--This is part two of a long post regarding my amazing time at PAX 2011! Be sure to read part one for full coverage!--
So I believe that yesterday I promised full coverage of my Wil Wheaton encounter plus Link cosplay photos. Prepare yourself!
Sunday is the day of the PAX that I remember most clearly. Perhaps it's because I was only at the center for about five hours and therefore there wasn't a lot of time for too much to happen. I decided after open to close visiting for Friday and Saturday that I simply had to sleep in on Sunday. PAX is amazing but also incredibly exhausting.
So, Sunday. I decided that this would be photo taking day, so Jacki and I wandered into the hall around 1:30/2 feeling well fed, well rested, and ready to take some fun pictures. That morning I had seen an update from Felicia Day via Google+ indicating that she was at PAX. I think Felicia Day is awesome and incredibly inspiring. I love The Guild and her blog and it would be really amazing to meet her. So I told Jacki that I wanted to see if she was still hanging around. I had been told earlier in the weekend that Wil Wheaton's booth was near the skybridge, and usually she's near him at conventions. As we made our way toward his booth, we were almost immediately distracted by intensely awesome cosplay.
One girl dressed as Link, another dressed as Dark Link. Both excellent costumes, neither knew each other. They came separately and ended up finding one another and then hung out for the rest of the day. We waited patiently to ask for some photos of them, and were rewarded with pleasant conversation and a lot of fun images.
That's when something amazing happened.
I stood between the two Links, feeling excited at their costumes and pleased to be participating in such a great experience. Jacki snapped the picture, then started laughing and pointing at a person behind us who had photobombed the shot. I went to look at the camera, which is when someone said, 'Photobombed by Wil Wheaton, that's the best kind!' I was absolutely floored. My first time photographing cosplayers, my first time BEING photographed with cosplayers, my first time being photobombed, and it is Wil Wheaton.
We all have a good laugh about it, then get the names of the Links so I could send them pictures, then Jacki and I go on our own way. It is then that I go, 'I want to meet Wil Wheaton and get a REAL picture!' So we head back to where we started. The line to meet him was pretty long, but we had friendly people to chat with, and the two Links ended up getting in line behind us as well. I wasn't feeling nervous at all, just excited. I read Wil Wheaton's blog and I follow him on twitter and Google+. He's entertaining and interesting, and seems like a truly nice guy.
I've been feeling particularly happy toward him ever since he posted a video (shown below) of TheBloggess (if you don't read her blog, you really really should) giving a talk about preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
There were some really great new aspects of gameplay, a welcome change from how familiar Twilight Princess felt even as a new title. I was thankful for the long forgotten feeling of total confusion in a Zelda environment. I chose to play the dungeon demo and there was so much to get accustomed to. One of the first things I noted was the ability to shoot down the giant spiders. In previous titles you simply had to wait for them to turn their bellies toward you, then you could slash them. In Skyward Sword you can use the bow and arrow, or the new flying beetle item, to cut their strings. Once the spiders are on the ground they are completely invulnerable except for a gem spot on their undersides. Getting to their soft spot requires specific upward sword slashes, which I found difficult to perform. If you get them on their backs you can then pull off a rather awesome finishing move that involves jumping and stabbing. I was impressed.
My extremely long wait time to experience Skyward Sword and subsequent stumbling around in a level rewarded me with a Skyward Sword/25th Zelda Anniversary lanyard. I do so love good swag. I also had an opportunity to play Mario Kart 7 as well as Super Mario 3D Land. Mario Kart felt the same as the previous DS offering, except the addition of optional 3D. It was fun enough, but I'm not sure it'll be a title I feel the need to buy. Super Mario 3D Land was amazing though. A beautiful cross between Mario 64 and Super Mario 3, the environments were puzzle laden and challenging, comfortingly familiar at its core, but still very fresh. I played the demo level with the raccoon tail present, a power up that I have always loved and sorely miss from recent iterations of the series.
I found it peculiar that the power-up item is the brown leaf again, but it turns Mario into the whole suit, much like the Tanooki suit. But, you don't turn into a statue, or at least I couldn't figure out a way to do it. Sort of perplexing. If it were just the raccoon suit then it would only be ears and a tail, right? Oh Mario, you'll never stop making me think about you. Either way it is a definite buy once it is released.