The Beginning of the End, AKA DAY 3
Sunday was the last day of the Expo and things were winding down. Outside the Exhibition Hall, the artist was finishing his Metroid sketch.
The SJ Games booth was a little less crowded in the morning as all the attendees slept in from the various events, concerts and other mayhem of Saturday night. It picked up as the day moved on and we all stayed busy with demos. The show ended at 5:00 p.m. and we packed up the booth and I headed out to meet some friends that live in Seattle. We took a quick walk up the street to Gamma Ray Games, a great local game store where we stopped in to chat with the staff. While I was there one of the players from one of Saturday night’s Castle Panic demos dropped in to pick up a copy for himself. We talked for a while and I signed his copy, as well as another that a different customer picked up. It made for a fun way to wrap up the last day of the expo.
So What’d You Think?
With the show ending, my overall impression was obviously that the expo was huge, fun, exhausting and really exciting. Ironically, many of the really big games that had the largest booths were either first-person shooters or MMORPG’s. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it was somewhat disappointing because that meant that 90% or more of the entire show boiled down to those 2 types of games. Sure, most of them were gorgeous, but I was hoping for some more variation and creativity from the big guys.
Hands down, the most impressive things I saw were the independent video games. Some of the coolest, most original ideas are coming from small, unknown publishers and those ideas are awesome!
What Was the Coolest Thing at PAX?
I couldn’t pick a single favorite, so in no particular order my Coolest Things at PAX® were:
Part Tetris, part fighting game, this wacky combination game could be huge. Players direct their characters to gather puzzle pieces (by punching floating Space Cows of course) and arrange them to build a tower which will fight against your opponent’s tower. This will be a great party game.
This multiplayer game takes the old “Knights vs. Dragons” idea and turns it around by letting the players be the Dragons. You score points by capturing princesses, defeating knights and burning villages to the ground. Great fun, and there’s a nice strategic challenge to the game as well. Plus, it reminds me of our own Overlord variant, so that’s makes me smile.
There were many rhythm games at PAX, most of which were variations on the idea of Rock Band. However there were a few which were trying something new. Drumskulls combines the great taste of drumming and zombies into a delicious treat. It’s a rail shooter game where you hit the color coded drum pads to attack the proper zombie before you get eaten. The creators don’t have a website up yet and I forgot to take any photos, but keep an eye out for this one. It’ll give your Rock Band drums new life. . . er, afterlife?
This side scrolling fighting game has been in production for years and it shows. The amazing 2D art mixed with comically brutal fighting (grenade in the mouth anyone?) is just addictively fun.
We flew back on Monday, which gave us another chance to use Seattle’s great light rail system. It runs all the way from the airport to downtown and only costs $2.50 for the trip. It’s a great example of what public transportation can be and was perfect for us.
Leaving the convention behind us it was hard not to feel a little sad that it was over, but really excited for next year and glad to have been able to participate in such a fun, over the top celebration of all things gaming. In going through my goodies from PAX I found a great custom d20 that I got from one of the players that played Castle Panic (Thanks to Geoff Gill). I think it sums up the <3 that we all have for PAX quite nicely.
(Updated to credit Geoff for his groovy cool PAX d20)