Tales From Indy Pop Con
What can I say about Indy Pop Con? I’m not sure, but it far exceeded any expectations I had of it, but it really would not have been nearly as memorable if I hadn’t been with my fellow Castle crew. I almost can’t even comprehend how we all came together; it felt like The Avengers, only we didn’t have a Nick Fury recruiting us all. There were so many moments that were just perfect. I’d like to highlight a few of my favorites.
The Tale of the Direct TV Logo
After the first day of the Con the whole gang made the trek to the elusive TGI Friday’s to satisfy Jason Lamb’s curiosity. We were told it would be a 35-minute wait to be seated because the broiler broke in the kitchen; but asked if we could just start on our drinks, and they agreed. A few minutes after we sat down I noticed Eric Bailey, Tom Hall and Patrick Scott Patterson looking intently at the TV behind me, but what I thought was a sports game being watched, was actually a group of grown men just waiting for a DirecTV logo to hit the corner of the screen. Needless to say it set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
More People Are Interested in Retro Games Than I Thought
You know it probably says something about me, but I honestly thought the type of people that would be interested in our booth would look something like this.
But I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of those interested in our ware. We had parents who remembered playing the games as kids, younger siblings who had only gotten to glimpse at the games in childhood, and even kids born in this millennium who were excited to see these old games available.
There were two individuals that stuck out who warmed my heart and put a huge grin on my face. The first was a kid, not much older than 6, who sat down and asked to play Comix Zone, which kind of surprised me because this kid had clearly not been around when that game was released. He played for five minutes or so when his mom came to get him. “Just a few more minutes,” he said to her. It was those five simple words that melted my cold cynical critical heart, and just made me realize that while talking about games is great, at the end of the day I’d rather just be having fun. My reaction was not unlike this.
The second heart-warming encounter actually happened just after the first one. A surprisingly patient kid asked to play Sonic 2. And after Andrew and I figured out which controller was #1, he was on his way. He was a huge Sonic fan; he had a plushy that helped him play better, and also donned a Sonic t-shirt. It made me think there was something universal about playing 16-bit games in childhood and also made me appreciate it even more that I made the trek up to Indianapolis.
A Real Live Podcast
It’s hard to imagine how real life interactions with friends you’ve only talked to online will play out, but I don’t think it could have been a smoother transition into the real life realm. The best part about it was there were NO awkward introductions, almost no introductions period we just picked up in real life where we had been online. And though I have only listened to the podcast, I think it’s fair to say that the entire weekend was a Podcastle incarnate. There was so much creative energy, I almost couldn’t believe we didn’t shut down the booth and just record all of the content ideas right then and there in the middle of the Con floor. But it wasn’t all business, thankfully everyone on the Castle team is funny at least 60% of the time so my head is full of amusing anecdotes. Here are a few:
- Tom was picked up at the airport by Bailey’s mom, and quickly learned to not mention the stadium downtown.
- Jason and Eric had an impromptu dance routine to the beat of a crosswalk’s “wait message.”
- The entire weekend was a fish out of water story for our Canadian friends; they couldn’t comprehend all of the flags everywhere, our title pawn shops, or why the faucets weren’t running with maple syrup.
- Just the fact that Andrew Carreiro got to come, and I got scared the crap out of him via sneak attack.
- One of the booths tried to get me to win a Wii U for Valerie and I sheepishly used “But I barely know her” as an excuse to get away.
- Jason and a waiter singing a duet of “Oh Canada.”
- The entire live podcast recording, seriously.
You’ll probably hear a lot more in passing, but just know that the Castle is in good creative hands.
It is a very high compliment when I say that everyone from the team acts exactly the same in person as they do online. I’d like to add that it meant something to me that Eric Bailey asked about my show, I don’t get asked about it too often, but it was just nice to know the Editor in Chief was thinking of me.
She also happens to be related to our very own Eric Bailey, and is a close personal friend of mine. She and I have been friends on Twitter for two years, and actually was one of the first friends I made through it. Unsure of our rapport, I thought things might get weird because I had only known her through 140 character interactions, but the friendship translated very well. So well in fact she teased me relentlessly for the entire weekend, I almost couldn’t take it at first, but learned to handle it and get along with her. I knew we’d truly bonded when a panelist mentioned livestreams and we both blurted out “Don’t cross the streams.” I even got to best her at Magical Tetris Challenge, that was fun. It was a real pleasure to finally meet her.
All in all, Pop Con was quite a wonderful weekend. It may seem kind of odd to highlight the personal interactions I had, but that’s what is most important to me. I am excited again to work with such a great group of guys here at the Castle. I’m ecstatic to collaborate with some of them on new projects, and most importantly I am just glad to know them. And at the risk of sounding like an after school special, I learned it’s not about what game you play but who you game with.