Posted by: cassymuronaka | October 23, 2010

Blizzcon 2010: The Waiting

So it turns out that the Emmy-winning “South Park” episode satirizing the “World of Warcraft” and characterizing online gamers as being just a tad on the messy side wasn’t too far off the mark. As I stood in line Friday with an uncountable number of proud nerds at the Anaheim Convention Center on opening Day at Blizzcon 2010, I gazed across the piles of litter that only a mother would notice.

I cannot claim to be the oldest person person attending the three-day event, but let’s just say that if there was a contest for Most-Aged-Person-Attending-Blizzcon-Who-Doesn’t-Actually-Participate-In-The-World of Warcraft-Or-Diablo-Or-StarCraft, I would have had a real shot at the crown.

All three online games are played by millions of mostly young men all over the world. World of Warcraft alone now boasts 12 million competitors.

This is the fifth year for the two-day event known as Blizzcon, a gathering of Blizzard Entertainment game fans from countries around the world.

Among the attendees was my son, Jake, and his good friend Hanna. Months ago Jake and his father — another gamer — had poised their hands above their computer keyboards on some date at exactly something-o’clock, at which time the much sought after Blizzcon tickets went on sale. Both men had tried to register from two different locations at the same moment as every other fan who had the money for the ticket and the trip to California.

My lightning-fingered son, who achieved the maximum allotment of five tickets, was 30th in the queue. My husband, who received none, was 4,000th.

It’s a long story how I ended up going to the event, but there I was. Despite dragging myself out of bed at 6 a.m., there was already a group of people lingering outside the convention numbering in the hundreds — maybe thousands — when I arrived at 8 am, cordoned off by metal fencing and wrapping out of sight around the building.

This is the part where being a short, old suburban mother helped me. From the back of the line, I began gently but firmly pushing my way to the front, all the while murmuring, “Excuse me, excuse me.” Only one territorial youth blocked my path and queried, “Can I help you, M’am?” I looked up sadly at him and said, as pathetically as possible, “I’m looking for my son,” never adding that I was searching for him because he had my ticket.

“Oh,” the young man responded in shock, and immediately stepping aside, “I hope he’s okay.” I smiled weakly and continued moving forward. Only now, I put a much more worried look on my face and added a new phrase to my murmuring:

“Excuse me, excuse me, I am looking for my son.”

Fortunately, the crowd was not so tightly packed or suspicious when I got near the front, where Jake had directed me by cellphone. Some of these people staked their places long before the sun rose, and had spread out to their heart’s content, possibly before a lot of the security guards had even arrived.

This was where the true litterers resided, having purchased their breakfasts of pizza and caffeine at the next door Sbarro and Starbucks, or the McDonald’s down the street. Some of them sat leaning on palm trees, methodically munching bags of Cheetos. Others snored as they slept on the cement. The ones trying to escape boredom were playing the World of Warcraft board game. The rest entertained themselves by watching the occasional wildly-costumed attendee arrive.

I waited in line for two hours, which gives you an idea of how long Jake and Hanna had already been standing on their feet, anxiously twitching for the doors to open. At one point, Hanna called her father to let him know how things were going. Hanna’s conversation with her father:

Hanna: “Hi Dad … Um, yeah, I’m fine. Yeah, we’re still in line, still waiting.”
The Dad: (Sighs) “You’re all a bunch of nerds.”
Hanna: (Slightly defensive) “Jake’s mom is here now.”
The Dad: “She’s a nerd, too.”



Next Blizzcon Installment: Signing the Wall

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Responses

  1. what sort of costume did you wear?

    • I wore the pathetic mother costume so I could move to the front of the line.

  2. You are a great Mom

    • No, this time Jake did me the favor. I had a blast. But I’m too tired to go back today.


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