Chelsea Novak's Blog

Convention Madness

Summer is convention season and I wrapped mine up with two: Comix & Stories in Vancouver and PAX in Seattle.

Held at Heritage Hall on August 29th, Comic & Stories was a venue for local comic book creators and publishers to promote their books. I picked up a bunch, and overall was very impressed with everything I read.

I started off by picking up the latest issue of Ghost Projekt, written by Joe Harris and illustrated by Steve Rolston . Now on its fourth issue, Ghost Projekt is a horror comic set in Russia, where a forgotten weapon of the Cold War has been dug up and unleashed. I have read the previous issues as well, and for me issue 4 is where the story really started to come together, leaving me pumped for the fifth and final installment.

After leaving Steve Rolston’s booth, I made my way around the room and came to a table shared by Epidigm comic studio and Big Fat Mind. I picked up Anatta from Epidigm, a science-fiction comic set in Vancouver about a future where human consciousness can by transferred between bodies. Created by Wei Li and Anise Shaw, it is a highly engaging story and I would recommend checking it out.

I was originally drawn to Big Fat Mind by the unconventional and subversive art style. The story itself is disturbing, and I admire creator Alan Chow for taking such a dark and irreverent approach to comics.

I also bought Daqueran #1 from Gurukitty. I was attracted to their booth by adorable little key-chains that I thought were octopi. It turns out they represented Tik, a character from Daqueran, who is a tick and lives in the title character’s boot. Gurukitty also provided a free DVD of two cartoon shorts. The first was a cute Tik story, and the other was a more disturbing tale of a cat, some birds and the cruelty of nature.

Overall it was an enjoyable convention and I was able to get my hands on some quality local comics. But it seems like I barely found time in the week to read through them all, and then I was off to Seattle for the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX).

PAX is the largest convention I’ve ever been to and I found the experience more or less overwhelming. The first two days I had to retreat back to the hostel for mid-afternoon naps, and the third and last day of the con was largely spent outside the convention centre. Luckily though I was in good company. On the trip with me were Reid (BioWare employee), James (video game geek and former BioWare employee), and Jordan (my husband and also a video game geek).

PAX was created by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, who are also the creators of the Penny Arcade webcomic. The convention features console games, computer games and tabletop games, not to mention panels with industry pros, live music, and Wil Wheaton. It was awesome. But again, also overwhelming.

All I can remember from the first day of the convention was walking around while lights flashed in my face and gamers surrounded me. I regained full consciousness long enough to spot the Oni Press booth and score some sweet Scott Pilgrim swag.

I also remember the lines. The four of us lined up to get into the Friday night concert along with Chris and Tyler (also from BioWare). Two hours later we were finally allowed into the concert hall where we had to suffer through some crap metal –ish? Band, before Anamanaguchi came on. Anamanaguchi is responsible for the Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game soundtrack, and even though their set suffered some technical difficulties, they were amazing performers and it was worth it to see them play.

The second day is another blur, although I know Jordan and I made it to a record store, where I scored the Scott Pilgrim vs The World movie soundtrack on vinyl (are you noticing a theme to this trip?). We then attempted to attend a panel with Wil Wheaton, but by the time we got there the room was full and we couldn’t get in, thus assuring Jordan and I wouldn’t attend a panel the entire convention.

After suffering such a cruel disappointment we adjourned to the console gaming room—a large section of the convention hall dedicated to rows of Sony TVs hooked up to gaming consoles—and played original Nintendo games, until meeting up with Reid, James, Chris and Tyler at a local restaurant.

The four guys had gone to a panel in which the panelists attempted to create a decisive top ten list for video games, but none of the four thought they’d gotten it right. And so naturally, after many beer-fueled, argument-filled hours and some encouragement from me, the four of them, along with Jordan, developed their own list of the Top Ten Timeless Video Games. The relative timelessness of a game was judged on its accessibility to new players and the longevity of its appeal. Behold:

Top Ten Timeless Video Games

  1. Tetris
  2. Super Mario World
  3. Chrono Trigger
  4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  6. Street Fighter III 3rd Strike
  7. Burnout 3: Takedown
  8. Final Fantasy VII
  9. Halo
  10. Ninja Gaiden

Exhausted by the effort of creating such an epic list and from two days of PAX, we mostly spent the third day relaxing at Gameworks, an arcade across from the convention centre. Then it was time to head home, back to Canada, where Jordan and I downloaded Kirby Superstar.



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