Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gen Con, Day 2

Friday we rolled out of bed at 8:30 -- 5:30 our time -- and somehow managed to get back to the convention before the Exhibit Hall opened. From our table, we watched a herd of hefty gamers stampede towards the Wizards of the Coast booth. Seems the first couple hundred or so got a free convention-exclusive Magic: The Gathering card. We joked about giving away our own promos at the next Gen Con. We'd get a bunch of pine clippings, stick them in miniature bases, add little Lego hats and guns, and voila! Tree action figures! Ha ha! Trust me, it's a lot funnier if you're extremely sleep deprived.
Jeremy procured several new Sharpies for the signings, since we'd pretty much bled our pens dry on the first day. The DVDs and RPGs kept selling in a steady stream. It was slightly less than Thursday, but we still didn't get much of a break from signing. I still hadn't had a real chance to walk the hall. And frankly, I wasn't too sore about that -- I was enjoying the hell out of myself at the signing table. Tough I pretty much ran my throat ragged yabbering with people at the booth. And despite the sucky chairs that put a vice clamp on your hips, tilted your ass back at a 45-degree angle, and would collapse if you slightly turned your body.
At 2:30, a delegation of DGs hiked over to the Westin to give a Dead Gentlemen seminar. We had no idea what we were going to talk about. A few months back, when Don had set it up, we were pretty sure we'd have an exciting new project to talk about, to give the insider's scoop on. That project didn't so much fall apart as never came together, though, so we were without a topic as we waited to take over. But Nathan gave each of us a shot of something smooth and burny to limber us up. The seminar turned out easy and fun. We talked about where we'd come from, how we got involved in DG, what our current projects were ... and a bit of what was next, if we had our druthers. And apparently, we didn't reveal anything damning, because John Frank (perched at the back of the room) never piped up. We stuck around to snap pictures and sign some swag at the end of it.

Posing with Sophia's Sister from the DG forums. She has excellent taste.

Back in the hall, things were a-rockin'. Sales of Dorkness Rising DVDs hit 350. Paizo actually sold out of the Director's Cut of the original The Gamers. And over at the Margaret Weis Productions booth -- our friends foolish enough to produce an RPG with us -- the Demon Hunters Role Playing Game was the top seller. They even had to reorder, or so I'm told. Whatever the case, we saw many, many copies of the RPG. And Nathan somehow did not run out of the tree-related puns he kept scribbling on people's Cobbler's Crystals pages..

For dinner, we met with some of our favoritest people in gaming: Cindi Rice of Epic Level, our parner production company; Dave Williams and Ed Stark -- who still can't tell us about the awesome new MMORPG they're developing, on pain of death -- of Red 5 Studios; and Sean Reynolds of Paizo, who played the Inquisitor in Dorkness Rising and made it very clear he was going to steal my wife. We all ate way too much at Buca di Beppo and developed new and creative ways to tell each other to shut up.

We ended the night at Champions because we promised Jamie Chambers, the brain behind the Cortex RPG system, that we'd attend MWP's karaoke night. This was something they did every year at Dragon*Con -- where they'll be when we're up at PAX in a coupl'a weeks -- and it was time to inflict the tradition onto Gen Con. Now, karaoke isn't something I automatically put into the good times column. I've only done it a few times myself, and from what I remember of it, it's not what I would consider a raucous activity. I had to change that opinion rather quickly. It was, to put it mildly, the most fun I'd ever had at a Gen Con party.
The MWP folks broke the ice, and the combination of being with friends and cheap alcohol loosened us up. Wifey and I performed "Barbie Girl," and switched the male/female parts on the last verse. I barely made it through "A-Ha" -- nailed the high notes, though. The people kept pouring in, packing the place, and as the space shrank and the collective body temperature rose, the spirits spirits kept a-rising. Things exploded when, up on the big screen, Michael Phelps won his seventh gold medal by .01 seconds.
BELOW: The karaoke crowd busts a move.
It was the most animated I've ever seen a karaoke crowd. We were all laughing, dancing, singing backup, even acting out sketches -- like when Don, with about six Manhattans in him, climbed up and sang "Thunderball" from the fourth Bond film, and we improvved scenes from Bond films in front of him. My personal big diva moment was when I kicked it old school and did Young M.C.'s "Bust A Move." I was twelve again, but a much, much worse dancer. The night ended four hours later with the DGs doing Chumbawumba and me proving yet again the degree to which I cannot dance. Alcohol definitely played a part.

But by far the best (or worst) karaoke performance of the evening belonged to Cam Banks of MWP. Cam is a native New Zealander, an Aussie-hating Kiwi through and through. So when "Land Down Under" started up, we all looked on curiously -- and then couldn't look away as Cam murdered the song with cold blooded glee. It was hilariously terrible, wonderfully bad, ironically cringe-worthy ... a musical act of war. Good on you, Cam.

And so day two ended, and with it half the con, at about 1:00 am. Plenty of time to rest up for the big events of tomorrow: namely Killer Breakfast, and the big screening of Dorkness Rising.

Wifey poses with Jeremy and Nathan,
who's about to get his damn hand off my wife


Cam_Banks said...

That was my first ever karaoke performance, too, just to rub salt in the wounds inflicted upon Men At Work. Bwa ha ha.

Jamie said...

Gamer Karaoke is a fine MWP tradition. Jeremy Gates is da man, as they say.

I apparently ruined everything by disappearing and then going to bed, causing several other people to go searching local ditches for my festering corpse.

Amanda C. said...

Nice to see one of my photos making the rounds on the blogosphere! The seminar was awesome, by the way. Wish I hadn't had to go home and meet my hubby for dinner after the con. If he had been with me, karaoke would have been a great way to end the evening. Glad you all had fun! Can't really tell you how I found your blog, by the way. I think it started with Ben's Facebook page. The Internet is truly a mysterious "web".
"Sophia's Sister" a.k.a. Amanda