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Games at C2E2 Day 2: Pac-Man vs. The Chicago River, How to (Not) Suck at Tabletop Storytelling, and More

Photo: Aaron Cynic

Saturday at C2E2 was absolutely bonkers. It was packed to the brim on the show floor, and every panel seemed to fill up. Games continue to be an important part of this year’s C2E2, and we’ve got coverage of everything from Pac-Man to Dungeons and Dragons.

Photo: Aaron Cynic

As we mentioned in our C2E2 gaming wrap-up yesterday, a lot of the show floor is dedicated to games, and while we talked a good deal about the video games that are able to be played for free by attendees, we barely mentioned the massive section dedicated to tabletop gaming. Just like the video games, these tabletop games can be borrowed and played, free to attendees.

Photo: Antal Bokor

If you’re looking for retro games, collectibles, the newest tabletop games, and even unreleased video games, C2E2 has all of that, too. We ran into Can’t Get Enough Games on the show floor today, and checked out their extremely cool booth showcasing their first game: Cold Calling. We first saw Cold Calling at this year’s Playtest Party at Logan Theater, where they actually earned their C2E2 booth by winning over the other video games on display. If you want to check out Cold Calling, you can request a demo at cantgetenoughgames.com to try your hand at being a White House switchboard operator during the Cold War. 

Jackbox Games was here again this year, too, and they combined forces with the cast of the Hello From The Magic Tavern podcast to play Jackbox Party Pack 5 with help from the audience. As expected, the results were hilarious.

Photo: Marielle Shaw

We sat in on the SyFy Wire live stage to check out Tim Lapetino (author of The Art of Atari) talking about Pac-Man’s Chicago roots, as well as general Pac-Man related history. Chicago-based Midway games played a massive hand in the popularization of Pac-Man, but putting the iconic yellow character on merchandize, endearing him to the United States, and infusing Pac-Man’s DNA into our city. Tim Lapetino also talked about his own vision for Pac-Man merchandise, which involved Pac-Man toilet seats–the horror! When asked which Chicago landmark Pac-Man would have the most trouble devouring, Lapetino guessed it would be the Chicago River–because of its size, and all of the pollution. That’s a pretty good answer.

Photo: Antal Bokor

We also attended the “How to (Not) Suck at Tabletop Storytelling” featuring Geek and Sundry and other tabletop experts in hopes of getting some insight into tabletop storytelling, and to figure out what mistakes we might be making. This panel featured Rick Heinz, Benjamin Riggs, James Lowder, Crystal Mazur, Ray Jenkins and a whole lot of practical pen and paper style storytelling advice. The biggest theme in the panel is, as a GM/DM, you should not deny your player’s of their ability to make decisions, or impacting events–in other words, don’t take away player agency. Each panelist, in turn, talked about their greatest failures as a DM, including Rick Heinz’s disastrous foray into dream sequences, wiping out weeks of work by his players when they revealed their intricately laid plans in a conspiracy based game, only to discover they’ve been tricked by the DM’s bad story idea. Ouch. Other great advice I heard was to have your players “fail forward,” as Ben Riggs puts it, as it’s not fun for the game to stop because of a bad-luck dice roll. Author and storytelling James Lowder also had this great advice, “Leave room for everyone at the table to participate and have a voice” which sort of encompasses more than just tabletop.

Photo: Marielle Shaw

Our last panel of the day was easily the most energetic as we spent another hour sitting in with the cast of Mortal Kombat 1 and 2–Daniel Pesina, Richard Divizio, Elizabeth Malecki, Tony Marquez, Philip Ahn, John Parrish and Katalin Zamiar. They again reminisced about their time making Mortal Kombat back in the 90s, and how all of them were just martial arts enthusiasts who had one thing in common: Daniel Pesina. Most of the panel consisted of Q&A from fans, with some really great questions being asked. When asked about their perception on the evolution of their Mortal Kombat characters through the years, and after they stopped portraying them, Daniel Pesina (Johhny Cage, Scorpion) said that “in the end, any actor (playing these parts) is paying tribute to us.” He goes on to explain that there is no script, and that those characters were born out of their personalities, and creativity, mostly spur-of-the-moment despite being iconic staples of video game culture. When asked about if there was a time that they knew that they “made it” after the success of Mortal Kombats 1 and 2, Richard Divizio (Kano) talked about an encounter with a young fan at an arcade. Divizio was playing Kano (naturally) when a 9-year-old fan asked him if he chose Kano because he looked like him, Divizio replied, “I AM Kano” and the shocked kid said, “you’re Richard Divizio?!” and Divizio himself was just as shocked that the kid would even know his name! It was a great panel, and it’s always fun to catch the cast of the original Mortal Kombats.

Photo: Marielle Shaw

Sunday is the last day of C2E2, and the floor closes at 5pm, so if you want to check it out, this is your last chance!

 

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