Day Three of PAX East 2016 started without a hangover! Thank god! For me, at least. Some of my roommates were not nearly so lucky. As the room started to stir, details of what my cohorts experiences last night became slightly more clear. Everyone had a blast at the Kinda Funny party. Though apparently there was some sort of mysterious stranger who got temporarily absorbed into our group. Somebody – only known as “Troy” – apparently hopped in a Lyft with the group back to the hotel and just tagged along. Yet the day after, nobody seemed to know who he was, where he had come from, or where he wound up. Perhaps he had been a ghost all along…
Or just a drunk stranger who hopped into a free Lyft.
Back to today, though, we started waking up around 8am. Between PAXAMANIA II and Xyger/ Kaylie needing to work the morning TakeThis.org shift, there were a lot of people interested in getting to the Convention early. A couple people stayed behind to sleep instead but the rest of us quickly got ready and headed out the door. Somebody had the smart idea to actually take advantage of the shuttle buses going from the various hotels to the Convention Center. I kind of sort of wish we’d be doing that all along though since the overarching theme of Day Three was “holy crap my feet hurt!” But we got to the Convention Center and had ample time to get through the security check. To get Xyger and Kaylie through security quicker, I walked them through the Media/Exhibitor bag check with the intent of explaining that, while we did not have any of those badges, we were volunteers who needed to get in and help set up. Once I helped them get set up, I headed upstairs to join the rest of the crew in line for the PAXAMANIA panel.
While I started hearing about PAX Wrestling a couple years ago, I hadn’t actually watched any of the events until last year’s PAX Rumble. For those who don’t know, PAX Wrestling consists of a bunch of video game personalities who all love wrestling coming together to create their own wrestling league at the American PAX events. There is an ever-growing stable of characters competing in older wrestling games (well they would if they ever made it through an event without technical difficulties). During the most recent PAX Rumble, I was watching live on Twitch as a fog machine set off the fire alarm and forced the entire convention to evacuate the building. When the event was eventually allowed to continue, Greg Miller – playing the part of the league’s loudmouth Commisioner – began screaming “Turn on the fog machine!” anytime things went awry and a catchphrase akin to smelling what The Rock was cooking was born.
Today’s event took place in the main theatre, a far bigger venue than any of the guys who started this thing as a joke thought it would be. The production values were ridiculously improved over the events I’d seen previously and it was very apparent that the performers were having a lot more fun with their personas than any semblance of actual video game wrestling. A lot of new characters were introduced and there were only a couple actual matches. But as an event comprised of professional interviewers and event hosts, they were able to easily cover when the inevitable technical hiccups occurred, like an N64 not working. The matches themselves as a result came down to two quick matches with the rest of the time being utilized to allow the cast of characters their time to shine and feature some guest videos like the WWE’s Xavier Woods and Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida. There was also a great trailer of sorts for a retro-styled game in development by @fobwashed based on the lunacy of PAX Wrestling called Rumble Road. I won’t go into the specifics of the feuds and matches because it’s far more fun to experience it yourself. And if you like (or liked) wrestling and video games, this is probably right up your alley. And if you don't I'm sorry I wasted a couple minutes of your time.
Following the event, I joined a couple people for lunch at the food trucks right outside the convention, enjoying a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon from “The Bacon Truck.” Then back down to hang out with a lot of the Kinda Funny friends one last time during a quick pop-up session with Nick and Tim before everyone started dispersing and heading back to their respective worlds. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to so many friends but this was curbed by the fact that I’ll be seeing so many of them again in a month at Kinda Funny Live 2 (with many of us planning on an entire week in San Francisco).
After the Tim and Nick show, I swung by to catch the tail end of Greg’s last panel about Toys to Life games. Since he got me wrapped up in the LEGO Dimensions craze, I thought it fitting to see him. I was also concerned because it has been revealed that he actual took a legitimate blow during PAXAMANIA that left him icing his chest with potentially a bruised or cracked rib situation going on. He was certainly hurting and I wanted to check in on him. I also took a second to apologize for not attending his party the night prior but he was totally understanding and got that I was out there trying to make the right connections.
I wound up my PAX by wandering a floor appear more looking at a number of indie games before a few of us said our last round of goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to start sending off members of our own crew. Vicky had to make a quick exit yesterday but today, Kaylie and Joe were the first send offs, with Joe driving Kaylie to the airport on his way out of town. Karyssa was next as she caught an Uber to the airport for her own flight. And finally the Knerds of the Round Table Sean, Fred, and Jack gave us a long round of goodbye hugs as they set off for their drive home.
With the core group whittled down to four, Alex and Tony from Irrational Passions, Xyger, and I relaxed and reflected on the weekend. Then we took a sharp detour and explained to Xyger how credit reports work and why the sex talk is referred to as the “birds and the bees.” Now that he was properly trained on “adulting,” the four of us walked back over to the nearby Rock Bottom restaurant (from Friday night) for a last meal together.
Alex and Tony will be leaving in the middle of the night, and I’ll be off fairly early in the morning for a long trip home. All in all, this was an incredible weekend filled with great memories and conversations with friends new and old. I’m growing to love these trips more and more each time because I know that each new adventure coincides with precious face-to-face time with the friends I’ve made in the past year.
Special thank you to Jonathan (aka Xyger),Kaylie, Sean, Fred, Jack, Alex, Tony, Joe, Vicky, and Karyssa) for being my partners-in-crime during this adventure. Long live the “Kinda Funny Eleven.” And thanks to all of my other friends for your time and laughter, as well as everyone else who came up and introduced themselves to me this weekend.