The Weekly Geek: PAX East gets creative


You may be reading this from the sunny vistas of Palm Springs, ready to lez things up at Dinah Shore weekend. If so, stop it — I can hear you smirking in glory from here.

I did a bit of convention going myself recently, when I attended the very first PAX East convention this past weekend, here in Boston. And while it did not, sadly, include thousands of lesbians partying in bikinis and board shorts, it was pretty great in an entirely geeky way.

PAX stands for Penny Arcade Exchange, and it’s a grand, massive exhibition of all things dorky, specifically videogames. Companies, indie developers and individual artists come from far and wide to show off new videogames, board games, geek movies and even stage plays, and concerts every night play up “nerdcore” music and orchestrated versions of popular game themes. Thousands of dorks flocked to the event to check out the games and their fellow gamers, and if attendance numbers are to be believed, it was a rousing success.

One of the coolest features was seeing just how many women attended the conference. As a female game journalist, I’m pretty used to going to events where two x-chromosomes are a complete rarity outside of the gorgeous “booth babes” — models hired to hawk games. It was fantastic to be surrounded by geeky girls and some of them even dressed up.

Yes, folks, there were plenty of cosplayers at the event (people who dress as favorite characters), including a couple of rather convincing Bayonetta’s and one creative girl who dressed up “as” the abstract game “Flower” and ThatGameCompany (Flower’s developer) proudly displayed her photo on their blog.

Sadly, I saw nobody dressed as Princess Leia in a metal bikini, but I know that’s saved for another event.

Since you’re also probably reading this on the nerdiest “holiday” that exists — April Fool’s Day — I’ve decided to leave you with a few safe-yet-dorky prank ideas with which to delight your family and friends (or leave them shaking their heads at you).

Listsoplenty has a few great ideas, all of which are perfect for the office. Everything from the very simple (putting opaque tape on a co-worker’s optical mouse), to the more elaborate (re-mapping someone’s keyboard with the incorrect keys) is represented, but this one takes the cake:

You’ll need a wireless keyboard for this. Set up a meeting with a colleague to teach them a speech-recognition program (you’ll need a plausible reason why the company needs this). Then, right before the meeting, connect your keyboard wirelessly to the victim’s computer. Explain to the victim that the program will have to be trained to recognize their voice, and give them a sample sentence to try out. As they do this, have a co-worker a few desks away type gibberish into the program page (“Boomshakalaka!).

The poor guy will make a fool of himself talking louder and changing his pronunciation to try and make it work.”

Good luck, and don’t get fired!

Do you have any hilarious/geeky pranks from your past? Plotting anything exciting for today? Share your best in the comments!

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