PAX EAST 2012
PAX, AKA Penny Arcade Expo is a now twice yearly get together in Seattle and Boston of key players in the industry to truly pay fan service to the people who fuel the flames of geekery.
Allow us then to welcome to a scrap book of thoughts, photos and edited highlights from the 360GamerCast trip to PAX East!
This was in fact my first trip the the USA. I am in my mid-thirties and for whatever reason had never exited Europe and its bevy of continental breakfasts, proper football and crazy accents. Therefore when the chance to go to the US presented itself on the forums last year I took the plunge and what a way to do it. PAX East 2012 in Boston was a truly memorable experience – well Friday night was a semi black out but you’ll have to listen the podcast for that story…
Joining me for the convention were TripMcnealy and LordOfLetterbox (aka Jared & Tim) and you hear about the games we played again on the podcast.
Let’s just say that The Boston Convention Centre is HUGE. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if you could fit 2 – 3 Earl’s Courts inside it. The main area is basically two massive ground floor halls which have escalators that lead up to two further levels and a whole host of hidden away theatres, rooms and eateries. It was easy to get lost on day one.
The show floor itself was divided clearly into areas dedicated to console gaming, PC gaming and table top gaming. Surrounding these on the outskirts were gaming merchandise tables, industry people and independent developers. Big guns present included Sega, Ubisoft, Harmonix, Rockstar, Take2, Nintendo and Microsoft. Booth of the show? Borderlands 2 without a shadow of a doubt.
What also took me by surprise was the amount of space that was given over to people so that they could table top game. I never realised how big such a hobby was.
It’s a fairly sure assumption that if you go anywhere with isolated attractions that there will be queues as its no different at a gaming convention. PAX however is queue crazy. Where at Eurogamer you may hear folk moan about a 30 – 45 minute queue expect to line up for over 2 hours at PAX. Yes our 10am start in line for Aliens: Colonial Marines ended at 12.30pm.
Whilst we didn’t have to wait long for the majority of the smaller games we didn’t even bother with Steel Battalion (3 hours) and Borderlands 2 (4 hours). BUT queuing at PAX is fun. Yes fun. Talking with fellow geeks alongside us, playing on the Kindle, 3DS & PS Vita we brought along and people watching made the time fly by. Yes, people watching…
This was the first time I had experienced the phenomenon of cosplay (costume play) in any significant form. Yes I have been to Eurogamer and seen my fair share of rubbish home-made Links but PAX attracts the professionals who get treated with constant, deserving compliments. Below are some highlights of people we saw.
I only attended two this time around – Epic and X-Com which were truly enjoyable experiences. Cliffy B from Epic hinted in particular at additional incoming Gears 3 DLC, a potential future for Bulletstorm whilst giving tips in getting into the industry and answering some truly obscure gaming related questions. X-com of the otherhand was pure fan service in selling the new X-com game. To be honest having never played a X-com game I was somewhat confused but the new game looks cool as and I’m sold!
Elsewhere across the weekend there were appearances by Bioware, Gearbox, Giant Bomb and Irrational Games.
Penny Arcade and its exhibitors spoilt the fans this year chucking a massive goodie bag to all you attended. Likewise there were various goodies given out for playing certain games and attending certain panels. Top items we got a hold of included an inflatable Assassins Creed 3 tomahawk, a red Hitman business tie, Jet Set Radio pin badges and XBL download codes. See below for a competition to some of this stuff!
Putting Eurogamer to shame is all I can really say. I could have walked out with a shit-tonne of obscure Japanese shooters. I almost spent $140 on a Street Fighter X Tekken fight stick. I saw some really rare video games for sale. Retro heaven. There were many independent developers out in force such as Half Brick, Team Meat, Ninja Bee and Behemoth who by my reckoning made an absolute killing over the weekend selling directly to fans.
Above: Behemoth’s booth was one of the best of show.
I therefore came away with several really, really cool gaming t-shirts – Catherine, Street Fighter, Castle Crashers and er.. Fruit Ninja were all in my suitcase come the trip home.
Over to Jared…
For my second trek into the heart of Geekdom the Penny Arcade Expo 2012. I found prior to the event I was less excited initially for the expo itself, and more excited to meet two gentlemen I have grown to call my friends not my Xbox Live friends, but friends I enjoy spending time with outside of the virtual space as well. CinemaDan and LordofLetterbox did not disappoint both are great gentlemen and it was a true please to meet them both. I only hope that more of the community have an opportunity to spend time with the friends that they have made by attending Euro gamer, or making the trip across the pond to PAX.
The expo itself again did exceed my wildest expectations with big showings by Rock Star and 2K games. My highlight of PAX would have to be however Lollipop Chainsaw due to the fact it is not in my “wheelhouse” at all. Having never been a huge fan of Devil May Cry or Bayonetta this title would not have traditionally appealed to me at all, but after giving Shadows of the Dammed a fair chance earlier in 2012 I was excited to get my hands on the next Sudo 51 title, and it has exceeded all of my expectations. Hopefully if these types of titles are not usually your “cup of tea” the community will open themselves up, and give this excellent title a fair chance to charm you as well. Other excellent games included Assassins Creed 3 which sounds like much love and care has been put into this next proper iteration to the series. Spec Ops the Line was my surprise of the show being that I had not even heard anyone hyping it at all. The gameplay is as solid if not more so than Gears of War and the story if you have not checked it out is very intriguing for a modern military shooter. With both competitive and “Horde” based multiplayer options this game has the potential to be a community hit! Xcom: Enemy Unknown by Firaxis seems to be in excellent hands with Sid Meyer’s “A” squad taking the lead. This has been a treasured title to many of the employees of Firaxis for years, and from everything that was shown this game seems to be in development at the right time and by the right people. I am now widely anticipating a release date for this sure to be RTS hit!
Overall the convention and community meet up was a great time and again hope that more of the community takes advantage of meeting each other outside of gamer nights. 360Gamercast has to have one of the most outgoing and kind communities on the internet, and I am very excited to meet more of you when I make my trip to the UK this summer. If anyone has any questions after listening to the podcast please feel free to either # the show with a question, or hit myself up on twitter.
Win. Yes win one of two really cool swag bags fresh from PAX East on stuffed with:
Posters! Including A3 Devil May Cry HD, Dragons Dogma, Max Payne 3, Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City.
*Max Payne 3 Stickers
*Rift on PC – complete game with 30 days subscription complimentary
*Magic The Gathering Card Deck
*Jet Set Radio pin badges
*Joe Danger pin Badges
*PAX East chunky programme
*PAX East Day Pass laminate (pretend to friends that you were there!)
*Assassins Creed 3 inflatable tomahawk
*2 x different Aliens Colonial Marines doo rags
*Sonic Avatar costume – US accounts only but hey – it’s cool
* Various leaflets with codes for games on Steam
* Magic The Gathering draw string bag
* Assorted nonsense – lucky dip as there are some single items in there… INCLUDING a Xenoblade Chronicles & Bioshock Infinite posters, a wired XBL headset, Virtua Fighter zip tag, SEGA magnet, Hitman tie, stickers etc…
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO WIN???
All you have to do is tell us who you would possibly cosplay as at Eurogamer 2012 in the comments section below.
T&Cs – Two goodie packs up for grabs but contents will not be identical due to some single items. If you’re after a specific item or items shown above please specify what if you win – no promises though. Closing date is Friday 27th April 2012 and will be announced on the podcast recorded for Tuesday 1st May 2012.
And now for some assorted snaps.
Dan & Jared with Major Nelson & Laura Lollipop – photo by Tim
Vincent & Kitana face off on Dance Central 2
The award for the most messed up cosplay picture of the weekend perhaps?
Raccoon Mario plays Sega’s Jet Set Radio
How cool? Power loader vs Alien. This battle will feature in Aliens: Colonial Marines we are led to believe.
Award for funniest cosplay of the weekend – Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker’s very own Mr. Tingle!
The first entry into the Assassin Creed costume competition on Friday morning – look what he did to the stage climbing up!
“Ouch! My sides are splitting!”
Official – table top gaming sends you to asleep…