PAX was originally started as a regional gathering for Penny Arcade fans to play video games together, but it’s grown insanely huge since then. It really rivals E3 but with a more consumer oriented approach. Which basically means it’s more fun.
I had another afternoon shift, so I decided I would try to finish seeing everything I could in the Exhibition Hall during the morning. On the way I had to take a photo of the skyline to show what a typical, grey, rainy Seattle morning looks like.
As promised, I grabbed another shot of the Metroid sketch, still in progress.
The second half of the exhibit hall is just as packed as the first and this is where a lot of the big names had their booths. Halo Reach, Dragon Age 2, lots of good stuff. Of course, even the “smaller” booths are still really impressive.
One of the fun booths was for Just Dance 2. It’s a rhythm game that involves dancing and generally looking silly. It was a ton of fun to watch and looks like it would make a great party game. Assassin’s Creed 2 was awfully pretty to look at too.
Wandering through the Exhibition Hall is pretty amazing, but a few things did stick out as extra cool. For example, Disney’s booth for the new Tron Legacy game was wonderful, especially the life-sized light cycle.
The giant dinosaur for Fallout: New Vegas was amazing and definitely leads to that whole “Disneyland for Geeks” feeling.
In fact, when it comes to that Disneyland feeling, just about the only thing missing are actual rides. Well, that and being outside, otherwise it’s pretty much the same experience . . . Including the ridiculous lines. Some of the booths had enclosed areas where you had to wait in line in order to get in and see the secret stuff. If you were willing to wait in line I heard you got to ride a marshmallow unicorn across a field of hamburger trees and slide down a candy rainbow! Or, maybe you just got to play a demo of a game a little earlier than everybody else.
Either way, here’s a photo of one of the lines.
Portal 2 was one of those games that had one of those lines. I didn’t get in, but from what I saw on the preview monitor, it looks like it’ll be just as good as the original but with even more twists and craziness (Hello co-op!). Force Unleashed 2 didn’t have a line, but it does look like a must buy for fans of the first one, which includes me.
Finally, I made it down to the “Secret Level” of PAX which turned out to be where a bunch of the board game companies were hiding out. I saw some familiar faces and got a few demos of new stuff coming out. Plus, Wizards of the Coast, had a huge display for their new D&D Red Box, which included an awesome dragon sculpture popping out of the cover art. Why is the gang from Team Fortress fighting the dragon you ask? Because it’s PAX of course!
That was all the time I had, so I made my way back down under the escalators to the SJ Games demo area. The place was packed! We demoed pretty much non-stop for the rest of the day.
After my shift wrapped up, I found some space on a table in the open gaming area and started running demos of Castle Panic. I made some Tweets on our new Twitter account, letting folks now where they could find me for some late night games. I’m not sure it was necessary though, since I ran demos back to back, non-stop for the rest of the night, including a great Overlord game that was a real nail biter. When it was over I was talking with the players, one of whom turned out to be Matt Youngmark.
Matt’s the author of Zombocalypse Now, a new twist on the old choose-your-own-adventure kind of book. In this case, you’re a stuffed bunny whose blind date just happens to occur at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse which you try to survive. Matt gave me a copy and yes, it’s as good as it sounds. I’ve been working through a few different adventures and even managed to survive one of them. One. . .
Not long afterwards the Convention Center closed down and the streets were filled with bleary-eyed gamers staggering in search of food or more games. I headed off for some much needed rest and to get ready for the last day of the expo.
To Be Continued. . .