VGXPO, America’s Video Game Expo, has consistently been a positive experience for me. The first time I attended this small event in Philly, I met and interviewed Athena Twin (Amber Dalton), the co-founder of the all-girl gaming clan Pandora’s Mighty Soldiers for a college paper. She recommended I apply to PMS and one month later I was taken on as co-leader of the clan’s first Team Fortress 2 team.
The following year at VGXPO 2008, Amber hired me to man a shoot-out booth for Sapphire, a sponsor at the time. I was undefeated save three losses all weekend in Quake 4 and got my first paycheck as a gamer.
This year, I went as a guest host for UFrag TV, a site that does live, streaming coverage of gaming events. Thanks to the UFrag guys, I had the best time yet.
My friends/colleagues/agents at NoobToob, Aaron and Jason, were kind enough to set me up with UFrag TV, so TorcH and I woke up early and made our way into the city to the Philadelphia Convention Center by 11am, way before the doors opened to attendees at 2pm. I met Shane, the ship’s captain, and he introduced me to Tim, the guy who tells us what to do, and JR and Alphonso, the guys in front of the camera. They accepted TorcH into manual labor in exchange for a coveted “exhibitor” wristband (he and I generally dislike paying to get into events) and I was given a few quick tips on how to work with the mics and cameras and where to stand.
We were introduced to The Smoke, the pro-wrestler/celebrity liaison for the event. He helped score names like Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers) and Neil Kaplan (Optimus Prime from Transformers, Tychus Findlay of StarCraft2). Trevor was assigned to pulling pictures from the web and making overlays while the other hosts and I ran around securing interview slots.
For the most part, our interviews went smoothly. I was pretty nervous having never done live broadcasting, only recorded interviews with Noob Toob. Once I got a hang of the hand motions and set-ups though, it was all down to coming up with questions on the spot! Here I admit I got a bit nervous. There are a couple questions I regret never asking, but alas, the moment has passed. I also learned a lot about cursing on air and when it is and is not appropriate. Very important.
Some highlights were the fantastic 4G wifi connection courtesy of Clear: Open Air that kept us tethered to the internet. Tommy Tallarico, the co-creator of the orchestra experience Video Games Live gave us a great interview on Saturday (that he made me take my shoes off for so as not to tower over him) and consequently got us scolded. Later on-stage while judging the costume contest he spoke to us about furries and romance. We also had some serious news as we looked into Nintendo’s preview of upcoming releases, a independent hand-held console company, and lots of new faces in the field of game design.
It was a tough three days, but worth every minute because I had a really awesome time helping out at UFrag. All the exhibitors and personalities who participated in interviews brought a lot of energy (especially that guy from Monster who kept delivering cans of it). And in the end, I feel like I truly bonded with some cool dudes who do great things for gaming.
For more information on VGXPO, go to http://www.videogame.net
Check out http://www.UfragTV.com for live coverage of all the best gaming events and streaming video from gamers all over the world!