What I Did Before PAX (Omega Story Part 2 of 4)

In Omega Story Part 1, I described my experience finding out I had been randomly selected for the PAX Prime 2014 Omegathon.

These are the things I did before heading out to Seattle:

As the weeks passed, I grew more and more anxious for the game list for this year’s competition. There was nothing I could practice to help hone skills for like every game ever because the games for each round were not announced.

It was the best advice from everyone on the forums and in the Facebook group to NOT stress about the games or practicing or anticipating. Knowing a thing or two about stress and how awful it is for a person, I took this advice to heart.

So what if I didn’t win? Being chosen is already a win. The absolute last thing that I wanted to do was ruin PAX for myself, despite its overall awesomenss. Stress could easily do this and I was determined to prevent it.

Again, there was literally NOTHING I could do to prepare until I had the game list. So I just kept doing what I was doing. Regular life, regular PAXcitement building, with the addition of Omegacitement!

-Insert more weeks here-

The Release of the Game List

It was about 2.5 weeks before PAX and the games were announced…

  • Round 1: Get Bit. A card/tabletop game where your strategy depends on what you think the other players are doing.
  • Round 2: Towerfall. A fast-paced 4-player close-quarters side-scroller where you shoot each other with arrows and jump on their heads.
  • Round 3: Super Avalanche 2. Blocks fall from the sky and stack upon one another. Jump on top of them, don’t get smooched, watch out because the lava is rising from below.
  • Round 4: JS Joust. Keep your motion controller as still as possible while physically engaging your opponents to make them wiggle theirs.
  • Round 5: Mario Kart: Double-Dash. Super Mario themed kart racing. Set traps for opponents, get boosts for yourself, don’t fall off the map.
  • Final Round: A mystery until the final two Omeganauts are on the stage! :O

Honestly? I had only heard of JS Joust and Mario Kart, but only played Mario Kart. I did some preliminary research on all of the games and I was most worried about Towerfall and Super Avalanche 2. Yes. Worried. Something I did NOT want to do.

This is what I decided on: It’s impossible to master any of these games, let alone five of them, within two weeks. The attainable was basic familiarity with the gameplay, and a feel for what is expected in each game.

I shifted my focus to Get Bit. This is the only game I was guaranteed to play. Jusin (@rabbd) bought it for me as an early berfday gift (taaank you!!) so we could train a bit! It’s a cute game with a silly concept. Simple rules, but the strategy was dependent on your opponents, even the number of opponents could change it all.

I purchased Towerfall on Steam, but to my dismay, found that it was not an online game so I could only practice with single players and stationary dummy enemies. Even still, Youtube videos and this single player was enough to achieve the level of proficiency I set for myself.

For Super Avalanche 2, I used the browser-based Super Avalanche demo available at the developer’s website. The controls were difficult on a keyboard. Over time, I’ve become more of a console gamer rather than PC (don’t even start. I know.) I had heard rumor that, generally, controllers were used, so I hoped for this.

JS Joust was something I did not have the means to practice. It was a Playstation Move game. I’m not even sure I know anyone with a PS and Move controllers. My PAX friends from Prime 2013 John (@pandaradox) and Noah (@Pojo_King) had talked about the game last year, so I asked them for advice. Practice with a full glass of water! What I didn’t have was a feel for the sensitivity, and this what made me nervous.

Mario Kart? The only one I already knew how to play. I didn’t even begin to think about practicing it. And I didn’t play it at all. Oooops.

And just like that, it was time to fly up to Seattle with Justin and get our PAX on.

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