This weekend I’ve been at my third convention this August. Thankfully, the Penny Arcade Expo is in Seattle, so I didn’t have to travel to get there. While PAX has some tabletop gaming, it’s mostly a video game show. In just a few years it’s gone from humble beginnings to a huge show that may top 40,000 attendees this year. Craziness.
Friday I worked in the office for most of the day and then met up with Kate and Nik. We went to the musical guest panel because our boys the Darkest of the Hillside Thickets were down from the Great White North to rock the con. The panel was ill-conceived though, as it put every single musical guest (some 25 people) on stage at once. Moderation was practically non-existent, so while there was some interesting talk from the bands answers tended to meander.
That evening we had dinner with Wil Wheaton and Toren Atkinson (the singer for the Thickets, long time artist for Green Ronin, and of course the co-designer of the Spaceship Zero RPG). We don’t get to see either of them frequently enough, so it was great to catch up.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Flying Lab booth doing press stuff. Did a bunch of interviews that seemed to go well. In the afternoon I was on a panel called “The Art of the Dungeon Master” with Mark Jessup, Chris Perkins, and James Wyatt of WotC, and Mike Fehlauer from Penny Arcade. The room was totally full and sadly they had to turn people away. I didn’t know what to expect but it went pretty well. Mark acted as moderator and he did a good job and kept things moving. I wish we could have gone overtime to take more questions, but otherwise it was a good time.
Last night we went to the music show. The fist band was Anamanaguchi. They are from the “chip scene”, which uses the sound code from old hardware to make music. So this was like modern prog rock overlaid with NES -style music. I got to say I found it intensely boring, but they were playing for the right crowd and got a good response. The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets played next and they rocked the house. I hadn’t seen them play in 3 and 4 years and it was great to hear songs like Shoggoths Away and the Innsmouth Look once again. New guitarist Mario was really good and the two guitar attack worked well for them. I have seen the Thickets in some weird places (like the holiday party of Duthie’s books in Vancouver) but finally they seemed to be in front of the audience they deserve. When they closed with Color Me Green, 3,000 odd people were chanting “Ia ia, Cthulhu f’tagn” along with the band. It was awesome.
Today more FLS press and hopefully a chance to walk around the exhibit hall.