Luckily, there were a few other early risers about and I spent most of my time chatting with June. That is, until I found out they had The Simpsons arcade game on the emulator. I then proceeded to play the game until I finally defeated Mr Burns and rescued Maggie. It turns out they also had the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game on there too, another one of my favorites, but I never found the time to go and give it a whirl. I used to love arcade games that would allow 4 or more players at once.
While sitting around and chatting with June and another person whose name I never got, they were describing the size of the pancakes at Harold's, the deli restaurant in the hotel. I was telling them confidently that I thought I could eat the whole thing, a claim that they expressed great disbelief in. I had never actually seen an order of pancakes from Harold's but everything there is super sized. I figured that I was hungry enough that I could at least put a significant dent in a short stack. I was wrong:
I knew I was in trouble the minute they handed me my order. The pancakes, as you can see, were beyond ridiculously sized but what I hadn't counted on was the thickness. They were around a inch thick in the middle. There was no conceivable way I was going to be able to eat the whole thing but I figured I would at least give it a go and see how far I could get. I took a few bites but then put it aside to join in a game of Key Largo.
The game was simple and fun, and the production value was high. There were actually little cardboard divers with lengths of hose that you could buy and attach to the top of their helmets. I thought I had actually won the game, making a gigantic score near the end, but Gil managed to pull it out with his slow but steady strategy. Well, either that or he was stealing money from the bank.
After the game I reapplied myself to the pancakes from hell. I tried, I really did, but was unable to finish even one of them. The attempt alone was enough to make me nauseous and I ended up having to have a lie down in the corner for around a half hour before I started to feel better. All I know for sure is that I won't be buying pancakes again anytime soon. It's officially on my Do Not Eat list for the foreseeable future.
After I had recovered enough so that the chances of puking all over myself were minimal, I decided to join in on wanderingasian's game of Illuminati. I'm not a huge fan of the game, but it's fun as long as you disable the cheating rules. It's probably the only game in existence where the rules explicitly state that it's not cheating unless you get caught. This has lead to a variety of ingenious ways to thwart the system include pocketfuls of spare money chits and incredibly fuzzy math. I'm pretty sure that I'd be a good cheater, but I just don't have the will or inclination to watch other people like a hawk to make sure they aren't doing the same. The simple fact of it is, I just don't give a damn.
For those of you who have never played Illuminati, the basic idea is that there are secretive and powerful cabals (read: Jews/stone masons, etc) who are striving to control the world by dominating diverse groups and organizations. You job is to control more groups than the other cabals (read: other Jews/stone masons, etc) or to accomplish your group's goal. Illuminati almost always devolves into a pissing match at some point. Luckily, as soon as one started, I was able to grab the flip ultra.
Murph ended up being right so far as the game ended before wanderingasian got another turn to go. Victory wasn't as certain as he thought though. The next two people both failed to snatch it and I ended up winning. As I recall, I also won the last Illuminati game that wanderingasian ran at Ubercon IX. Despite my general ambivalence about the game, I've now struck gold twice. Not bad considering I only play it at Ubercon which means twice a year tops.
After the game I couldn't find anything interesting on the schedule so I mostly just lounged around while running the remainder of my Playroom schedule. It wasn't all that bad, though I thought I was going to have some major problems for the Killer Bunnies game. Of the four people who wanted to play, two of them had never played before. Considering that I had all the expansions with me, I was pretty sure it was going to be a nightmare. In the end, they didn't seem to have any real problems. I had to be around to answer lotsa rules questions, but the game kept moving for the most part.
By this point, it was getting on to early evening and I was dragging. The lack of sleep the night before had finally kicked in and I had to resist the urge to just lie down in a corner somewhere and go to bed. The really obnoxious part of it was that there were no games on the schedule worth playing. I just ended up sitting around twiddling my thumbs, well, up until someone from the neighboring LAN setup asked if anyone wanted to join some sort of video game championship. Normally, I wouldn't touch something like that with a 10' pole because I have no interest in repeatedly being headshot and having no clue wtf is going on. The game he described though was like the old Price is Right game, Plinko. I <3 Plinko. Actually, I don't think I know a single person who doesn't love Plinko. It was a game that gave you money and required absolutely no effort on your part. It was like a slot machine that you were almost certain would pay out.
The reason he was trying to drum up players is that only 2 people had shown up and it would be a pretty crappy qualifier round if they advanced without even having to play. In the end, Lori, Karen, and I all decided to give it a whirl. I got a buy in the first round so ended up sitting around practicing. The game is simple enough. All you have to do is hit all the orange blocks with a limited number of balls. The green ones active a special ability, the purple ones give you bonus points, and the blue ones are just the peons. There's also a bucket floating around at the bottom of the screen and if your ball falls in, it means even more bonus points.
I don't remember the order of it all, but I beat Lori at some point and ended up advancing to the finals the next day. By then, I could barely keep my eyes open. As I staggered my way to my car, I seriously wondered if I would wreck before getting home. Luckily, it's only a 10 minute drive or so and I made it without any problems. I stuffed the leftover pancakes into the fridge, took a shower and then passed out.