The first day at the expo is hectic but rewarding.
After a night full of merrymaking with the Escapist crew, I woke up, washed up, and set out for my first day at the Escapist Expo. I knew I'd have to go to work right away, but the breadth of the work was staggering! A lot more goes into con setup than your average gamer - or games journalist - realizes.
First on the agenda was lending a hand to the hardworking guys at the American Classic Arcade Museum, whose vintage arcade collection ranges from Donkey Kong to Primal Fury. Loading these old machines onto dollies and taking them from a muddled cluster into a majestic row that lined the walls was a sight to see in and of itself, but the real magic came when the machines lit up in all of their pixelated glory.
From there, it was off to assemble two rows of state-of-the-art Alienware computers that stretched from end to end of the show floor. Down on my hands and knees, desperately stretching cables to go just a few inches further while calling updates back and forth to the dedicated volunteers, I could only grin at how powerful these machines would be. As it turned out, they may have been a bit too impressive; the expo floor's entire power supply could barely provide the necessary amps.
I spent the next few hours manning the RPG signup booth with my trusty Deadlands book in hand, chatting excitedly with anyone who stopped by, many of whom had some great stories to share about their own tabletop RPG triumphs and mishaps.
Afterwards, I set out for my first panel: Return of the Sequel 2. Here, news manager Mike Kayatta grilled a panel comprised of Graham Stark, Bob Chipman, Ben "Yahtzee" Crowshaw, and Chris Pranger about the prevalence of sequels and series in modern day games and movies. While the panelists did not come to unanimous conclusion about whether sequels are good, bad, or necessary, there was a ton of interesting food for thought. Some argued that sequels could act as "tentpoles" for studios in order to fund less financially stable projects, while others believed that consumers would recognize a product made in the brazen pursuit of money above all else every time.
This is just a taste of what tonight and the next few days at the Escapist Expo will have to offer. If the first day is any indication of the event's quality, though, I have high hopes. The expo is a rock-solid event, staffed and attended by friendly, interesting people, and buoyed by quality content. I encourage those of you who were lucky enough to make it out to track me down and say hi; I'll be spending lots of time at the RPG signup table. Stay tuned for further updates.