So... time to gush about the Expo!!

My wife and I just got home. We're sore, tired, and still intensely excited about what a blast we had this weekend at the Expo!

Our camera was unfortunately not functional, and our tablet could only get so much, so we're not exactly drowning in photographic or video record of the events... but it was really an unforgettable experience for us!

I can't help but want to yell and cheer about all my favorite things, and I really, reeeally want to hear about all of everyone else's, too... plus, if you happen to have pics, etc., to share...

So, from my wife and I, our favorite things:

1. VOLUNTEERING! What a friggin' awesome time! The entire Escapist staff was awesome to interact with, and it was great to be a part of that awesome crew even for just a few hours. Between working registration, steering crowds, or just playing pack-mule, we were busy most of the time... but we never once felt like we were missing any of the fun!

2. THE COSTUMES! So. Much. Craftsmanship. The whole event was a fantastic display of creativity and excitement. We were glad to finally get to share our costumes with people that actually understand the what/why of it, and we were thrilled with all the costumes everyone else shared.

3. THE ESCAPIST PLAYERS! Not just in the panels or between them. Our every interaction with Corey, Dr. Mark, Gavin, Yahtzee, MovieBob, Chris, Paul, Graham, and Jim was great. Standing in the lobby of the Marriott until almost 4 am, talking with three of our favorite Escapist personalities -- and not just about the Expo or their content, but about gaming and our shared culture -- is something we'll never forget.

4. THE ESCAPIST STAFF! While I'm singling out Susan, it's only because I know she'll share it with the rest of the crew, who were all so friendly and helpful (and patient). SUSAN: You kicked so much ass this weekend that I'm fairly certain NC will need to import more. Watching you rock out to the Miracle of Sound concert really drove home the absolute joy you all bring to your work (and play!), and Jess and I were so thrilled to see that you got to enjoy yourself after all the insanely hard work we know you put in to make this event possible.

For my wife and I, this was our first real "con" of any kind. We've always wanted to go to one, but they're usually so far away and expensive. We're huge fans of The Escapist, and you're coincidentally fairly close, so this event was absolutely perfect for us. We were glad to be in attendance, we were ecstatic to be involved, we were disappointed to leave, and we were... wondering when you could start feeding us details about next time?

(from Mr. and Mrs. Dastardly)

I have to agree with everything said. This was also my first Con, and I have to say it was an excellent introduction :D

Everyone was so friendly and helpful, my friends and I had a total blast!! It was also my first time cosplaying (went around as Mitsuru from Persona 3, my friend went with me as Akihiko), and no one pointed and laughed! A total success!

My hats off to all the volunteers and staff, you guys rocked!!

Only thing I regret is not going to any of the panels and missing Saturday night (stupid headache)!

I to had a great time, I don't know what I was expecting, so naturally it wasn't what I was expecting. That said, it was great. I got to meet Greg Tito and Kross, they were both super nice and helpful. The volunteers and staff were super. The other people where friendly as hell. Great experience.

I look forward to the next Expo and I know it will only get better.

BTW, my favorite costume was Iron(wo)man

I had a great time and I will tell everyone about this Expo, it was the best con I've ever been to, and I really hope they continue on with it.

The panels were really great and interesting, the Hour of Love, and The Return of The Sequel 2 were the highlights. The staff was amazing and I give props to all of them for working their ASSES off trying to make this a great time. I can confidently say, mission accomplished.

I got to meet some really awesome people that I would've otherwise would've never gotten a chance to.

Plus I got to help out! It wasn't much, after the Expo was over three other people and myself watched some stuff, while the loading crew went to dinner, and were told to continue to play Magic.

I know I'm definitely going to the next Expo. :D

When I can I'm going to give more feedback, both good and bad, but my experience was primarily positive. I was very frightened this would turn out like VGXPO or GameX, where no one felt the need to be there all three days, there were complaints about the lack of AAA games to preview and play, and some of the halls would be... less than ideal.

I can only imagine things would have been better for me tonight, Sunday, if I hadn't blown my voice out from the concert. I tend to like good rock performed live, and it is easy to get really into it when you're intoxicated.

It felt like nearly everyone involved with The Escapist was glad to stop and talk with the con goers, very lively, and encouraging of people making friends with other people. Most of my time at, say PAX East I'd meet a lot of people in a line or something, but wouldn't see them again. Yet I kept passing people by at this Expo, and in many cases hung out with a lot of them.

I have to give mad props to Tim and Dustin of D&D Sluggers (and Dustin's girlfriend Kim) and Cory Rydell for providing constant entertainment and companionship, Gavin's girlfriend Rebecca for talking to me after I made an ass of myself by drunkenly telling Gavin he should play Final Fantasy Tactics because it's not like the other Final Fantasy games maaaaaan (even though in a panel earlier that day he, and others, expressed frustration at people nagging them to play a game (unless I was actually nagging about another game and FFTactics was someone else)), Mel for hanging out with us for drunken shenanigans each night, and too many call-outs that are already in a blur.

When I have a proper keyboard and mouse I'll also do shout-outs to forum folks. Either way, a good time. This was a triumph.

I had such an awesome time at the expo that I am going to have to make my own thread about it once my girlfriend emails me all the pictures she took!

Yup, go ahead and share your experiences. I'll just be in this corner... Glaring at anyone who comes by, green with envy...

Don't mind me.

...........

I'm glad to hear people had a good time, though

Mr. and Mrs. Dastardly are great people and their Minecraft Iron Man and Cpt America cosplays were clearly the best cosplay at the Expo!

I had a blast at the expo, but I do feel like there are a few things that they could improve on for next time.

First is the scheduling. There was a lot of dead time between the last panels and the evening events like movie night and the concerts. Space between the panels and the events is fine, but the problem is that most of the other stuff was closed at that time as well - chest high walls, the pc, console, and classic arcade freeplay areas were all inaccessible at the time of day when they would likely have been the most popular. From 6 to 8 or 9 there were only zombies and board games/magic.

In particular, I feel that running chest high walls only at midday was a mistake. I wanted to participate in my Imperial Commissar costume, but it was too hot out in the sun with a leather trench coat on. I'm sure other cosplayers had the same problem, as costumes tend to be uncomfortably hot in general. Grass stains are also a concern, so indoor laser tag may have been better.

secondly, having the expo split by such a distance put a damper on things as well (especially after that other event got started). That may have also contributed to chest high walls having a lower than expected turnout.

Third, the console and pc freeplay areas were a bit of a disappointment in terms of selection. There was a board game library, where you could borrow a game in exchange for your ID, and PAX runs a similar system for their console games. This seems to work out really well, I'd recommend it in the future.

I understand that the venue has limited space, and that this was a first run of a pretty risky venture, but it seems to have paid off so it might be a good idea to hold the expo in a bigger location next time.

Wish I could've gone... But you know school, lack of finances... and the whole living on the other side of the country and everything...<.<

I think the rest of the week will be dominated by one crucial debate.

Best line of the Expo: Graham's "I'd put a part of myself in a baby" or Jim's "I'd let myself be fisted by Nathan Drake"?

I really wish I could have gone, it sounds like it was a blast. I know that there will be other Expos in the future that I could possibly attend, but there is only one first Expo.

ThinRedPaste:
I had a blast at the expo, but I do feel like there are a few things that they could improve on for next time.

First is the scheduling. There was a lot of dead time between the last panels and the evening events like movie night and the concerts. Space between the panels and the events is fine, but the problem is that most of the other stuff was closed at that time as well - chest high walls, the pc, console, and classic arcade freeplay areas were all inaccessible at the time of day when they would likely have been the most popular. From 6 to 8 or 9 there were only zombies and board games/magic.

In particular, I feel that running chest high walls only at midday was a mistake. I wanted to participate in my Imperial Commissar costume, but it was too hot out in the sun with a leather trench coat on. I'm sure other cosplayers had the same problem, as costumes tend to be uncomfortably hot in general. Grass stains are also a concern, so indoor laser tag may have been better.

secondly, having the expo split by such a distance put a damper on things as well (especially after that other event got started). That may have also contributed to chest high walls having a lower than expected turnout.

Third, the console and pc freeplay areas were a bit of a disappointment in terms of selection. There was a board game library, where you could borrow a game in exchange for your ID, and PAX runs a similar system for their console games. This seems to work out really well, I'd recommend it in the future.

I understand that the venue has limited space, and that this was a first run of a pretty risky venture, but it seems to have paid off so it might be a good idea to hold the expo in a bigger location next time.

I will say my 3 complaints were 1) the waiting and constant line shifting for the MoS concert/costume contest, 2) Once in the concert they didn't have chairs for anyone but staff the Special guests (my back was killing me and I just wanted to have a chair under me at that point) and 3) the games on demand/on tap weren't that on demand. It seemed like you had to time it just right to get to play, and even then it was pure luck.

That said, I spent $10 on a VIP ticket and still had a hell of time there. So my complaints are minor. Knowing what I know now, I still would have gone

I had an awesome time at the expo. I got Yatzhee to sign my copy of Mogworld, I got to take a picture with Gavin, and shook hands with Jim and Moviebob. The panels were hilarious, especially the Q and A's and the Hour of Love.

P.S. Your Costume was awesome dastardly. What'd you do with the skull? (If you don't remember I was the guy behind you in the green shirt. We also talked at the concert).

The Rogue Wolf:
I think the rest of the week will be dominated by one crucial debate.

Best line of the Expo: Graham's "I'd put a part of myself in a baby"

You horrible person! We all agreed to not take that one out of context! :)

(souls and babys and silent hill and what not)

P.S. The Jim one was exactly what it sounds like :)

T0ad 0f Truth:
I had an awesome time at the expo. I got Yatzhee to sign my copy of Mogworld, I got to take a picture with Gavin, and shook hands with Jim and Moviebob. The panels were hilarious, especially the Q and A's and the Hour of Love.

P.S. Your Costume was awesome dastardly. What'd you do with the skull? (If you don't remember I was the guy behind you in the green shirt. We also talked at the concert).

Thanks, dude! I got the skull signed by the Escapist players (and Susan!), and it sits in front of my TV as we speak!

bdcjacko:
2) Once in the concert they didn't have chairs for anyone but staff the Special guests (my back was killing me and I just wanted to have a chair under me at that point)

Apparently chairs count as people for the room capacity, so we had to take out several rows to allow more people in. :(

Thanks everyone for being so amazing, and to all the volunteers for helping (helping is an understatement, the volunteers went above and beyond anything we could have imagined) to keep everything moving forward. You guys are the best, and I can't wait to do it bigger and better next year. :D

Kross:

bdcjacko:
2) Once in the concert they didn't have chairs for anyone but staff the Special guests (my back was killing me and I just wanted to have a chair under me at that point)

Apparently chairs count as people for the room capacity, so we had to take out several rows to allow more people in. :(

Thanks everyone for being so amazing, and to all the volunteers for helping (helping is an understatement, the volunteers went above and beyond anything we could have imagined) to keep everything moving forward. You guys are the best, and I can't wait to do it bigger and better next year. :D

Don't worry, I blame John Tesh for taking the bigger theater with the chairs. Damn you John Tesh!

Dastardly:

T0ad 0f Truth:
I had an awesome time at the expo. I got Yatzhee to sign my copy of Mogworld, I got to take a picture with Gavin, and shook hands with Jim and Moviebob. The panels were hilarious, especially the Q and A's and the Hour of Love.

P.S. Your Costume was awesome dastardly. What'd you do with the skull? (If you don't remember I was the guy behind you in the green shirt. We also talked at the concert).

Thanks, dude! I got the skull signed by the Escapist players (and Susan!), and it sits in front of my TV as we speak!

Holy crap, we talked several times at registration. I had no idea you were Dastardly (I'm a fan of your prose here), and just thought you were multiple awesome entities.

Dastardly:

T0ad 0f Truth:
I had an awesome time at the expo. I got Yatzhee to sign my copy of Mogworld, I got to take a picture with Gavin, and shook hands with Jim and Moviebob. The panels were hilarious, especially the Q and A's and the Hour of Love.

P.S. Your Costume was awesome dastardly. What'd you do with the skull? (If you don't remember I was the guy behind you in the green shirt. We also talked at the concert).

Thanks, dude! I got the skull signed by the Escapist players (and Susan!), and it sits in front of my TV as we speak!

I love you and Mrs. Dastardly and want you to move to Durham so we can hang out all the time. You guys are SO DAMN COOL. (Plus, your Harry cosplay was da bessssssssss.)

T0ad 0f Truth:

The Rogue Wolf:
I think the rest of the week will be dominated by one crucial debate.

Best line of the Expo: Graham's "I'd put a part of myself in a baby"

You horrible person! We all agreed to not take that one out of context! :)

(souls and babys and silent hill and what not)

P.S. The Jim one was exactly what it sounds like :)

...whaddaya mean, "we"? I SIGNED NOTHING

Dastardly:
3. THE ESCAPIST PLAYERS! Not just in the panels or between them. Our every interaction with Corey, Dr. Mark, Gavin, Yahtzee, MovieBob, Chris, Paul, Graham, and Jim was great. Standing in the lobby of the Marriott until almost 4 am, talking with three of our favorite Escapist personalities -- and not just about the Expo or their content, but about gaming and our shared culture -- is something we'll never forget.

Hanging out until 4 was awesome. Not because of the Escapists personalities per say. It was because everyone wasn't talking about the Escapist itself or the big names in the group. Instead we just talked about games and gaming on and on until my voice was even more sore from singing along at the concert. It was just really fun to be able to spend time like that with everyone on an equal playing field and giving opinion freely, even if mine weren't really... 'normal' opinions. Though I kind of misspoke about liking the ME3 ending. While I did like aspects of it, it was more that I was meh about it then actually enjoying the ending overall.

Also, I was able to spend some time with Dr. Mark who was really cool. We talked Magic, I helped someone learn to play Magic who was playing with him and a couple from another forum I go to, and was able to chat a bit outside of that. He was a really nice person and very intelligent.

Got the chance to speak with Chris from NRA for a couple minutes, but not as much as I'd have liked to. Talked to Cory from Critical Miss for a couple minutes about 3-D Design and art. Wanted to try to chat with Jim, but never got the chance sadly. Got to listen and chime in on a bit of Moviebob talking, which was cool. Overall they were all really nice and kind.

Plus I went 2-0 in a match against John Finkle. That was fairly awesome, even if it was all luck. :D

4. THE ESCAPIST STAFF! While I'm singling out Susan, it's only because I know she'll share it with the rest of the crew, who were all so friendly and helpful (and patient). SUSAN: You kicked so much ass this weekend that I'm fairly certain NC will need to import more. Watching you rock out to the Miracle of Sound concert really drove home the absolute joy you all bring to your work (and play!), and Jess and I were so thrilled to see that you got to enjoy yourself after all the insanely hard work we know you put in to make this event possible.

Honestly, Susan did an amazing job. The group I was with managed to help a little bit by watching some stuff for her, and we got the chance to chat for a moment. She made me feel so welcome and appreciated for the tiny help we were that... well, it's hard to say just how much that made the trip worth it in of itself. Thinking about it makes me tear up a bit in all honesty (and that isn't an exaggeration). The rest of the staff I dealt with were equally amazing. I'd have liked to talk to them more, but with everyone so busy that I couldn't.

It was also really interesting feeling incredibly creepy by giving out cookies I made to people. I gave one to Graham, Yahtzee, Paul, Moviebob, Susan, Greg Tito, Chris, and... well, I lost track. Sooo many random people got cookies from me. I'm not sure who it was on the crew who came up to me while I was talking to Chris though. They really made me feel good when they told me that they enjoyed and appreciated the cookie so much and felt it was really cool I had don that that it made me feel really, really good. I couldn't put into words just how much it meant to me that people had enjoyed them that much.

The concert, movie night, and the cosplay contests were all great. The panels were all funny and thoughtful as well. Too much to say on those. to get all out. Of course, I just got home from a 11 hour drive, so too tired to brain hard.

Honestly, everything was so cool that I just don't think I can explain it well enough. If I think of anything i will. But everyone involved, including all the amazing volunteers (I did recognize how helpful you all were, so don't think I don't think of you as part of the crew), know that I had amazing time and all the hard work was, in my opinion, worth it. I had a great time as did those I was with. Really hope to be able to come next year if you do it again and hopefully I'll be able to help out more then just watching some stuff.

EDIT: Also, if Susan reads this, I just wanted to say sorry we couldn't actually say goodbye. My group was starving and I had entered the state where I wasn't hungry because my body had just given up due to lack of food, so we left after they got back from lunch and found... I can't remember who to tell they'd gotten back. Just wanted to add that in.

The VIP ticket upgrade was a joke. There weren't nearly the benefits, perks, and special access that had been advertised. I've already given feedback directly to Escapist staff, so I won't repeat it here.

I had a good deal of fun as a "regular" pass holder. I got a couple of new board/card games and a new pin for my ever-expanding collection on my backpack. My fiance kicked my ass in Street Fighter IV by mashing all the buttons and waving the controller around. We listened to great commentary about a horrible movie. We enjoyed seeing the cosplayers' creativity.

If there is one next year, I'll go for one day, non-VIP, and have the pass mailed to me in order to skip the disgustingly long pass pick-up line.

I just want to jump in and say that if you're sitting at a rock concert you're doing it wrong and I don't care how tired your feet are you take a shot and hop around and clap your hands or flail your arms or something!

bdcjacko:

Kross:

bdcjacko:
2) Once in the concert they didn't have chairs for anyone but staff the Special guests (my back was killing me and I just wanted to have a chair under me at that point)

Apparently chairs count as people for the room capacity, so we had to take out several rows to allow more people in. :(

Thanks everyone for being so amazing, and to all the volunteers for helping (helping is an understatement, the volunteers went above and beyond anything we could have imagined) to keep everything moving forward. You guys are the best, and I can't wait to do it bigger and better next year. :D

Don't worry, I blame John Tesh for taking the bigger theater with the chairs. Damn you John Tesh!

We all blame John Tesh, trust me.

Kapol:

EDIT: Also, if Susan reads this, I just wanted to say sorry we couldn't actually say goodbye. My group was starving and I had entered the state where I wasn't hungry because my body had just given up due to lack of food, so we left after they got back from lunch and found... I can't remember who to tell they'd gotten back. Just wanted to add that in.

Ha! I was feeling bad that I didn't get to say goodbye to you guys. You really did help me out by playing Magic on the floor. :)

And the cookie was delicious.

<3

Susan Arendt:

Ha! I was feeling bad that I didn't get to say goodbye to you guys. You really did help me out by playing Magic on the floor. :)

And the cookie was delicious.

<3

Happy to help. ^_^ I felt guilty sitting in the hallway after everyone had left while others carried stuff around. So giving our group something to do made the day much more productive. I'll try to remember to make more cookies for everyone for the hopeful next year... just need to figure out a better way of transporting them.

Kross:
Holy crap, we talked several times at registration. I had no idea you were Dastardly (I'm a fan of your prose here), and just thought you were multiple awesome entities.

Aw, man -- I didn't realize you were you, either! That does it. Next time, we must all wear badges with our forum names! (And thanks!!)

Susan Arendt:
I love you and Mrs. Dastardly and want you to move to Durham so we can hang out all the time. You guys are SO DAMN COOL. (Plus, your Harry cosplay was da bessssssssss.)

When we first met you, we were somewhat put-off by this constant high-pitch 'squeeeeeeeeee' noise that seemed to emanate from your vicinity. Then we realized it was us. Hanging out with you was our highlight!

(Also, we have already started moving our things into your cupboards. Kindly leave the occasional sandwich lying around for us...)

Btw, did any one walk around the center fest? There was a 3D printer that was making gears and Yoda heads.one of the coolest things I had ever seen.

I had such a good time at this guy, you guys. Its so awesome to finally have a cool Expo-thing appear near where I live that isn't 100% anime (not that there is anything wrong with that) and actually of a fair size. Next year is going to rock.

I took a bunch of pictures of the event. I have them up on my Facebook fanpage (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.530968533586937.89100092.110806302269831&type=1). If I got an image of you, feel free to snag it for your scrapbook. You *have* to like the page in order to tag stuff, which I apologize for, but there really isn't an option for me to change that.

But yeah. Next year! WOOO!

Berithil:
Yup, go ahead and share your experiences. I'll just be in this corner... Glaring at anyone who comes by, green with envy...

Don't mind me.

...........

I'm glad to hear people had a good time, though

Can I join you?
Although, thank Jim for the videos they're uploading, they make me just a little less miserable.

Damn it. I'm on the wrong Continent.

AGAIN!

 

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