PAX 2008: Friday


Jonathan Coulton, courtesy of Takomabibelot

My first night at PAX was full of surprises, not the least of which was getting to meet the brilliant Jonathan Coulton while having dinner at Six Arms. I made an idiot of myself, of course, but that didn’t negate the fact that I actually got to shake hands with the man responsible for the Portal theme song that never fails to get stuck in my head. Of course, his brilliant “Code Monkey” song is great, too (#).

Beyond that, and the shock at finding a 30,000 person convention where there was no line at the women’s restroom, I was also surprised by Ken Levine’s keynote speech. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Levine started by describing his descent into comics (a “geeky gateway drug”) during his childhood, and subsequent involvement in D&D.

“Originally, games were a reason to get together,” Levine said. “After a year, they became an excuse. At 14 years old, I had finally found my tribe.”

As he grew up and moved to L.A., he lost touch with his geeky roots, but when he went to work for Looking Glass Studios, he says he found his tribe once again, and then related that to the audience at PAX- a tribe of another sort.

“What brings us all together at PAX,” Levine said, “is that we’re a giant bunch of fucking nerds.”

As soon as he finished, Gabe and Tycho (a.k.a. Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins) of Penny Arcade took the stage for a Q&A session that turned into a parade of laying gifts at the feet of these nerdy demigods. One thoughtful question came from a 16-year-old gamer who asked the pair if they really thought children were negatively affected by violent video games.

“I think every parent knows their child, and those parents should decide,” Krahulik said. “If the parent thinks their kids are old enough and mature enough to handle it, like I said, it’s something for the parents to decide.”


Gabe and Tycho answer questions at PAX 2008

After heading off to dinner at the Six Arms, where I stumbled onto Jonathan Coulton, I returned for the concerts. The One-Ups were playing musical arrangements of songs from various video games accompanied by videos of gameplay, which was pretty entertaining. They were followed by Freezepop, who were responsible for some of the music in video games like Amplitude and Guitar Hero. While the use of entirely electronic instruments (synthesizers, a Yamaha QY-70) was fairly novel, I found the lead singer’s performance to be a bit lacking in enthusiasm. Fortunately, Jonathan Coulton (and then Felicia Day, from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) came to the rescue with “Still Alive,” and the rest is history, at least until tomorrow.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfyeJ6CX0vI[/youtube]

3 Comments so far

  1. » PUT THE CAMERA BACK ON ME! secondlifeconsultancy.com (pingback) on August 31st, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

    […] Jonathan Coulton, courtesy of Takomabibelot My first night at PAX was full of surprises, not the least of which was getting to meet the brilliant Jonathan Coulton while having dinner at Six Arms. I made an idiot of myself, of course, but that didnt negate the fact that I actually got to shake hands with the man responsible for the Portal theme song that never fails to get stuck in my head. Of course, his brilliant Code Monkey song is great, too (#). Beyond that, and the shock at finding a source: PAX 2008: Friday […]


  2. stan on September 3rd, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

    Okay, Coulton makes you cool squared.


  3. Beth (sea_beth2) on September 3rd, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

    He was super-nice too. Wil Wheaton I found slightly easier to talk to, but that may have just been that it was a better environment. Coulton is awesome, though :)



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