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Michal
29-08-2008, 10:48 PM
I?m sitting at the front row, stage right, watching trailers and teasers while everyone waits in anticipation for the first main event. We are recording this live in 1080i HD video. Ken Levine enters the stage to applause and country music. He?s feeling pretty F*ck?n good about himself having just finished a little game. He?s telling a tale about him going out to pick up a video game "hey loser, what are you looking at? Gay porn" in reference to the Rome Total War cover. This instantly brings him back to being a dorky kid in the 7th grade.

Let?s just say that when his parents "rolled up his character" they averaged about a 12 in the usual stats. Social? Not so much, but zits and arm punches were a regular thing in 1977. Others have gotten to "second base" and he?s reading The Amazing Spider Man, the pinnacle of his awesomeness. Comics were the geeky gateway drug and loved how it allowed a kid to dip his toe into understanding the adult world and perhaps be a step ahead or more sophisticated, except when it comes to girls. Images of Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs stirred the loins of classmates, but Ken just wanted to "f*ck the Scarlet Witch".

<Editor?s note: Images of various comics, words, and charts are on screen to the left and right of stage; think of it as a powerpoint presentation for geeks>

1977 didn?t have an independant news source for nerds, no Wired magazine, no podcast or blog that let this 12yr old kid know Logan?s Run series was cancelled.

[Update 1]
Shortly after Ken describes getting an Atari 2600 and it changing him. But then he found something even more changing 2 years later.

Editor note : This is hilarious

That night he brough home, ever so shamefully, D&D 1.0.

He was a stealth nerd. He was embarressed to enjoy his gaming goods. He wanted to be a jock, not a geek. He tried to drop Battlestar and tried to hang out with the cool kids.

This didn?t last, he had to break it off. He decided to accept his life sentence in nerd siberia starting high school (man he looks like a geek in his school picture)

[Update 2]
Ken describes his bus riding experience, weggies and all. He tried to stay out of the front row, the biggest geeks. Then one day he heard some strange sounds. He eventually made it out. Talks of Owl Bears, Saving Throws, and other D&D stuff. They weren?t just talking about D&D, they were talking about "Advanced" D&D. He wanted to tell them to shut up. They continued on about stuff like double classing and other intricacies of AD&D.

After about 20 minutes he gotup the nerve to approach them. To his great surprise, it wasn?t a trap, he had been accepted into a D&D. He got so into the conversation with them he missed his stop by 3 Miles.

Nothing he saw before could prepare him for what he found there, kids actually having fun playing D&D. "Darth Vader" stood up and walked over to him stearing at him. He didn?t know what to do next "but when the dark lord of the sith offers you a high five, you give a high five back".

The module was right out of Dragon Magazine and he was given a choice between a fighter and a paladin.

3 weeks later he was best friends with a kid from the game watching Dr. Who and playing Atari.

At first the games and scifi were the reason they got together. After a couple years it was more an excuse to get together.

By 1983, things had changed. There were suddenly new faces at the table. Female faces.

[Update 3]
He lets in on a little secret, once your D&D members start handing out phat loot to girls, "the days of your D&D group are f*cking numbered"

Now instead of games every weekend or scifi movies, the group splintered and devolved into family gatherings, picnics, and other "betrayal" events.

Over time, he realized that no, they were just ahead of the game. College was the warning shot and showed them the future.

"When they tried to put gaming into Lotus 123 spreadsheet of adult life, it returned a f*cking error"

So, as his group broke down, he ended up in, yes, "Drama Club". After a brief flurtation with stage presence, he decided, maybe writing was more his side.

By the end of freshman year he was rolling joints instead of D20. And he didn?t need a diplomacy check to get a girl.

He was pitching around an ultra violent vampire movie and they blew him off.

He is discussing Paramount?s plans for a Romantic commedy that they hired him for. Laughing but off at description of how he got the job.

Michal
29-08-2008, 10:49 PM
[Update 4]
He started to feel like he was fitting in Hollywood. They weren?t geeks. They though Dr. Who was their kids optomoligist and fantasy roll playing was something that happened between a man and an expensive prostitute.

He suddenly wanted to be like them. He threw himself into the romantic comedy trying to prove that he was not what people in 7th grade thought he was. And low and behold, his romantic comedy turned out too.... well totally suck and his agent ditched him.

He was no longer a screenwriter....

Over the next 7 years he drifted between random jobs, as games started to take off. References a lot of game classics.

Each night when he got home, he numbed himself playing games. Sneaking into his room and playing anything he could like it was a drunken addiction. Suddenly one day, he realized he bought a lot of games and realized that someone might be getting paid to make them.

He picked up a NextGen magazine and decided to look up jobs. Game Designer at Looking Glass stood out at him. He applied and a week later he was on a flight to Boston.

He describes it being so much different than his job at American Express and other places. He saw rooms of people playing Magic the Gather and screaming at each other Soul Calibur. He saw people building levels for Tera Nova. He saw nerds by the horde enjoying life and made them fit in.

He had once again found his tribe.

[Update 5]
Now 13 years later he is amazed at what has become of this industry. What Gabe and Tycho have done.

We are united by not the country of our birth or any creed, no, "We are a giant bunch of f*cking nerds".

But even as we are united, we are amazingly diverse. Most of their interests never existed when he was a kid but says "Bring that **** on!"

Ken thanks us and tells us "Thank you for letting me into your tribe! No go and enjoy the f*ck out of PAX"

Ken is done, more may be coming...

[Update 6]
Sudden Live orchastra from behind the curten playing game music.

[Update 7]
Gabe and Tycho on way out!

[Update 8]
Tycho comments that capes are really hot as he gets off his cape.

They welcome us to a Q&A and PAX

They ask for more light and the crowd wines.

Editor note: They are quite funny commentary already

Tycho recounting imaging a logging truck and imagines the logs falling off and him dodging the logs and telling cops that he was only able to do it because he plays games.

PA gets a nice gift from a group of attendees. Really nice.

They get question about wanting more copies to be sold of the collectors edition of book one.

PA - We feel really bad about it. They haven?t made more because they didn?t want to be dicks and get people to rebuy the book in hardcover rather than keeping just the paperback.

Can tycho sing his song, he epc middle aged song.

PA - Bunch of funny infighting regarding singing it. He is going to sing a song that was blocked because it was "too nasty". Gabe is cringing. Tycho recounts the backstory and title of "If you?re really a woman"

Editor - Wow, this is pretty demented. Short, but umm, sweet?

Attendee - " that was really distrubing having you looking at me while singing that"

Michal
29-08-2008, 10:50 PM
[Update 9]
Can we have regular podcasts please?

PA - Gabe says the mics are always there and every time he recommends doing a podcast, Tycho says "Ya know, f*ck em". They commit to "a" Podcast in 2009. The 2nd episode is killing them time wise.

Question about Game****

PA - Talks about having turned down 6 things from them.

We just got Rick Rolled by an attendee

PA - Enforcers Sieze him!

[Update 10]
Uhh ohh, a serious questions

Attendee - Talk about a guy who got into video game music by chance and wants to keep doing it, but it kind of scares him. Possibly not very viable. He still gets royalties by an old film, but he doesn?t get the same love from games. Basically, the question, how do we keep these people in the industry? Where do we go from here?

PA - We need to get a real answer from the industry, unfortunately PAX can?t help.

Attendee - Is it time for the annual knuckle crack?

PA - of course

Editor: Of course we all deliver. Wow, that sounded painful...

Attendee - What do you think about McCain?s VP. Your expertise on absolute evil, Lovecraft, etc...

PA - Not our bread and butter. One rule, we do not talk about politics, religion is OK though.

PA - Joking about how bad of an idea it was to bring Uwe Boll in last year.

Attendee - We should get Yahtzee in next year

PA - We will defiinately talk to him

Attendee - Gaming is getting more mainstream, but we as gamers are getting more difficult to please. Why is Yahtzee so popular when all he does is ***** about video games. Why do we suddenly hate videogames

PA - The internet is the vocal minority. Most of the people here do not post on boards arguing about the 360. Yea we are getting older and yea we have played a lot of games and we are going to be harder to please.

Attendee - Any more info on East Coast PAX

PA - Yea its in Boston. No date yet.

Editor: Really funny exchange about them having a lot of extra time to join a fan in a game of tabletop Battlestar.

PA - Maybe someday we can come as attendees.

Editor - Random person miming question using tenticals.

Attendee - Does Tycho?s bald head provide him with super powers

PA - No it provides him with the will to keep from coming down and killing the guy who asked the question.

Attendee - Do you have any business advice

PA - We should have gotten help earlier. "Be too dumb to realize when you?ve been beat"

Another gift, this time from Canada.

Question about changes in the drawing style of Penny-Arcade.

[Update 11]
We ran out of film for a couple minutes, just switched tape. Missed a question about their favorite cheeses.

Attendee - Question about their opinion on blocking sales of mature games. How they don?t seem to affect him. What are their opinion on whether these games will mess up kids future.

PA - That is a question for their parents to decide. They know their kids best. They don?t think it will mess most kids up to play Gears 2 or games like it, but really that is up to the parents to decide.

Attendee - Question related to podcasts. They are friends and superstars. What kind of terror is going on backstage?

PA - The trick is that they have never realized that they are the famous people. Every comic could be their last. They feel like they are running from lions.

Attendee - If you had to choose between working with best friend or playing games and doing comics, which would you choose.

PA - Gabe would choose playing comics and making video games. A little "friendly" banter. Talk about theoretical questions and creating theoretical universes.

Question about next PA game.

PA - "A turn based ping-pong ccg turn based mmo for the cellphone"

Editor - Seriously this is funny. They just had the sign language lady give the middle finger to everyone.

Michal
29-08-2008, 10:50 PM
[Update 12]
Attendee - Talking about Braid before it came out. From our perception they are superstars getting inside access like that. Are they afraid to take some things from developers or people?

PA - They are hesitent to accept to many early review builds. Mentions he is getting an early build of Force Unleashed. But they feel like they need to keep working to earn this and they don?t want it to go away.

Discussion about the naming of the theaters and Tycho planning to join some table-top gaming here.

Attendee - Do they have a new nemesis now that Jack Thompson is out of the picture?

PA - Its so tiring to have a nemesis. "We will find someone and we will hate them really good for you"

Attendee trys to get free hotel room through PA guys.

Attendee "Something about losing the game" Confuses **** out of PA guys.

There is a guy with a Fruit****er cosplay outfit in the back. Asks if PA and likes it and they say it are awesom.

Attendee dares Tycho to drink something from a bottle. Unsurprisingly PA refuses.

Question about Limited edition Cells.

PA - We have plans for more, but the game really took over our lives".

Question about how they convinced their wives to let them do this

PA - "Who is paying the rent, the internet" For a year and a half they asked for donations enough to pay for just essentials. Then Robert came along and everything worked out.

Some discussion about how the characters have evolved over time.

Quick poll about RROD on 360. How many people in the audience have a 360 and how many have had an RROD. About 50% show they have had it fail.

Attendee - How can we bring this to Microsoft?s attention?

PA - I think we already did. MS took a $1 Billion charge. We already beat that and won that.

Attendee - Why do people have a problem with Braid?s $15 price. Do you think that original indie games need more exposure or something else?

PA - The problem is MS limiting early. So people expect everything there to be $10 or less because of MS tiers.


[Update 13]
Attendee - Irony about Keynote overlapping with "Growing Roal of Women in Gaming Panel"

PA - That is really incredible... ummm.... Sorry?

Attendee - How do I find old wallpapers?

PA - Gallery coming online soon.

Question about LotR accuracy

PA - Tycho would like a Two Towers where the Ents speak in realtime.

Attendee - Which console would they be if they had to spend the rest of their lives as one

PA - Tycho would choose the 60GB PS3 with all the memory card slots because it seems like he would have a lot of fun. Game would be a Dreamcast.

And we end with a Bunny.