In general I'm actually more a fan of Lewis than I am of Linkara. I've enjoyed listening to him on his appearances on Made of Fail, but I find a lot of the At4W humor to be based on nitpicking when I'd rather hear a valid critique. Regardless, I really enjoyed the panel. His review of the ridiculous Turbo Duo comic was funny because it's a horrible comic to begin with, and I also enjoyed the Robocop vs Terminator #1 review that he showed us. When the panel was done they sent us downstairs for the meet and greet and we ended up being the first ones there. However I didn't actually get to meet him because we were talking while waiting for him and in the midst of conversation it sounded like I was going to have to meet James alone the next night and I started freaking out right there in public. Bad me.
Pageant Mom made another appearance, basically pushing Dayna out of the way as she was talking to Lewis in order to get her son an autograph.
We headed back to the room to nap some more after the panel. I was surprised to find out that by this point I had collected 100 Miis with my 3DS. I had only found 2 people when I was back home, so it that was a fun surprise. There were a decent number of TGWTG people on there too which was amusing. I had one more panel I wanted to see that day, but it didn't start until 4:30 so I decided to go down to the merchandise and game room to see what I could find. I wanted to maybe get some Atari games for Jak, but they didn't seem to sell anything earlier than NES there. Has the market for earlier consoles really gone down that much at this point?
With nothing I wanted to buy I walked through the arcade and then over to where the consoles were. This was a huge area opposite the arcade where you could play Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Wii, Xbox, or Playstation games. A lot of people seemed to be using it for FPS multiplayer or fighting games, but I spotted Super Mario Kart abandoned and welcomed the chance to play an old classic. I was two races in when someone walked up and started chatting with me about the game. I asked if he wanted to join me, and he said yes. We played the Mushroom, Flower, and Special Cup at 100cc. He got first place on the first two, with me coming in third, but the computer was just too good for us to get past the ghost road in the special cup. Neither one of us had played the original game in years, so that didn't help. Anyway, his name was Eric and you can find him on Youtube doing Let's Plays as Thinker2112. Check him out!
I was feeling pretty good after that exchange. I had talked to a complete stranger for a good thirty minutes! It certainly says to me that what you hear about cons is true. You do have something in common with nearly everyone there, and even if you're usually one who stammers your way through a conversation, you're going to do tons better in this environment. I would continue to have something to talk about with every random person I ran into. The easiest thing to ask a person is where they are from, and the second easiest is to ask them what they came to see. Those awkward feelings I tend to have around the average person, the "I don't know what to say" issues, were really just gone.
We parted ways as he went to go check out Brentalfloss and I headed to Zen and the Art of Video Game Reviewing. This was a panel hosted by Justin Carmichael (Jew Wario), Pat Contri (Pat the NES Punk), James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd) and Joey DeSena (of 16 Bit Gems). It was a silly title, but essentially it was the same kind of thing as what Derek Alexander had hosted the day before, but the extra people meant you got to learn a few different ways to approach it.
I was, of course, mostly there for James. I don't know why but I was partially expecting him to look different in person, but no - he's the same shy adorable guy you see in his videos. I sat in the front row on the right side, and tried to take notes and not get nervous every time I thought he might be looking in my direction.
Fairly decent view from where I was.
A few key points they mentioned that Derek hadn't:
- Research thoroughly and admit when you're not sure.
- Review the final product many times to catch mistakes.
- Have a goal when you begin writing.
- Vary your shots to make things interesting.
- Lighting is very important.
- Be animated.
- Time code footage to aid in editing.
Awesome Shinya Arino (from Game Center CX) cosplayer who I saw while leaving the panel.
I headed back to the room to catch up with everyone and found out we were going to the pub right across the street from the hotel. Chris (RolloT) and Jason (LordKat) also came with us. About halfway through an Irishman got up and started playing a mix of covers and traditional Irish songs, which was a lot of fun to listen to. Despite the fact that a lot of us purposefully didn't order food, our bill ended up being $400. I had two Blue Moons and apparently that was all I needed to be severely drunk.
Actually not drunk yet here. It was just a really bright flash on his camera. That's Jason and Dayna with me.
This is me and Dayna drunk.
We went back to the room briefly to sample some chocolate wine that Breda had bought (It was pretty good!) before I headed to the gameroom with Chris and Breda. I saw James Rolfe going in ahead of us with his wife, his best friend Mike Matei and another guy who I'm pretty sure is their web designer/app programmer Ryan. I immediately started freaking out.
I should probably explain. I'm not really one to give a damn about celebrities. I know that people are people regardless of what they do for a living and I don't think anyone is more important in the grand scheme of things than anyone else. But I am socially awkward, and I do frequently worry about what people think of me. I really admire James. Not only because I think he's a really talented filmmaker, but because he's also pretty shy. If you watch some of the videos he puts up from when he was young, it's really obvious. Even now, he's still fairly withdrawn and not a largely animated person unless he's performing. I watch those videos and I see someone I can relate to, and yet someone who is also conquering that and getting up in front of people and talking and answering questions. While maybe that should make me think I have nothing to be scared of in meeting him, all I could think was "I can't make a fool of myself in front of him, I want him to think I'm cool like I think he is cool." So basically any time I saw him anywhere, whether at the panel, walking through the lobby when we left for the pub, or again down in the arcade room, my initial reaction was to freeze, make an unintelligible noise, and then once he was at a safe distance to turn to my friends and go "Did you see?! It was him!!!"
So we lost track of them as a group but eventually spotted Mike talking to a bald guy. I point them out to Breda and daring superhero that she is, she put her arm around me and walked up to them. I could pretty much only stare as she told the bald guy that his head looked awesome and then told Mike that he was an attractive man. He looked slightly scared but otherwise polite. We moved on and ended up playing some Mortal Kombat III together. We're both button mashers so it was fairly evenly matched, but I came out the victor in the end. After a little bit I spotted James. This time when she tried to drag me over I froze in place, so she left me standing with Chris and walked over to him herself. I found out later that she basically told him "Hi, I'm really drunk and my friend over there is a big fan of yours but is too shy to talk to you. Would you mind coming over and saying hello?"
He did just that. I believe Chris told him he was a big fan of his then shook his hand. Then James turned to me, smiling, and said hi. I managed to get a slow "Hiiii" out and then he reached over and hugged me!!! I continued to brag about this for most of the con. Mostly because he didn't have to do that. When he's at a con like that he runs into so many people, some of which are probably down right inappropriate or weird, yet he was willing to hug me in a gesture of "Hey, I'm not scary, see?" So incredibly sweet. I managed to stammer out that he was a huge inspiration to me, and I think he said thanks (I was nervous and excited and drunk, I don't remember!). Then I told him I had a gift for him tomorrow. Chris started to tell him what it was but I shushed him loudly and said "It's a surprise!!" James laughed and said "Okay" before leaving to catch up with his wife.
I was ridiculously giddy at that point and we headed up back to the room to tell everyone. We saw George walking in the lobby and I practically ran to him to tell him and hug him, and then we went back to the room and I excitedly told Dayna. I'll be honest, I can't remember much else of what happened that night because I was way too happy. I still had to get through the Meet & Greet with him tomorrow, but he had hugged me! He was a nice guy! What did I have to worry about?