BPAL Of the Day: Ü
3/26/10: Pax East day:
I got up before the alarm clock went off. Had my clothes ready. (The same skirt I wore for my New Years Eve experience, dressed down with a sweater.) And, of course, my Spellbreaker necklace. Three months in the design and planning and here was my chance to wear it to an event where the man whose game inspired it would be speaking. I never, EVER thought that would happen when I had it done!
I really wanted to be ready in time to go to the Storytelling in Interactive Fiction talk, but my mother had to work and didn't come home in time. I arrived around 6:00pm. It was very easy to get in then- I just went in the giant empty registration room to pick up my swag bag, program and complimentary lanyard and was on my way.
I am really glad I got there at least when I did. It was not that terribly packed. This is a huge convention center and people were pretty spread out. It seemed a decent and respectable geek crowd mostly in the 20-30 range. I was pleased to see plenty of girls and women, though they were obviously not the majority. I spent about fifteen minutes just wandering around and getting the lay of the land from top to bottom. I wandered the exhibition hall to gaze longingly at those sexy, ultra powerful Alienware computers. I WANT one!!
The exhibit hall closed at 7:00. I figured I had a little time to wander, but not enough to go to any events. I went out to the Prudential Center mall. It was nice and tempting to go a little further. However knowing how I'd feel if I was late and one of those who got turned away for the theater being full... all because I was wandering a MALL made me turn right around!
When I got back the last bunch of people for the Indy panel were being turned away and there were already a few people waiting for Get Lamp. I got in line a little after 7:30 and was about 6th in line. Not bad. The waiting begins.
Getting a bit bored standing in line I took out my iPod Touch... and noticed my copious hand washing/sanitizing combined with the cheap swag bag had turned my hands green! I certainly couldn't get out of line to try to scrub off the green ink so I did the best I could with even more sanitizer and played Simon the Sorcerer for awhile.
More time passes...
The game stopped working for some reason so I took out my phone to go online. Around then the panelists arrived and gathered on the opposite wall. I had a brief fangirl moment as the reality that I was really, truly there to see some of my heroes... and OMG there they are! It was brief, silent and stifled with many remonstrations NOT to make a TOTAL ASS of myself if there was any way to help it. Finally people started leaving the indy panel and the Get Lamp people started jockeying for position alongside of me. In my element at last, I made sure nobody got in front of me. One thing I do have experience with is getting good seats!
Unfortunately the people in front of me were not as fast as the people on the other side and the room filled in quickly. (I am pretty sure some people from the Indy panel stayed, since there were too many people in the front row center seats, and the special guests were scattered throughout the room.) I chose a 2nd row isle seat on the panel side. I know I'll be watching the documentary from as close as I like when it comes out on DVD.
Jason Scott, the filmaker of Get Lamp looked quite the dapper magician in top hat and tails. The documentary began shortly thereafter and was excellent. It was much shorter than the DVD version will be, but it really covered a lot of interesting territory from Interactive fiction's beginnings through the Infocom days and into the modern age of IF hobbyists and the attempts to sell games today. There was also a neat section on blind IF players.
A few things stood out to me: (I will be adding to this in the days ahead as I keep remembering more details.) One was the bit on virtual reality. There is no better virtual reality than IF at its best. There are locations in Trinity that I can still still see, feel touch and even smell just by thinking about them. I would be dragged away from playing and have to take a few minutes acclimate myself to the real world. I think you would need some sort of direct to brain feed to get that kind of exquisite realism. Admittedly I played Lurking Horror in the perfect location. (A huge, empty office building at night in winter.) But wow was that an intensely realistic experience! I was also surprised that the Infocom authors didn't get any royalties. I would have assumed that they would have, at least up to the point when Activision took over. And, although I know that everyone involved would love to see IF as commercially viable, I don't think every avenue has been explored yet. I can think of at least one that might have hope. I certainly agree that it is the bookstore or perhaps even better, book readers that are the likeliest marketplace.
It was elegantly done and absolutely fascinating. I was a little too far away for comfortable viewing so I definitely can't wait to see the whole thing on DVD!
After the movie finished we watched the MC Frontalot video for 'You are Likely to be Eaten by a Grue.' (I don't like rap, but I'll make an exception to a rap about grues.) I was naturally excited, but reasonably cool about the whole thing and trying to think of a really intelligent question, having dismissed most of those I thought of earlier as too lame... Until Jason called my name.
I literally looked around like there had to be another Joline Desrosiers there! Deciding that, no, there definitely wasn't another Joline Desrosiers, I answered, 'Yes?'
He asked me to come up on stage.
I went, thinking that perhaps I had won something. Only I didn't remember entering any contests...
I can't remember everything Jason said when he announced to the room that he had seen my post on Livejournal when I said I would get on a bus if I had to to get to the screening and panel, and he asked me to introduce the panelists!
I don't think I had ever been so shocked in my life. Never, ever in a million years would I have believed it. He told me all I had to do was say their names. 'Yes, I can do that...maybe...' I thought faintly.
I truly tried to speak clearly, (My voice was probably high enough for half the dogs in Boston to have heard me... not so sure about people.) but I'm not sure I had enough thought as to where the microphone was, and I have never been on THAT side of a stage before. I was a *trifle* (Ha!) nervous looking out at the crowd of intelligent and articulate people while introducing several of my heroes!
Everyone must think me a complete ditz!! Still, I wouldn't have missed it for anything, and I am forever grateful to Jason Scott for choosing me, of all people, for such an honor. I KNOW there were several hundred better qualified candidates in that room!
After that I sat down to quietly gather my wits from wherever they were hiding and listen to the panel. Along with David Lebling, Steve Meretzky and Brian Moriarty there was Nick Montfort, whom wrote the book I am reading 'Twisty Little Passages', Andrew Plotkin, one of the most highly regarded modern IF authors, and Don Woods, who was a co writer of the first IF game 'Adventure.' Jason asked questions first and then turned it over to the crowd. There were some excellent questions put out there. I especially liked the question asking everyone's 'a ha!' moment. Near the end I was starting to think of a halfway good question that hadn't been asked but it wasn't fully formed. I was not taking any chances of asking half-baked questions!
After the panel was done, the guys kindly stuck around for awhile to mingle with the audience. That they had nothing to gain by doing so, or indeed by coming there at all, speaks well of their character, IMO. I kept repeating my mantra not to make an ass of myself. (Or else no one would believe that I finished almost every Infocom game and number some of the most difficult among my favorites.)
I went up to Don Woods first. It was really awesome to meet one of the founding fathers of all adventure games! Then I waited to talk to David Lebling. Brian Moriarty came up and I got to talk to both at once and show them and talk about my Spellbreaker necklace. They seemed to like it. :) While certainly possessing a certain amount of much unwanted fangirlishness, I ended up saying what I wanted to say to both of them. Their works had the most profound influence on my writing and, yes, my life. That was an unforgettable moment, to be sure! They were very kind and patient with me.
I got Don's autograph on my program and David's on one of my Enchanter Feelies. I already have Brian's when I bought something from him on eBay and I didn't want to be a pest unnecessarily.
I went to see if I could find Steve Meretzky. I did, but he was talking to a group of people and I realized I had forgotten the bag with my camera in it. When I came back he had already left. I should have gone back for the bag later. Even if it was stolen the camera is cheap junk and I want to replace it anyway! I regret not getting to talk to him. His Zork Zero was my first Infocom game and started me on the journey, among many others that I loved dearly. I will just hope for another chance someday.
Needless to say, it was well worth the trip to Boston! My mother survived it well enough by going in Barnes and Noble and browsing the mall. I really wish I could have stayed the whole weekend. Unfortunately I had no transportation and a hotel room in Boston for that long would have been beyond my budget. I'm just glad to have made it when I did!
A truly UNFORGETTABLE experience!
I will be back with reviws of David Garret, the Dublin Musical Revue and the latest Legend of the Seeker episode later. Tomorrow I'm seeing the Metropolitan Opera 'Live in HD' showing of Hamlet at the Capitol Center. A busy and diverse week!