Saturday, September 6, 2008

How I freaked out Frontalot

Lucky and I spent last weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. For those of you who are not giant gaming nerds, let me explain that this is the annual expo put on by the Penny Arcade guys for gamers all over the west coast to come out and sample the goods of the massive gaming world, from table top games, to role playing, to consoles, and everything in between. It's also a time for gamers to get together and interact face to face, in the real world, and I have to admit that this anthropological gold mine of opportunities was part of the reason I was so excited to go.

So, this was kind of a big deal. A 58,000 nerds in downtown Seattle kind of big deal. Lucky's game was nominated as one of the PAX 10, which was a pretty big deal in itself. The Penny Arcade guys are cool, see, and they support indie gamers who struggle in the world of all those massive gaming companies taking up all the sweet spots in Wii Ware, and LiveArcade, and blah blah blah don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about? That there is what they call osmosis, friends. So anyway, 80 independent game companies submitted their games, and 10 were chosen as the PAX 10, to be displayed in the exhibition hall, alongside all that Halo and Rock Band and World of Warcraft juiciness. I tagged along with Lucky for those three exhausting and superfun days, and explained the gist of the game to approximately eleventy billion nerds per day. Not only did I get really good at showing people how to play the demo, but I gained an eye for discerning which guys could handle me striking up a conversation, and which would turn tail and dart into the crowd (omg, the crowds) at the interaction with a girl! who was real! and not in a pikachu costume! Seriously, this little pikachu girl who was bopping around? So cute.

I loved seeing Lucky in that environment, since there's never been another conference that I could go along to. It was great to meet some of his friends from that world, and I was proud in that embarrassingly squishy way to see him take questions on a panel with the other PAX 10 and be funny and informative and professional, all on way too little sleep. Did I mention that it was exhausting? Part of the reason we were so beat was because we forced ourselves to return to the Expo each night around 10:00 to go to the concerts. See, my nerdiness is more about books and music than games, so musicians who are well-read and sing or rap about nerdy things really turn my crank. One of my favourites is a guy considered to be the founding father of Nerdcore, MC Frontalot. I'll wait while you go check this out.

You're back? Awesome, no? And then I freaked him out.

I've been having really vivid dreams lately. Combine that with the fact that we went to bed on Friday night after the first day at PAX, submersed in all things nerdy all day, with me excited about seeing MC Frontalot's show the next night, and it shouldn't be a surprise that I had a really odd dream about him. In my dream, I went up to the little booth at the Expo where he was signing autographs and selling merch, only to find that he was not doing those things at all, so much as operating a jewellry consignment. On top of that, he didn't want my jewellry. He said it wouldn't sell. As you can imagine, I was displeased with the whole interaction. When I woke up in the morning, I told Lucky about it, along with the other dream I'd had about Barack Obama coming by our booth and admiring the game, but he was more amused by the Frontalot one, and said that I absolutely had to go tell him about it at the Expo that day. I wasn't sure, but I warmed up to the idea, thinking that Frontalot had to be a pretty open-minded guy with a good sense of humour, and that the least I could do was give a chuckle to a guy whose music I had enjoyed on many occasions.

So, I picked my moment, when there was no one at his booth, just him and his Mom staffing the table (Yes, I'm pretty sure that was his Mom selling merch with him. If that doesn't give you cred, I don't know what does. Although, you do have to wonder what she makes of the Pr0n Song when I can't even handle telling my Mom that our softball team is called Balls Deep.) I approached, and launched into the explanation and story I had rehearsed in my head, "Ok, so I'm not a crazed fan... but I do like your stuff... I mean, I have one album, that I bought, because piracy is bad, right? Yeah, so anyways, don't be freaked out, but I had this dream about you last night..." And I told him, and he laughed, but it was nervous laughter, and I don't think it was my imagination that he backed away just a bit. I totally freaked out Frontalot. That night, at the show, I had to wonder if it occurred to him that the weird girl with the jewellry issues might be in the crowd, watching. When he came by our booth the next day to briefly admire the game (so cool!) I wondered if he recognized me, but I was redeemed by the fact that he said the game looked awesome. So, I think Frontalot and I are ok. Now I can go dream about Jonathan Coulton.

No comments: