Welcome back to the stage of history!

Sunny Koda is a concept artist from Australia who went to the US filming a Documentary about Gamer Culture. He went from Sand Diego to Vancouver, from Comic Con to PAX. Now he's following his dream of working in the daunting US Games industry. Will he make it? I hope so. Because I am that guy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Not a full post or update, but Penny Arcade's hot topic seems to be the re-sale of video games and I have a few things to say along those line.

Basically screw Game Stop: rot and die you outdated leeches.

When stores are buying second hand games for minimum store credit and then re-selling them at 90% of the retail price at 100% profit, the issue seems very simple. And I believe it is. If merchants undercut the profits of the companies actually making the product to a point of serious detriment, how can that be anything but bad? Games Companies are not the enemies of gamers, they make the god damned wine! The relationship is symbiotic with the retailers sucking parasitically at either end. I suppose the counter-argument is that some people can't afford games upon release and that it's everyone's free right to re-sell their assets. But Game Stop is not an individual selling off single copies of old games they're done with. It's like a store selling DVDs or CDs that are barely weeks old second hand right next to the new ones. I'm curious, would you buy them? Or is the lower price of a dvd or cd enough that it becomes incidental?
Game Stop (because in America and Australia they are pretty much monopolising the product)exist because they offer distribution and advertising for games. But when I buy a product from any other retailer I am not offered scratch guard, extended warranties, pre-orders, peripherals, VIP cards that do nothing, fucking strategy guides! it just goes on to the point of insanity. I just went and bought Mafia II for Chris, which I am about to sit down and lose an afternoon* with, and the guy at Game Stop offered me the strategy guide for 'half price when you buy the game' which is basically bullshit to begin with as they can set the price wherever they want. I firmly said 'no' with the seasoned tone of someone that runs afoul of all too many Game Stop employees and homeless beggars. He then decided to 'get fresh' and spin an anecdote about how he got stuck on the first mission and was going to check out the strategy guide on his lunch break. Okay stop right there guy, 'Don't you have the internet?' I prodded. No response there. That's right, strategy guides are redundant. I tried to console him with a little anecdote about getting stuck on Discworld 2 as a child and having no recourse but an old issue of hyper I found in an op-shop but even that turned bitter as I related the redundancy of strategy guides to the inevitable redundancy of his shitty store.
Having played MMOs and a variety of XBoxLive/PSNetwork titles I have no fear of paying for games that are pure download with no physical box or disc. I long for the emerging technology. Game Stop isn't a place to meet or an enjoyable experience. It's just a place where, if you want to buy games, you have to routinely go to be offended and ripped off. Anyone who whines about trade ins and pre-owned games should check ebay, you'll find that second-hand games can be bought for less and sold for more than Game Stop and delivered to your door.

Also Daelmans Delicious Caramel Bites are delicious.

*A girl who gave me a taste of Slam Poetry in Portland asked me, 'Don't videogames take up too much time and get in the way?' In the way of what exactly? I can't think of a better use of my time.

Chris, Luke and I didn't get up to much this time around. We bought an entire box of M11 and spent the whole weekend drafting. Stopping only to clock Castle Crashers, which was brilliant. Again I went to Monday Night sketch group at Blizzard. This time I filmed a bit of general randomness. It's mainly for my own enjoyment although it could be B-roll stuff if none of them are keen to sue me. Perhaps a few shots for the MG interview? All of a sudden I'm off again. Hopefully I get to extend my stay and enjoy a final week or two with my bestest bud Luke and new bestest bud Chris.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back at Backspace, the place to be in Portland before Ground Kontrol opens, enjoying 'Bawls' G33K B33R and raspberry mousse pie. I hear this is a PAX enforcer hangout, so far I've met a couple.
Yesterday was less explosive than Tuesday, but no less full. The first day in town always ends up being pretty crazy, I'm amazed at how well I do meeting people and ending up places. I went to Dark Horse Comics and interviewed some of the people working on video game comic tie-ins. They understand the importance of having the original game's dev team contribute to the design and writing of the comic, to offer an authentic experience that is canonical. I think this is a great idea and strongly encourage them to keep putting comics into special editions of games, like that awesome Warhammer Online SE bundle. I also talked to a Gamer-girl who works there. She introduced me to the idea of the 'Gamer-girl' and the 'Girl-gamer'. Something I feel very strongly about is girls inclusion into gamer and geek culture and she spoke very well on the issue. I will do my best to faithfully convey her opinions and hopefully I can convince a few more girls to speak on the matter. After promptly replying months ago, I've still had no word back from the Frag Dolls about setting up an interview. So (before I lose my thread altogether) the term gamer-girl would suggest that a girl is first and foremost a gamer, just like any guy who plays games. Super cool people like my fiancee and my cousin's girlfriend and some girl's I've met in the US would fall into this category. Then there are girl-gamers that represent gamer-girls like the Frag Dolls, Hex from GG, Morgan Webb. I'm not saying they can't or don't play, but as public figures they are girls before they are gamers. Then there's downright offensive characters such as Jessica Chobot (who I have been told by former friends had nothing to do with games before she realised it could make her famous) that simply use the fact that they play games and are attractive to garner fame, at the expense of the hard earned respect of gamer-girls everywhere. It seems that this has forever been a part of human nature; a girl's worst enemy is not the oppressive man, it is another girl. Unfortunately as long as websites like IGN and tv channels like G4 desperately try to remain relevant (pro tip: they aren't) by appealing to the basest instinct of an audience they assume is predominantly male (pro tip: they aren't) then girls who want to be worshiped will always have a role to play in the objectifying of women who just want to play games without being harassed.

Poor Erin is very sick, please take care of her in my absence. Talking to her yesterday filled my dreams with doors and windows I couldn't seem to get through, I woke in a sweat... there's always at least one screen still dividing us and it brings me down. It brings me down.

Then we got some lunch at The People's Sandwich of Portland which was awesome, authentic and very affordable before heading back to Ground Kontrol for their free play night!

I defeated Shredder and Krang, Magneto and his children, blew up the Death Star using THE FORCE, survived Adams Family Pinball for a few seconds, tore out Johnny Cage's spine, cleared several levels of Donkey Kong and Crystal Castle, needed food badly in Gauntlet Legends, and laid Ken Masters smack-down in SF2-SF3Alpha and SF4. I was even served some Slam Poetry out on the street that made me long for a childhood I never had.

All in all, a good day. Now I have to make sure I catch my flight back to LA so I can have a few days of rest with Chris and Luke. I miss those guys.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm in Portland this morning, eating black cherry pie and drinking pear soda in the famous Backspace net cafe. I'm going to Darkhorse Comics this morning to visit some funky gamer chick I met last night at Vendetta. I also met the brother of the head of Magic Creative Dev! He's working the coffee machine behind me right now. Then I better go back to Powell's (the largest new and used book store in the world spanning an entire city block!) to pay for the books I grabbed yesterday. I found some vintage Frazetta, the best of H.P. Lovecraft (for $8) and a gorgeous Italian book about satanic erotic art. It'd make a great present for a heap of people but I want it for myself. If you need something, chances are that's the place to find it! Around the corner is Ground Kontrol where I played some oldschool games last night. My favourite so far is Star Wars where you get to used the force and blow up as many Death Stars as you want. They blast videogame sounds from outdoor speakers to lure customers and deter the homeless (which, due to the temperate climate and the pro-homeless laws, there are heaps of*) and everything about the 'barcade' is pretty amazing. They had 100+ people last night with Rock Band karaoke!

We also attended trivia run by 'real' pirates, the guys who started Talk Like a pirate day etc. They carry loaded flintlocks, fuck! Basically assholes that never grew up but I love that they can get away with it in Portland. Then hung out at Ground Kontrol some more, went to Voodoo Doughnut, Town square and finally a genuine Suicide Girls strip club. One of the girls spent a lot of time with us 'cause she's an oldschool gamer from the Atari era. She gave me her card so we can hang out at PAX. I feel there's a great interview right there. Perfect after spending the afternoon discussing girls growing involvement in the culture. When I have more time I'll go into some detail on that subject.

Portland is my favorite city thus far; when people decide to do something, everyone goes along with it. Rent is very low, cute girls hang out at arcades and you can get married by a robotic Elvis head for a quarter. Music is everywhere and everyone is cool. It's like what Seattle was supposed to be in the 90s.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"You could have saved a lot of money using your own boxes." she said, hefting the super light package
"But because you used our flat rate box, it's the maximum charge regardless of weight."

At this point the transaction is already in progress, she's just making me even more miserable as I hand her over a hundred dollars. The contents of the parcels cost half that. Screw the postal system.

Add to that the cost of a last-minute flight and accommodation in Portland and I'm suddenly running hot. The next looming expense is the hotel for PAX (a princely $550) but after that it's Canada and good friends and all that cheer. I suppose I'll just pick a date and buy my fares south now, to avoid digging into my savings too much. Good thing I got that tax return.

The train from San Francisco up into Oregon was great. Not only did I get some uncomfortable sleep but I made friends with some like-minded young travelers (a gamer and a film buff) and saw some truly beautiful vistas including the huge bald eagles that are so iconically American.

Albany is a rural town; not unlike those found throughout Australia, yet classically American. It sits close to Corvallis, the 'college town' and Lebanon, the town with an indoor shooting range.

It was here I met with Kristen, Seeth, Steven, Eddie and Pony; definitely the coolest people (and Canid) in the town. I'll write some more later but we had lots of fun and played D&D.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Aerith Gainsborough

1997 - End of Disc 1

Ahem, where was I? Well I'm still at Mojo's house, but preparing to leave tonight for Albany. It's a 15 hour overnight train trip and hopefully I will endure with more grace than that horror plane flight over the pacific. While we have gone on to play Guitar hero, drink Chimay and watch Hot Tube Time Machine (seriously underrated) the main thing I've done is leave for a night.

I went and wandered about the city on Tuesday, visiting the Academy of Science (definitely the best modern 'museum' ever), the infamous Pier 39 and the less well known but largely superior Pier 43 1/2, home of the Musee Mechanique. I met a rock looking fellow on the streets of SF named Diego Trinidad, talked to him for about half an hour and promptly bought his cd. I know what Raj is getting for christmas!

After all that I went to San Cerrito, the upper east-bay and met Steph and Tristan. They are the most awesome gamer couple I have met since Lauren and Josh! We had a blast and there was such an intense combination of junk food, gamer talk and game-play that I really wish I could have spent more time with them. Maybe I could have? Well regardless of where I end up, I'll be sure to visit all my newfound friends again some day. In the meantime there's always Xbox Live right?

Steph introduced me to something I found fascinating: Subversive Cross-stitch. She has a wonderful passion for video-game inspired crafts. Tristan works at GameStop and is as 100% pure gamer. We began by complimenting each other on our clothing and ended with back-to-back SC2 victories. I don't think I've ever bonded so quickly or met people so genuinely nice.

I'm sure there's more I could put here, but the bones are on the table and the meat is in my head.

Monday, August 16, 2010

...but the soul still burns.

Arrived yesterday at Mojo's house up in Castro Valley (east-bay San Francisco) and the view is incredible! He's a student and enforcer at PAX, specifically helping with the VIPs which has allowed him to get some pretty premium signatures (stares wistfully at the head shot of Felicia Day).

Since then we have done some serious gaming, I have enjoyed some serious hospitality and scored some not so serious interview footage. This is what my trip was supposed to be about! So that's ace :)

I'm begrudgingly wrapping my hands around Soul Calibur 4 (that's 3 variations away from SC perfection, Soul Edge wasn't quite there) in an attempt to stand ready, should I get a chance to face off against the nefarious Robert Khoo at PAX. I was literally untouchable back when I first got my Dreamcast and it was the game that finally brought me into the fighter sphere. My only previous experience was one round of SSF2:T at an eleventh birthday party. I split a dollar with my friend; we chose Cammy. We lost. I thought SC3 was a return to form, with the best features of the previous two games, updated graphics and all those weapon styles! But SC4 is a big facepalm back to the failtrain of SC2. I can still go back and play SC, the graphics are superb and the combat just so brutal and right. For the time the character animation was deliciously smooth. Lizardman's tail!

For his part, Mojo is a perfect host (as you'd expect from a PAX enforcer); I feel welcome and free to chat/play. If you are going to PAX and see a big fuzzy enforcer with glasses give him a high-five. In fact, high-five them all. Then again with the shadow of PAX flu in the back of people's minds why not a convention-friendly 'air-five'? Mike and Jerry actually shook my hand when I met them. Which, in consideration, was a great honour. Their grips where present but unassuming, perfectly matching their friendly countenance.

We also traded SC2 tips and managed to win a couple of games each and hit up an All-American diner for beef steak and cherry pie. Who know's what's in store for tonight's meal? I hear there's a game of Munchkin for dessert.

I found today's image here and it's essentially an official rip of the artwork on the original SC Dreamcast disc. I browsed that gallery for hours (once I'd spent hours unlocking each piece) and it's exciting to see some more of my unconscious inspiration. I think you could actually stick the disc in a PC to get all the artwork. Brilliant. I'm going to spend a while in that online archive.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Press START to play


What is it, Friday? Lauren and Patrick are taking good care of me. We've been to the SJ Tech Museum and the Winchester Mystery House. Patrick also showed me around the impressive EA Headquarters here. They display new concept art in the lobby along with huge statues of dragons and heroes from their fantasy franchises. I really enjoyed their timeline featuring some very, very oldschool EA products; back when their logo was a Square, Circle and Triangle. I was also impressed by their (probably) unrivaled hall of Platinum titles including two Harry Potter games that were 9xPlatinum. Although I wonder if it's the quality of the game that is reflected here.

Tonight we are driving out to a nature reserve to see a meteor shower, which will be amazing. I hope. Then I can finally record my first gamer interview with Patrick. He's a hardcore WoW fan and has as many figures (including Frostmorne and some resin prints of his own character) as any of the Blizzard staff. He has a copy of Dante's Inferno I've been eying too.

Tomorrow we'll check out San Francisco and then Sunday I'm actually going over to the East Bay to meet up with my first volunteer Gamer. He plays board games too and even manages to play D&D over Skype with faraway friends. Exciting!

The gum trees are freaking me out. I woke this morning forgetting where I was...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Do you know the way...

Don't forget; Danni said she'd make me a 'better-than-sex' cake. Remind me when I get back to Irvine.

First up, I've heard some funny things in America and I want to make a record:

Dad- Don't jump into the pool!
Son- I'll jump into your FACE!

Jesus Lady- I think reflexes must come from the heart, because you don't think about them.
Psych Student- I don't really know. Probably. I think there's something there.

Girl- If you could be a Fairy, a Princess or a Mermaid which would you be?
Other Girl- Um, a Fairy.
Girl- Me too! Because, do you know why? Because there's this website called Pixie Hollow, and I went on there and you can make a fairy and I've made three!

Girl Gamer- A girl can never have enough jewelry... and weapons.

I spent the entire day on public transport and now I am finally in San Jose. It's really nice! Overcast but very green. Most of the city is clean and there's plenty of space just like Orange County. I didn't even mind the 6 hours on the bus because I was seeing a new country. Met up with Lauren and Patrick. Pat is very cool, he works for EA. We went to Red Robbin's for dinner and I had a wicked delicious hamburger and two Root-beer 'Floats' (spiders). They have two cats, one is social and the other one (named Ninja) is not.

Going to the Winchester House on Thursday, unfortunately we couldn't get tickets on short notice for the torchlight tour but I think it'll be creepy enough in the day.

I'm going to try contacting some games companies again, but I think the bulk of the doco is going to be my interviews and conersations with the gamers I meet this month. We shall see!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Once you leave ______ you will not be able to go back.

[Okay!] [I'm not ready]

A combination of onset Torticollis (seriously I forget how many chronic diseases I have some times), poor organisation and Chris' boy-like desire for me to stay just a little longer (long enough for one last MTG draft and Blizzard sketch group) mean I am still sitting here at Luke's computer in Irvine and not out in the harsh unforgiving American wilderness. I've heard OC referred to as 'the orange curtain', a joke about the fake tan and idyllic American veneer that covers everything and everything here. It feels to me like a bubble, insular and artificial but at the same time as comfortable as a dream you don't want to wake up from. But it's all about the company you keep, and after three weeks I feel like I'm still near the surface. I have definitely made friends with people here, and the friendship is true. I have made contacts and seen what I came to see. But I can't shake the feeling I could do more. Fortunately I will return! I've added some time to the end of my trip to refresh and reaffirm any impression I've made here. It's Chris and Luke (and everyone I've met), it's Irvine, it's Blizzard. With that in mind I'm ready to leave. Right now I'm packing up and booking my train (some 10 hours :/) to go see an old friend in San Jose. I hear they have the most insane house there;

The Winchester Mystery House is a well-known California mansion that was under construction continuously for 38 years, and is reported to be haunted. It once was the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester, but is now a tourist attraction. Under Winchester's day-to-day guidance, its "from-the-ground-up" construction proceeded around-the-clock, without interruption, from 1884 until her death on September 5, 1922, at which time work immediately ceased.[2] The cost for such constant building has been estimated at about US $5.5 million[3] (if paid in 1922, this would be equivalent to over $71 million in 2010).[4]

The mansion is renowned for its size and utter lack of any master building plan. According to popular belief, Winchester thought the house was haunted by the ghosts of individuals killed by Winchester rifles, and that only continuous construction would appease them. It is located at 525 South Winchester Blvd. in San Jose, California.[5]

From wikipedia of course. Pity I'll not be there for Halloween as it sounds pretty damn spooky. Perhaps I'll get some footage and insert Boo's in the background heh.

Way back when the internet was still fresh and companies thought they could somehow make money out of it by harnessing the magic of arcane web-masters, a teenaged boy spent his afternoons trolling Geocities (anyone just get nostalgia rush?) chat-rooms. There was no word for Trolling, indeed there was no Internet meta-culture at all. It was the wild-west of the internet; no federal agents snaring deviants, town sheriffs (mods) so old and slow they were impotent, prospectors giving up their lives to join the 'gold rush' and plenty of young confused settlers hoping to find a better life in a new virtual country. Into this anarchy I swaggered: the man with no name. Shoot four men dead before they could refresh their pages, then off for a sordid night in a recommended saloon before heading to the menu-bar for a stiff drink to erase my history. Not that anyone else knew how to check the history (although years later I taught my Mum so she could track my younger brother's movement, double win for Sunny) or even would have.
One afternoon I was particularly impressed by a girl* whose disdain for civility and quick wit matched my own. When she* left I followed her IP trail to another establishment across town and managed to impress her*. She* told me of a website for free thinkers and aggressive expansionists under the guise of a Gargoyles[TM] fan-site. Fan sites have always been a great part of the internet. In reality they are virtual communities generated by one thing they have in common. Usually that thing is extraneous, serving as an ice-breaker and excuse for the social group to form. It was here, at the now defunct Miniclan.org that I spent a good chunk of my teenaged time interacting with people from all over the world. It was 30% philosophy, 30% role-playing (which works very well when you never see or hear the other players, in your reality these 'players' actually are their characters) and 40% friendly banter.
It was there and then that I met 'Djali' and we quickly became friends. She actually visited Melbourne one year and we met up, sharing stories and the phenomenon of meeting someone from 'the internet' in real life. I preached to passers by from the book of Mr Strong and she chased possums through the gardens. Some ten years (of irregular missives) later I am finally in California and preparing to return the favour.

A fitting way to kick off the scariest part of the trip. But hey, meeting people is easy. Right?

In other, non-gaming related news (seriously I'm getting to the good stuff in a few days, Love to Play: USA and all that) I went with some upstanding Blizzard folks to see a Musical version of Young Frankenstein. It was excellent, as you'd imagine, and since I'm not going to Broadway it was good enough to see it at the Pantages theatre in Hollywood (on the walk of stars). I must also report that LA is by and large sprawling and dirty. There are no real landmarks to make you feel like you're there (aside from the excessive number of American flags). The city centre isn't really much bigger than Melbourne, but then the inner suburbs go on forever. Everything is far more spread out in California too. Tall buildings stand alone in seas of car parking and every second road is 8 lanes wide. I don't think it's a place anyone needs to go. Not even on holidays from Australia.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's not a lake, it's an ocean...

What a bad way to end a game. But don't worry! Alan Wake will return in what will probably end up being a trilogy so the ending doesn't really matter anyway. What can you really expect from writers that wrote this self-indulgent game? I must admit I liked it enough to finish it. But if I had to say why I'd pass the repetitive and honestly crappy combat system and stephen king calibre story. Even the characters where utterly unlikeable, so what does that leave?

Manuscript pages like cookie crumbs in the dark, leading me home.

So I guess I'd call it a page turner? There's some cool mechanics and cool ideas here. I particularly enjoyed tuning in to Night Springs. Fortunately it is pretty short, so I'd recommend playing it although the combat might drive you to frustration. Sadly the best way to play is not to use skill but rather get enemies stuck or find choke points to control their pathing.

I also finished Starcraft 2 and I had to check an old email I sent Luke where I predicted the ending word for word. I'm very interested to see how they will do the Zerg campaign considering the events of wings of liberty. Tycho of Penny Arcade fame essentially said that it was faultless but was really a nostalgic throwback, and that if anyone should be innovating then it's Blizzard. Warcarft 3 was revolutionary. I've been playing it and there's a Tower Defence level, a DoTA level and even a bonus campaign that is essentially top-down WoW. After Starcraft 2's vintage nature, eyes turn to Diablo 3. If it is also a rework of Diablo 2 (much like 2 was of the original) as early footage would suggest, then there is definitely going to be some murmurs that we have seen the last of Blizzard's famed creative pioneering. I believe that they will unleash some groundbreaking new games in time, whether Diablo 3 or a future title, I just hope they maintain people's trust until then.

I also began playing Red Dead Redemption, which is just not as good as everyone says. It plays smoothly, features good well delivered dialogue and is ultimately a western GTA. However I sat down and played it as an experienced gamer and found it pretty darn stupid at times. I tried to save a hussy who was being shivved by a rough looking fellow, but I was slightly too late and he stabbed her before I him. Now this counted as an unprovoked murder and I had to run from the Sheriff that I just completed a job for. The prostitute apparently lived and resumed swaggering about giving curt remarks to passers by, drenched in her own blood. I accidentally drew my weapon in the general store and the clerk ran out of town and never came back. We killed some bandits that had butchered a farmstead family and the surviving girls where giving us grief. 15 seconds later I ride back there to find it fully populated, everyone fine and happy and the survivors unaccounted for. Despite ranting and raving about needing to get somewhere as fast as possible, one fat guy was content to sit in a stagecoach on a crossing until a train took him to the hereafter. The game becomes filled with little instances like this until all immersion is lost and you're just poking a stick at a dead animal (metaphorically although I'm sure this is possible in-game) to see what comes oozing out. I will say that the 'deadeye' mechanic, which works great, is exactly the quickdraw mechanic I myself came up with when designing a game at University. So, as my game is yet to be made, it's good to know that a) it plays well, b) can be coded and c) is an idea of professional quality.

Speaking of pro quality I've nearly finished a painting I've been working on under Luke's guidance. I'm pretty proud of it as, to quote Chris; it looks like a magic card. Wait just a little longer!

Still playing Castle Crashers with the boys, it is great fun to play a simple game that is enhanced by co-ordination and co-operation. I'm all about the co-. Great art style too. Bit buggy at times but for an independent game it kicks ass.

Travel-wise, I went to the Orange County Fair on Saturday. It's like the Melbourne Show but much much bigger and more expensive. And you can get deep fried everything. The best thing I ate was a whole turkey leg and a beef sunday. The worst thing was fried butter and a mountain of curly fries. The important thing is I experienced the true USA. Honestly any conversation I happen to over here is 9 times out of 10 about food. There was a huge steer which we saw for a dollar, it shat right at us. Chris laughed. The only thing un-umercan was the obscene prices. But that is a concern of the past as my Tax return has finally... returned! Now I can fully plan the rest of my trip including booking travel and arranging emergency accommodation. Which I may or may not actually do depending on laziness/proximity to magic cards.

Luke and I each had 'Nemesis' decks which are like magic decks on steroids. We are trying to beat them two against one but it's probably best designed to face off against three with two requiring a lot of luck to beat. Good fun though, reinforcing the rewards of maintaining a casual magic scene.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cream in his, cream in his, cream in his PANTS!

Chris found his new favourite Cable Guy quote, and then we promptly headed to the real medieval times!

I was a little concerned that it was going to be three grown adults at a children's show, but it was actually pretty cool. My metal friends would have loved it. Eating meat with your hands while watching knights clash in the arena as busty wenches serve rounds of pepsi. We did all the lines from The Cable Guy, including the silence of the lambs bit. The highlight was definitely quoting the 'Cream in his pants' line and seeing twin jets of pepsi erupt from Chris' nose.

Watching these performers makes me think they must be hardcore LARPers. My own gaming focus is largely video games. But I think my doco should pay some attention to role-playing and table-top gaming as well. Even board games. What is important is playing, interacting with others to form bonds. Having said that I am passing on Gen-con. It's too far inland and I am still waiting on my tax return. Too busy having fun in California.