When I missed my chance to get a 3-day pass, and got word that my usual ‘special guest’ hookup wasn’t coming through, I was worried. But on Saturday morning, when I headed down to the convention center, with the intent of saying hi to my friend on his way in, and spending my time in the non-pass-required areas, taking pictures of costumes…there was a scalper. OK, lots of scalpers, but one had VIP and Sunday badges for sale. Since I didn’t need a Sunday pass, I was able to talk him down on the VIP badge to half his starting price. In the end, it would have been worth paying full price.
The ‘Special Guest’ badge has no special privileges. The VIP badge though, lets you skip lines, and made vendor eyes open wide. More than once, I got the feeling someone really wanted to ask me who I was, but was afraid to admit they didn’t know. Other people did ask, but quickly got confused when I would try to explain who I do happen to know (leaving out that they didn’t hook me up, much less VIP me this year, tee hee), because half of them would hear Mike, and think K, when I was talking about F, well, friend of F, W. If I can score another one next year, I’m tempted to pretend to get offended if someone asks…depends on how up they look for a joke.
One of the places it got me was special seating at the Wil Wheaton Awesome Hour. I ended up seated on the side, at the very front, next to the door where he came in. He had two musical acts help out, one of which, Hank Green, he would leave the stage for, and stand next to me. I wasn’t certain if he wanted to sit down, and thought I was rude for not automatically moving over, or preferred to stand. I made room, he stayed standing, whatever. His anecdotes were funny, and somewhat more PG than his roleplaying was the night before (we all sat in VIP for that, and it was hilarious, and raunchy, and I hope some pictures turned out). His baseball story was heartwarming, not at all like my experience. He seems to be pretty happy with the life he’s lead, and it sounds like a decent one. It certainly kept a room full of people entertained. I had fun.
I was also able to finagle some Mickey ears out of the Epic Disney 2 booth, without having to wait in line for the demo. It took a managerial consultation during which I could hear the decision maker go, “I know what a media badge is, and a special guest, but I don’t know what a VIP means…”
Turns out, you just had to sing and dance a phrase, to get the XP prize (keychain this year), so the fact that the Guidebook app kept forgetting everything you scanned, and there wasn’t a single clue on locations to search, didn’t matter. I like to sing and dance. I think the amount of time I spent thinking about how I’d choreograph my presentation, brought them additional amusement, beyond their expected level.
The swag bag line seemed to work out OK. The MTG bag sure is shiny.
Grand total of 168 new street tags on my 3DS, a lot of new regions, a japanese check-in, a brit, a few new states. The WiiU looks droolicious. The controller-pad-thing was very sweet, and the games were nifty looking. I played one where you had a little cart made out of tinkertoy-ish wheels and girders, on a platform of girders you could move around. And I saw the new Pikmin, squee, so this time I’m working my contacts of contacts, at Nintendo, for access on this release. The 3DS-XL looked pretty cool too, but of less value to me currently.
Near the end of Sunday, I did have some woman working the Doom booth, testily ask me to not take any pictures of their screens. They had no signs up asking this unusual request, so her anger seemed misplaced, but I had to internally commend her on getting me to come in and start playing the game, before she made her demand. The 3D looks interesting, but is, as always, horrifically uncomfortable for someone who already wears glasses. Will no one ever think of the visually impaired when they build this cool stuff? Boo hoo, first world problems =p
Oddly enough, I didn’t see a single shirt I wanted this year, but did pick up two games on steam, one that ‘will soon’ support mac, and one that already did. I saw some interesting small form factor gaming rigs that seemed to be holding up to heavy usage, and at what sounded like reasonable retail pricing. We’ll see how widely available they are. One company had a cool device for adding a game-pad to your android phone, and had what looked like boxed product, ready for sale, all over the booth, but turns out they are still a few months out, and it was all fake boxes.
The game, Cards Against Humanity, I must have a copy. And people to play it with regularly. Preferably in public, where it can freak out the norms =) It is a game where my humor works well, assuming you are a person willing to play the game in the first place. When our group played it, I managed to win in sudden death overtime. I wish I had thought to record the winning phrases, in all the pictures I took, but it didn’t happen. I really didn’t take that many pics, compared to years where I’ve sat out front just to shoot people crossing the street in costumes, etc.