The first day of of PAX East began when we left the hotel in the wee hours of the morning and I spoke the following words to my wife:
“No, I won’t need the heavy coat. I don’t want to lug it around all day.”
About an hour later we were standing in front of the convention center when I said:
“I really think I might be in some kind of danger. I don’t remember ever being this cold. How do you know if you’re freezing to death?”
I had imagined that people would just go into the convention center and wait there. The program clearly and unambiguously states that “the doors open” at 8am, which for some reason I took to mean, “The show stars at 8am”. In truth, it meant that, “The doors are shut and guarded until 8am, nothing interesting happens before 10am, and if you show up early your stupid ass will die of hypothermia if you’re under-dressed.” I suppose that’s somewhat less pithy.
So we stood outside for an hour. Then we went inside and stood in line for a while to get our badges. Then we were driven like cattle to the main event, which was a huge ass line.
This area wasn’t so much a line as a holding pen for all of the overzealous dolts who showed up long before there was anything for them to do. I was near the head of the pack.
Some people played Magic: The Gathering. A beach ball was introduced, and a long game of crowdball began. It landed on my head in the middle of writing my previous post.
The exhibition hall is huge. You might be able to see it all if you spent two days on it. Meanwhile, at any given moment there are two or three panels going on. The only way to get the full PAX Experience is with a time machine. But let’s walk the show floor and see what we see.
One of the few games I’m really anticipating is L.A. Noir. It’s been YEARS since I saw a graphics enhancement that interested me, but their facial animation system has blown my mind. I try not to think about how expensive it must be, or I’ll feel guilty just watching the cinematics.
They didn’t have a playable demo They had a theater, and the line wrapped all the way around their booth. We stood in line for half an hour and never took a single step forward. So we left and decided to find a game with a less impossible line.
Not that one.
So how long is the line for Old Republic? Doesn’t look bad at all. Just a couple of dudes… oh, I see. They’re just standing in this open area. The line is over there. But where does it start? There? No, looks like it folds over. And there’s more behind this divider. And then it keeps going.
Okay. The line is clearly longer than any single Star Wars movie. There is no level of entertainment or treasured gameplay secret that could possibly entice me to endure this wait.
Madness! No? Sparta? Fine. I’m leaving anyway.
You know what didn’t have a line? The dozen or so cover-based console shooters that covered the show floor like a brown pox. Here I am playing a game that was less interesting than standing in line. I did enjoy the deep shag carpet of their booth, though. By late afternoon my legs were killing me.
I don’t know what shooter they were promoting with this, but you could pose holding this huge gun with nasty pointy bits all over. So I handed the thing to Heather and took her picture.
I spent some time at the Turbine booth, until my face got so blurry I had to leave. Love these guys. They were showing off their new late-game content. I like many things about LOTRO, but not enough to stand on the show floor doing cooldown-based MMOG combat. Moving on…
A mouse, allegedly. Looks like one of those Michael Bay Transformers, halfway through transformation. It looks like it was dropped, broken, and then bolted back together in a machine shop by a blind man who thinks that “ergonomics” means the sharp rusty bits should be marked with yellow tape.
Evening. Food. The prices were brutal. Movie theaters would be ashamed to charge these prices. It’s very easy to spend more on food than you spend on entry to the convention. I know that’s how it works, but damn.
Then on to the last panel of the day, which was a panel that included me.
Left-to-right: “Movie” Bob Chipman, Myself, Graham Stark, Paul Saunders, and Kathleen De Vere.
We took questions and then everyone watched a selection of Escapist movies. (Zero Punctuation, Top 5, etc.)
I got to meet a few of you. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to shake hands and take pictures. Really nice to have faces to go with the names. Greetings to Deadpool, ccesarano, James, Mailbox, and all the rest.
If Star Wars Was Made in 2006?
Imagine if the original Star Wars hadn't appeared in the 1970's, but instead was pitched to studios in 2006. How would that turn out?
In Defense of Crunch
Crunch-mode game development isn't good, but sometimes it happens for good reasons.
The Game That Ruined Me
Be careful what you learn with your muscle-memory, because it will be very hard to un-learn it.
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.
A game I love. It has a solid main story and a couple of really obnoxious, cringy, incoherent side-plots in it. What happened here?