement call by the referees at the end of the game, where they gave the Seahawks the win despite it being an interception/safety by the Packers. Alas, we really couldn’t see it from up there, but when I saw it when I got back, I have to agree: it’s quite bullshit that they decided to stick with the call, even after the fact when they said “Yeah it’s true, it should be a safety; but we ain’t changing the results.” Despite that and getting a few words of encouragement from random Packers and Seahawks fans, we all piled up in the car and got home around 1:30AM.

Would I do it again? Certainly. It’s infinitely better than watching it at home, though it can be deafening to those who aren’t used to the loud noise, like me.

Me, the tour guide.

Oh hey, I’m not quite dead. My apologies, there hasn’t been much going on in my world to really justify posting a blog article. Unless people wanna know what I bought off Steam’s recent Summer Sale. (Saints Row: The Third, PAYDAY: The Heist and Just Cause 2. total cost of about $21.) But stuff did happen a few days ago, so here we go.

I found out my friend Elizabeth was briefly visiting town for OSCON, to accept an award. Elizabeth and I have known each other online for about a decade, starting with an old Mystery Science Theater 3000 chatroom back in its heyday. (I still keep up with a few friends from that chat every now and then.) When I found out she was visiting, I was excited to finally get to meet her in person. So we met on Saturday morning and went to a few travel spots. My apologies for no pictures this time ’round, I only took one due to the poor quality of my phone.

First was a Rogue Ales restaurant in downtown. I’m not a beer drinker (most of them have a strong bitter taste I’m not used to), but she wanted to check this place out. We both got a sampler tray of beers, which were all pretty good despite some of them being a little strong. After a little cajoling afterwards, we hopped on the MAX train to go to the Oregon Zoo. I’ve seen the zoo many times but never actually been to it, so it was a unique experience, at least. Most of the animals were in hiding due to the heat (it was about late 80s or so), but what we did see was pretty darn cool. At one point we bought tickets for a train, but realized the trip would take too long and we were kinda pressed for time, so we didn’t get to do that. Maybe next time when it’s not as hot.

Granted, during the whole zoo trip I was kinda exhausted and worn out, though I didn’t say a word because I thought it would’ve been rude to complain. After all, I’m not a kid, I’m a grown-ass man. Despite the heat it was a cool experience and I wouldn’t mind going again someday.

Afterwards, we head back downtown and wait for another internet friend of ours to meet up. However, by the time he showed up it was 4:30PM, and she had to get on a plane in an hour or two, so we couldn’t catch an early dinner. I said my hellos and goodbyes, then headed back towards home, where I bumped into another friend on the way there, as we conversed on the way home.

It wasn’t until the following day did I realize that this wouldn’t have occurred without the internet. I know people are bound to say the internet rots your brain and all that goofy jazz, but I wouldn’t have as many friends in this world had I not discovered it. The internet made this more possible for me, and I am grateful for it.

I hope the next time Elizabeth comes in town that it’s for more than a day, there’s a lot of interesting locales in downtown Portland alone, and that’s not even including stuff like Forest Park and the rest of Washington Park we didn’t see. Even Lloyd Center is an interesting tourist attraction. 😛

The Portland Classic Car Expo

I went to a car show last weekend. To be exact, the Portland Classic Car Expo. I’m not a big car guy, but I needed something to do and time to kill, so my friend Bennet brought me along for the ride.

There were a bevy of cars there: Old 50s dragsters, 60s-70s muscle cars, even old 1900 carriage cars. A good section was squared off to specific replicas of famous cars from movies and TV shows. Among those featured was KITT from Knight Rider, two cars from Death Proof, the Hummer from Zombieland, the Eliminator car that ZZ Top used in their music videos in the 80s, and the god damn Batmobile.

The BatmobileCue the Batman theme.

They had a lot of muscle cars from the 70s, and even a Datsun car circa 1991 that could almost fit in the modern style. My friend also pointed out how many modern car companies are making their Mustangs and other models look more like the 60s versions as a throwback. Not surprising considering how many of those there were. You can see more of the cars here.

The Classic Car Expo was a nice time-killer for the weekend, surely. Makes me want to find use for my Dad’s 1963 Ford truck. He was restoring it for a few years and now it just lies near our driveway. Wonder how much it would cost to finish it up, or at least sell it as-is…

Game haul: Retro Gaming Expo edition.

Hello gentlemen (and ladies!). I am back with some random goodie buys, partially because of a recent event called the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. a small little convention for old and new school gamers alike. Most of the booths were selling old games from the 2600 to the PS1, but also some current and last-generation games, so it was more of a gaming flea market than a mini-version of PAX or anything like that.

Among seeing plastic statues of Master Chief and Naked Snake, I saw a bunch of arcade units including Capcom Bowling and Vs. Super Mario Bros. I also met Pat the NES Punk but missed out on the opportunity to see David Crane of Pitfall and early 2600 fame. Clearly I had my priorities straight. I also spotted a dude wearing a Whiskey Media shirt (Giant Bomb, Comic Vine, etc), didn’t catch his name though. Perhaps that was for the best, he might’ve been a fan of Comic Vine. (I kid, I also saw him at the convention).

Game haul for 9/24Game Haul for 9/25

Picture on the left’s the haul from Saturday the 24th, the other is from yesterday on the 25th.

So there’s a lot of Quake games in that first picture. Quake (Saturn), Quake II (PS1) and Quake III Arena (Dreamcast). The PS1 Quake II has a few features unique to that version, as well as a prologue level not seen in the PC version. I honestly bought it because I was curious how that version handled.

Quake Saturn was made by Lobotomy Software, and actually uses the Slavedriver engine used to run PowerSlave on the consoles rather than reverse-engineer John Carmack’s Quake engine to run on a system not built for 3D. Duke Nukem 3D on the Saturn was also a Lobotomy project and reused the Slavedriver engine as well, which is baffling because the Build engine is not a taxing piece of hardware.

Quake III for the Dreamcast was rare at the time for having cross-platform play with PC owners, as well as mouse/keyboard support. If you were still rocking a 486 in 1999 and couldn’t play any modern game, the DC version was probably one worth checking out. Granted, you wouldn’t get levels like Chronic on the DC, but maybe that’s for the best.

Soldier of Fortune on the Dreamcast was, like almost every game I bought, more for curiosity’s sake. See, back in the day PCs were drastically more powerful than the average console, thus it was interesting to see developers tweak and modify PC games to run on older, weaker hardware. Soemtimes to even give incentive they’d add new stuff to that version. I bet Soldier of Fortune was a bare-bones port but hey, at least I can play it since my PC copy refuses to install on my Vista box.

The World is Not Enough for the PS1 was a random impulse buy because I’m always curious on the James Bond games not called “Goldeneye.” While many people still think there hasn’t been a good Bond game since Goldeneye, some of the EA games barring junk like Goldeneye: Rogue Agent were actually pretty good. This was made by the same guys that gave us the Syphon Filter-esque Tomorrow Never Dies a year prior, but this is a FPS. I have no clue if it’s any good.

I bought considerably less on Sunday, but I bought Aladdin on the Genesis (Pre-Shiny Entertainment game, complete with Dave Perry and Tommy Tallarico!) and Toejam & Earl III (mostly for my mom, she loved that game). Lastly, that Nintendo Power is to replace a destroyed copy I’ve been mysteriously holding onto for years. I knew a friend who had a cousin who had Nintendo Power issues, and most of them got damaged or ransacked, but I was able to pilfer a few issues from them, including issue 28, which featured the new SNES hit Super Mario World. My copy was missing the front cover and the first 10 pages. Now that I have a complete issue, I should probably use the destroyed issue as a firestarter. You think retro game fans will go nuts for me destroying an old gaming magazine? 😛

Spotted: Sega CD SnatcherWhuh... why do you exist?

Also spotted at the convention was a copy of Snatcher for the Sega CD for too damn much ($250!) and Cardcaptor Sakura Tetris for the PlayStation ($50). Yeah, I don’t know what to say about that last one.

I wanna say the Retro Gaming Expo was pretty sweet, and I hope they do it again next year, because I’ll totally go again. Maybe the price of Duke Nukem 3D on the Saturn won’t be $25, or how one booth was selling Mr. Gimmick and Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels reproduction cartridges for $65-75. (Another booth was also selling SMB: Lost Levels for a more modest $35.)

(Crossposted to my Giant Bomb blog.)

Rockin’ up to PAX Prime 2011.

In two days, PAX Prime will be happening up in Seattle. And I’m gonna be there.

Honestly, PAX is one of the few events I actively anticipate every year. This is my third year going to PAX, and every year I had fun with occasional bouts of sadness. Part of that sadness is when I realize it’s all over. The rest is because of my slight social anxiety. Granted, I realize that there’s people even shier than me. But I missed out on primo opportunities to say hi to some people whom I’ve recognized in the industry in many ways. Well, that isn’t happening any more. Because fuck that shit.

There’s no need for me to be shy to anyone, they’re just ordinary dudes with jobs whom have moderate to large fanbases. Much like how I have a minuscule fanbase, they just have bigger groups of fans who are willing to recite dumb shit about Wizards or strapping it on. I’m not that kind of person, I’d rather just have regular conversations with them, which tends to bring out funny or interesting stories.

If you’re going to PAX, I hope to see you there. It’ll be fun as hell. Honest. Better than that dumb thing Tim Buckley holds every year.

Shop finds for 7/1/11.

In my spare time, when not playing video games and arguing with people over the internet, I occasionally peruse thrift stores, pawn shops and various game stores (yes, even GameStop) for random game finds. I do this because it’s something of an old habit I’ve done for years back when I used to collect game show board games about ten years ago. Now I have over 80 of those board games sitting in my garage going unused, so I shifted my hunt from board games to video games and occasional miscellanea. Thrift stores are great for that.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, Chris Kohler of Wired’s GameLife blog occasionally chronicled his thrift store finds on the blog, such as finding Frogger for the Intellivision complete in box, with the original receipt from 1983. It was always intriguing to hear what people found in a random shop for a couple of bucks. Since I love being inspired by other people’s concepts and ideas, I’m going to chronicle my own thrift store and pawn shop finds. Because I find this stuff interesting.

Yesterday, while on my way to hang at a friend’s place, I went to a local pawn shop, Meese’s Pieces. The place I went to had almost all games for $5. That meant NES games were $5, SNES games were $5, even PS1/PS2 games were $5 each. The only ones that weren’t $5 flat were 360 and PS3 games. Unfortunately I didn’t have much cash on me, but I did walk away with these 3 games for $13:

7/1/11 game haul

The one on top is Shaq Fu for the Super NES. Developed by Delphine Software (Flashback, Another World), it is considered to be one of the worst games ever made. It’s so bad that there’s a site for wanting to destroy every copy in existence to saving every copy. I really only bought it for the kitsch factor, and actual proof of how putting a sports star in a game that’s not sports-related isn’t always the best idea.

The second game is No One Can Stop Mr. Domino! for the PS1. I had heard of this game from Giant Bomb‘s Ryan Davis, who is apparently a big fan of this crazy-ass game. It’s basically the most absurd game I’ve seen to come out of Japan, where you play a domino and try to lay a pattern down to cause really strange things happen. It’s a Japanese game alright. Apparently there was a spiritual successor for this on the Wii, but it’s probably impossible to find these days.

The last game is Syphon Filter for the PS1. I’m a slight fan of the Syphon Filter games, and they’re the only games I thoroughly enjoyed on the PSP. I had never played the original trilogy on the PS1 or the PS2 title The Omega Strain, but I had heard they were enjoyable games. With those factors in mind, I decided to snag a copy of it. Well, that and if the other two games I bought were absolutely abysmal, I wanted to at least have a good game to play to wash away the shitty taste of the former two.

My apologies if these aren’t interesting enough finds, but I just wanted to own these more from a collector’s standpoint. The original PlayStation was a system I never had many games for, and I wanted to grab some of the classics as well as some of the obscure favorites and anything else that caught my eye. Problem is that 90% of the time I peruse thrift stores for PS1 games, I end up finding 25 old copies of Madden NFL or FIFA more than anything really interesting. I don’t see a need to buy old sports games unless they’re really valuable, like the first sports game released on a console, or well-known editions of the game or whatever. I have nothing against sports games, I just don’t want to pay $4 for Madden NFL 98 on the PS1.

(And not only have I found old games, I’ve even found old gaming magazines from about 8-9 years ago at thrift stores. Like two unopened Official Xbox Magazine issues from 2003, and a Game Informer issue that revealed the then-new Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. These are infinitely more interesting to me, as I look at gaming magazines from a nostalgic standpoint, so I can see a snapshot of what gaming was back then.)

The adventures of my new phone.

I’ve always tried my best to keep tabs on technology in some way. I follow some tech-savvy dudes on Twitter, and browse sites like Tested and Engadget occasionally. But, I could never keep myself up-to-date with technology. Mainly because technology can be pretty damn expensive, and that technology includes cell phones.

For about 2-3 years, I was “rocking” an old Motorola flip phone. It was really clunky, took a while to do certain options, and could browse the internet very slowly and horribly. When I hung out with friends, I was annoyed at the fact they’d have snappy phones like Blackberrys and iPhones, while I sat here messing around with my dinky flip phone, occasionally flipping it up in vague hope I’d have somebody leave me a message or something. (Nobody really ever called me or sent me any messages, I just considered it something to do while I was bored.)

So I had been wanting a smartphone. Then that nasty thing called “price” reared its ugly head once more. Even though friends had made great suggestions like phones with the Android OS, most of the Android phones were very expensive. Not only that, I was trying to be coerced out of doing a contract because I was told by my father that “services like Boost Mobile and Cricket are going to be the standard” — or something to that effect — which further clouded my decision-making. But come hell or high water I was gonna get a smart phone.

My choice was the Samsung Transform. Granted, it’s not an HTC Evo or a Nexus One, but it does what I want it to do: Browse the web, use applications like Twitter, and be able to share images and video. With the old phone, I felt separated from the internet. I know that sounds weird, but nothing sucked more than coming home to 200 unread tweets, about 100 unread Facebook messages, and several new emails after being away from the PC for a few hours at a time. I wanted to stay connected, and the Transform does just that. It even has MP3-playing capabilities, but I doubt I’d use it for anything outside of listening to podcasts, like what I use my old PSP for. The Transform may not be able to play popular Android games like Angry Birds, but I can live with that.

I know this sounds dumb and goofy, but this is literally a major milestone to me. For instance, on the 30th, after having a late birthday drink, I was able to do the following:

– Have a brief conversation with an internet friend over Twitter
– Browse Destructoid‘s news articles
– Check if there was a way to get home by mass transit, using a combination of the Maps application and Trimet‘s mobile site.

Before, I would’ve had to check Trimet’s transit tracker at nearby stops and by calling the phone number (238-RIDE), and probably get a ride home halfway as most of the buses stop service early on Sundays. Now, with my new phone, I can be confident in finding an easy way home. It works out for me more than you think it does, really.

I have a bunch of things planned for the course of the year. Ideally I want to get a job, finally learn to drive, and live out on my own. While some of those may be far off, it doesn’t hurt for me to be optimistic for a change. Certainly is better than feeling like worthless crap, anyway.

My PAX 2010 experience.

A day late (and many dollars short), but I am slowly and steadily recovering from the 2010 Penny Arcade Expo. It being my second PAX, it was a different and more sociable experience than it was before. I got to met various gamers and games writers, even if it was being near them and not greeting them (Sorry, Dan Amrich, Frank Cifaldi and Karen Chu), I also got to play video games. But I’ll save that for later.

First, I make crappy choices when it comes to choosing hotels to the event. Last year, I took a hotel near the airport. This year, near the University of Washington. Granted, Silver Cloud Inn is a great hotel, but I should’ve chosen somewhere closer. Third time’s the charm for next year? But anyway.

I went to a bunch of panels during all three days. The first one I went to was the Rock Band 3 panel because I love Rock Band. I also love Guitar Hero and even the bastard offspring of similar plastic instrument music games (Rock Revolution, PowerGig). While there wasn’t anything mind-blowing at the panel, it did bring me insight on how they do games like that. Funny enough, they showed an early version of the Rock Band 3 “pro” guitar trainer, which was literally drawn out step-by-step as if a person is too dumb to understand how a guitar works. It was kinda hilarious in that respect.

Later into the day, I went to a panel called “Memoirs of a Triple Agent,” a panel hosted by Greg Kasavin, a former editor at GameSpot and now a producer on a small development company called Super Giant Games. I talked to him after the show and we both agreed: Doom 3 was an utter disappointment. And it was funny, he mentioned that (at the time, anyway), his was the lowest out of all the review scores for the game.

The last panel I went to Friday was for Giant Bombcast Live, since I love the guys at Giant Bomb so much. It was the typical funny and insightful Bombcast, complete with guest appearances by some game developers, and even a brief transition to a small podcast segment with analyst Michael Pachter, former GFW and EA writer Jeff Green, and former PC Gamer editor/writer of The Book of Eli, Gary Whitta. No Rich Gallup this year, though, which was disappointing.

Later that night, I tried to shoehorn myself into the 1UP/Deus Ex event, but I just talked with a bunch of gamers and heard from various games writers about stuff. I left somewhat dejected, but that went away by the time I went back to Seattle on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, the first panel I went to was for Destructoid Live, a crazy live panel consisting of a few famous “Dtoid” personalities. I’ve been periodically writing blogs for the site, and I have lambasted the site before here and on Dtoid itself. But then I had an epiphany: Before, I had partially written the site off because the quality of the writing on sites like those were usually below average. By the time I had asked a question, I had understood Destructoid’s MO: It is meant simply as a quirky, eccentric way into the world of video games by gamers who don’t take things seriously. That is something I can appreciate, and am willing to accept. Telling them that they’re better than Kotaku by a longshot was good enough too.

Later that day, I poked my head in for GameTrailers’ Bonus Round Live, which featured a panel of Warren Spector, Ed Boon and somebody from 5th Cell whose name I forgot. It was basically about the philosophy of design between the three developers. Stupid fact: Spector’s been a designer on some games that he eventually took his name off. Which ones those are we’ll probably never know, but it was an interesting segment. By the time we got to the Q&A though, I got somewhat bored and left early, the only panel I did that on. Nothing against GT or Geoff Keighley, it just felt kinda boilerplate like most other panels by then.

I had considered going to a panel that was sponsored by The Geekbox and Rebel FM, but by then I was somewhat worn out and was disinterested. Nothing against those guys as those panels are unique for having different ideals, but it was 6PM by then. I wanted to play some more games at the Exhibition Hall before it closed, only to find out it closes at 6PM.

After PAX was winding down for Saturday night, I went to the Destructoid meetup at The Chapel Bar and Grill and met some Dtoiders there, including one I’ve known way back before I went to Dtoid, which was a real treat. I got tipsy drunk! I got to talk to random dudes and see hot chicks put on a Destructoid headmask! But then I left early to head back to my hotel.

Sunday was a one-panel affair: Seeing Idle Thumbs cast its final pod at PAX. It was an interesting event considering of people talking about board games involving wine and host/editor Chris Remo sing us acoustic versions of The Wizard and Space Asshole. I snagged a few posters from there, and I had asked a question about Far Cry 2 that I didn’t get a clear answer to. I hated the game, but they were surprised when they found out I actually had finished the game and they hadn’t. Whoops.

Other than that, it was me playing a few more games before the show ended, then went to the last Destructoid meetup at Rock Bottom Bar and Grill, meeting more random Dtoiders and even a few staffers, which was pretty sweet.

After that, it was time to pack and get ready to head home. It didn’t set in that it was over until I left for the airport. I had done a lot of things, met a lot of people, and played games. It was a wonderful experience, and it was a nice change of pace. It also gave me a different outlook on things: I have anxiety problems where I’m reluctant to talk with people, but that became something I had to abandon if I didn’t want to be some social outcast who does some dramatic suicide pact that appears on the 11PM news. And I feel grateful for it. I didn’t get the opportunity to say hi to everyone, or see everything, but that’s okay. I feel good for what I did see.

So if you’re wondering if PAX is worth it. I say this: Go to PAX. Live on the East Coast? Go to PAX East. Live outside the US? You have no excuse, I met various gamers from Europe and Canada. You will have a blast that you will always remember. Hell, after last year’s PAX I was still remembering it almost every day until this year’s PAX, and I expect it will be the same until next year.

Lastly, I will say this: Make sure you know your video game characters when you ask to take photos of them. I accidentally called a Crimson Viper cosplayer “Bayonetta.” Whoops.