Monday, July 28, 2008

Welder Needed

Paramount (and apparently Intel) had an interesting game set up at their booth at ComiCon, which I unfortunately didn't discover until Sunday. Paramount's booth was not near the other big studios and not well-marked on the map, but they did have an ad in the program book, which I finally noticed on Saturday night, urging people to come to their booth to form a Construction Crew and win a prize. The gimmick was, they handed out scratch-off cards every hour, which had job titles on them like "Gravity Engineer," "Electrician," etc. If you formed a team of eight, one of each type, you would win Star Trek laptop bags. They had excellent intentions with this game, which ideally would have resulted in people clipping the cards to their badges and spending the weekend scanning other people's ID to put together a team. In this crowd, this could easily have turned into a self-designed LARP, and lifelong friendships could have resulted.

In the event, the real-life result was that people collected stacks of the cards, and if they managed to put together all 8, they grabbed a bunch of friends or passing strangers and collected their prize. All of this was explained to me by a fellow attendee holding a sign that said "Welder Needed," which I thought at first meant he was an exhibitor with a broken display. But no, he needed a virtual welder to help him build an imaginary Enterprise.

I hung around for the card distribution, hoping to get a Welder card for my new friend, but both cards I was given said "Inspector" on them, which seemed appropriate. Then one of the booth staffers explained to me that I could take my photo at a laptop station in the booth and get a construction team ID, and if I did, I'd receive in the mail a 4-part poster for the new Star Trek movie. Considering that around the corner in the other half of the booth people were elbowing one another in the face to collect that very same 4-part poster one piece at a time, I found this hilarious. (I got two yellows and no blue.)

I was gratified to see that the crew chief I'd been chatting with found a Welder in the crowd. He'd worked for it.

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