I was able to bring August and Déla to PAX this year for a couple of hours. They were interested in seeing what it is that I do and what was taking me away from the house for so long, and they were at an age where it seemed like they could handle a couple of hours of crowd and flishing lights.
I had told them both about some of the stuff going on at the Penny Arcade Expo, such as lots of people playing games, but what really caught their attention was the fact that people dressed up in costume. They thought that would be fun, so they decided to dress up in costume. August wore his Pikachu outfit and Déla her Care Bear. These costumes were originally for Halloween a couple of years ago, so they don’t fit as well as they used to, but the kids made them work.
Along with the costumes come the photographs. I had told them that people would want to take their picture, but they weren’t really prepared for it to actually happen. I think they were pretty overwhelmed with the whole PAX environment, so people asking to take their picture was just part of the overall assault on their senses.
At 6 years old, August has only played one videogame. He’s done some of those online mini-games that come on a website that are associated with the likes of SpongeBob Squarepant’s official website, but those aren’t real games. Instead, he played a Go Diego Go videogame for about 20 minutes before getting bored. He likes the idea of videogames, but the reality is far less exciting. He still has good memories of playing the game with his father, so his excitement level was quite high.
Déla, on the other hand, has never played a videogame. At 4, she really is too young, especially for those games on display at PAX. Still, she was excited about not being left behind and participating in… something.
I actually had an appointment right as the event opened for the day, so I couldn’t just go in and show my kids the lay of the land and help them get their bearings. There were two rules I game August & Déla. The first was to stay next to me. I told them I should always be able to reach out and hold their hand unless otherwise directed to stay next to somebody else or to go somewhere, etc. The second rule was that they needed to ask me before touching anything, even if the booth worker says it is alright for them to grab a controller or whatever it is, they need to get my permissions.
With these ground rules in play, we left the car and went into the convention center. Almost immediately people wanted to take their picture. It was quite gratifying as a parent, oddly enough. We didn’t even get into the expo hall and already they had their picture taken several times.
Fortunately my first appointment was to look at Hello Kitty Online. Sure, it may sound hokey, but it’s not a bad game. August and Déla liked clicking around and exploring the world on one computer while I met and chatted with the company getting a deeper look than my son and daughter were able to. They were really nice, and Déla was completely enamored with the Hello Kitty swag.
I then passed off my next meeting to Mike, so I could spend some time just walking around and looking at stuff. More pictures were taken of August and Déla. We checked out a few games and made our way to CDV’s booth, so that I could say hello to Ted (one of the PR folks I’m friendly with) as well as introduce him to my kids. Turns out he had taken a picture of them while they were at the Hello Kitty booth without realizing they were my children. He saw them, but didn’t see me (my back was turned) and thought they were cute enough for a picture.
Then it was time for mom to pick them up. While they were only there for a couple of hours, they had fun, August more than Déla, because she was ready to leave, but August was a little disappointed he wasn’t able to stay the whole day. Maybe next year.