Hello from PAX!

By Josh Posted Saturday Sep 4, 2010

Filed under: Nerd Culture 50 comments

Great Scott!
Great Scott!

Hey folks. We had a great time at the first day of PAX – all of my extremities are numb with the exception of my right foot, which feels like it’s been stretched about three inches over the course of 24 hours, and Mumbles is passed out in the adjacent hotel room. Ah, PAX, what would you be without all of the physically debilitating injuries?

I actually planned to have this post up last night, but considering both Mumbles and I had to be up and heading to the airport around 6 AM yesterday and we’d spent the rest of the day walking, I hope you can understand the delay.

Oh, and on an interesting note: There are no chairs in the exhibition hall.

But enough of my whining. We’re at PAX, so let’s talk about what’s at PAX, shall we?

And let me tell you, there is a lot of stuff at PAX. Our first major stop was the Arenanet booth.


Which was strategically located directly in the center of one of the two exhibition halls. This booth was beyond crowded all day, so we didn’t really get a chance to do much there. The lines to play Guild Wars 2 flowed out into the walkways between booths, and there was a demo timer of 45 minutes per person, so you can imagine how long it would take to get to actually play Guild Wars 2.

Next to the Arenanet booth was Nintendo, which we didn’t really spend much time at. The 3DS was conspicuously missing, which was more than a bit disappointing considering it had been playable at E3, and the rest of the games showcased there were either Wii and DS titles I’d never heard of or games that were already out (Metroid: Other M).

Not far from the Arenanet and Nintendo booths, but a bit more out of the way in a far corner of the hall was the Star Wars booth, with what I believe was the first publicly playable demo of Star Wars: The Old Republic in the US. The lines here were a lot shorter than the Arenanet booth, and Mumbles and I both got to try our hands at the game. I’ll have a more detailed article about this later on, but suffice it to say the demo was not exactly “exhilarating.”


On the other side of the Star Wars booth was The Force Unleashed 2. They had two different types of demo stations, one multiplayer on the Wii and one singleplayer on the 360. The singleplayer looked… well, a lot like The Force Unleashed 1, so neither of us were too interested in that. But the multiplayer was what caught our interest – it looked like a straight copy of Super Smash Bros. We didn’t wait in line to play it, but it’s one of the things we definitely want to go back to. A Super Smash Bros-style Star Wars game could be very interesting.

We stopped by several other booths in the larger hall. Valve’s booth was rather modest in comparison to some of the more grandiose ones – consisting only of a small enclosed theater with Portal 2 branding on the outside walls. No playable demos, no surprise Episode 3 announcements, just a Portal 2 presentation with a line a mile long. Which is about to be expected, I suppose.

After our wanderings in the larger hall, we walked across the skybridge to the smaller portion of the main floor, where there were a number of theater booths. Most prominent of these was the massive Duke Nukem Forever theater which I’m sure you’ve heard of – a large enclosed booth adorned with various pictures of Duke doing various awesome things such as wrestling sharks and being an astronaut. Maybe we’ll get lucky and beat the line into that show this morning.

Also on this side of the hall was a large NVidia booth. Now, I get the feeling that most people who go to video game conventions ignore the technology booths, because despite the booth having a massive three screen Guild Wars 2 demo station, there was only one person in line to try it.

So no, I didn’t get to play Guild Wars 2. I got to play Guild Wars 2 in 3D! And it was awesome.

Also in the same NVidia booth was a demo station of Civilization 5, which Mumbles got a chance to play for about thirty minutes. I expect we’ll have more in-depth articles about both of these games soon.

But for now I’ll have to leave you with these tidbits. The convention hall opens in a little over an hour and we’ve got to get over there. Look for more information soon!


From The Archives:

50 thoughts on “Hello from PAX!

  1. Zukhramm says:

    Aaaww, don’t just tell us you got to play it. I wnt to know more about Guild Wars 2!

  2. Shamus says:

    I cannot tell you how strange it is to come onto my own blog and find new content. I could get used to this.

    Thanks Josh.

    1. SolkaTruesilver says:

      As stated down-here, it’s kinda weird to come to this website and see stuff not written by Shamus.

      Which means I initially thought you wrote that. Until I read your comment. Then I felt stupid… Darn. To escape my feeling of shame, I need to get back to more familiar ground…

      When are you going to play Dwarf Fortress?

      ah.. feeling better already.

    2. Maldeus says:

      Shamus. I realize that, having already made suggestions like this once in the comments for your “not sick anymore” post, it might start feeling like I’m trying to coach your life or something, but it just occurred to me. Why don’t you delegate more stuff? Have other people update your blog on some days, so you don’t have to so often. And then you can take that time to do non-video game stuff. And eventually write about it.

      Mostly, I just want you to start directing me to good animes again, so I don’t have to spend time sifting through them myself.

      1. thebigJ_A says:

        Yeah, delegate more. If you pay me, I can totally do stuff! I have opinions on games, AND I can be grumpy about them. I’m qualified, right?

        So, yeah. Just waiting on my first assignment…

        1. Nyaz says:

          Hey, I want to get payed for taking the piss on video games, too. :P

    3. Deadfast says:

      Outsourcing. Everybody does it.

    4. MrWhales says:

      Haha.. i like the part where the new content doesn’t have the usual Shamus-hidden-anger-at-the-non-digital-world. It’s refreshing. No offence

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        What? I haven’t noticed that from Shamus.

        …Are you suggesting Shamus is SHODAN? Names are sorta similar, mind.

        1. MrWhales says:

          Well there was the “book” that he wrote of system shock… Who would know better than SHODAN itself(does it have a gender, i can’t remember)

          Josh is just a computer terminal.

          1. Audacity says:

            Hmm, considering how this ‘book’ ended up portraying SHODAN and certain “alterations” that were made to the main character in the end, this sounds disturbingly plausible. Perhaps he doesn’t even know it.

            Shamus, do you normally end a Deus Ex playthrough by inexplicably joining with Helios? Do you find yourself rooting for Skynet whenever you watch Terminator? Or perhaps you believe SID is the only part of 2001: A Space Odyssey that makes sense? Do you wish you could befriend and share cake with GLADOS? Is Wintermute/Neuromancer your favorite of Gibson’s characters?

            If you answered “yes” to all these questions, please inform me. I have some government “friends” in black trenchcoats and sunglasses who would like to meet you.

    5. Nyaz says:

      Maybe you should add a little Shamus-avatar, Josh-avatar and whoever-else-posts-here-(Rutskarn?)-avatar so that we can tell more easily who posted. (And yes, I know it says “posted by XXX”, but I always forget to read that. An image is more eye-catching, I guess.)

      EDIT: Actually, you could use that hand-drawn image of Reginald Cuftbert as Josh’s avatar. That’s how I picture him in my head, anyway.

    6. nawyria says:

      You should have a small avatar near the top of every post of the person making the post. I didn’t realise this post was made by Josh until I read your comment; the “by XXX” is just too inconspicuous.

      EDIT: That’s what you get for letting your comment screen stay open for half an hour, I got beat to it by Nyaz.

      1. Nyaz says:

        Ha-ha! *Flexes commenting-muscles*

  3. Alarion says:

    A suggestion to Shamus: I think it’d be better to more prominently showcase the author of the post (at least if it isn’t Shamus himself). I read the article (nice one, by the wy, thanks Josh!) and thought to myself: “Hm, Shamus didn’t twitter about PAX at all”. Then I remembered the post yesterday and looked at the top, and the author’s quite easy to overlook, especially since guest posts on Twenty Sided are so rare.

    Oh wow, I wrote a rant instead of suggesting. My bad. Another try, to recap:
    More prominent guest author markup for better context would be nice. ^^

    1. Moriarty says:

      if you didn’t recognize the author by his greetings to the audience, you obviously didn’t watch enough spoiler warning =)

      I couldn’t help myself but to read the first two lines in josh’s voice

      1. Louis says:

        Spoiler Warning? Oh, you mean that Twenty-Sided feature I can’t watch during my lunch hour at work. ;P

        Fortunately, I’m trained now to look at the post-author on this blog.

      2. Casper says:

        I haven't been watching spoiler warning, but I did quickly recognized from writing style that its not Shamus.

    2. A Different Dan says:

      Seconded. It was quite confusing at first (much as it was for you, Shamus :)

    3. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Well, he didn’t start the post with “Stop shooting me!”….

  4. BeamSplashX says:

    I hope there will be end of convention pictures so we can see what PAX does to a person up close. You could just use any normal pictures of yourselves as “before.” Though if Rutskarn had gone, drawn pictures of before and after would suffice.

  5. Railway Man says:

    Ah come on, don’t just leave us hanging like that with Star Wars: The Old Republic! Details, man! Details!

    1. swimon says:

      Agreed I’m really curious about that one. It could be anything from a reinvention of the genre to a WoW clone that sinks Bioware (considering how much money they’ve put in it if this fails it might be the end of Bioware and by extension the end of that brand of RPGs).

      1. Aldowyn says:

        actually, EA’s paying for it. It’s so much money there’s probably less than half a dozen companies could handle it at all.

        As in, most EA has ever put into any game ever.

  6. DougO says:

    Last year, the ECA booth was all decked out with comfy chairs, free refreshments, and thick carpeting on the floor. Just had to be a paid-up supporting member.

    Best $20 I spent all weekend, that was.

  7. Drexer says:

    I am eagerly awaiting Guild Wars 2 news then… I want details and more details and even more… well, stuff. Some Civ V would be nice too.

    So does this mean, huh Josh… how’s the first day of pregnancy coming along then?

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Uuuuu!Civv demo!I wanna know more!I wanna know mooree!

    1. Irridium says:

      Me too.

      Stop holding out on us!

    2. Hugo Sanchez says:

      Oh my god a million times this

      Also, I did have to do a double-take look at the fact this wasn’t a post by Shamus, I suppose if Josh/Mumbles contribute more regularly, though, It won’t slip by me.

    3. The Defenestrator says:

      Wow, I went to the actual Civ V booth and made an appointment and I still only got to sit in a chair and watch them show it off for 20 minutes.

      Then again, “sit in a chair.”

  9. X2-Eliah says:

    Don’t forget to go to Bioware’s booth and rant to the devs about simplifying Dragon age 2 ;)

  10. Fat Tony says:

    Why no pics of YOU josh I dont want to keep envisioning you as REGINALD!

    1. Syal says:

      Now I’m imagining a mutton-chopped man wearing a summer bonnet and a grim expression standing in line to play Guild Wars 2.

      1. jdaubenb says:

        A summer bonnet, a blood-stained headband and about a dozen other pieces of headwear.

        on topic: Sounds fun. The impeding (p)revies that is.

      2. Nyaz says:

        You know, someone should seriously cosplay Reginald Cuftbert, *raging alcoholic, constantly chugging down post-apocalyptic drugs and wreaking havoc.*

        *xxx* = Not necessarily a good idea.

  11. Veloxyll says:

    A lot of stuff, but no CHAIRS. on the other hand with 3D Guild Wars 2 and Civ 5, who needs chairs anyhow?

  12. ooli says:

    No doubt Josh is more skilled in writing funny article than in playing spoiler warning :] … And by “playing” I mean being harsh with every other commentator

  13. Amarsir says:

    I finally figured out why I can’t figure out the appeal of PAX. It’s for people so into new content that they’ll stand in long lines for interactive commercials of stuff that isn’t out of development yet. Meanwhile my frantic pace of game absorption currently places me about halfway through Hitman: Blood Money. So hopefully by 2014 when I’m ready to hear about Civ5 there will be some information out.

    But still, I don’t really see what role PAX is supposed to serve. E3 is the unofficial announce/reveal point for the new year, much like the upfronts week in May is for TV networks. GenCon is built around appealing to in-person gaming, allowing people from different locations to network for tabletop or roleplaying the way they can’t do at home. The GDC is focused on designers, featuring theory and mechanics and other subjects that are never actually as exciting as you expect. (Or so I’m told.)

    So what does PAX do that the other conferences aren’t doing better? I don’t mean to be a wet blanket but I really don’t get it. Anyone care to explain to me?

    1. Mr_Wizard says:

      E3 died while ago because the people running it were stupid, and thought that an event that captured the attention of gamers everywhere and being the biggest event of the year in gaming was somehow a bad thing. So they decided to tone it down a whole bunch.

      PAX was created afterward to fill the vacuum E3 left, and since then basically stole the show because E3 had been muzzled.

      1. Amarsir says:

        Is that so? Well that makes sense then. Thanks!

      2. Ranneko says:

        This is untrue.

        E3 has theoretically always been about the publishers selling to the retailers. This is why to go you needed to demonstrate that you were in the industry. Though the standard was historically quite low. Back in 2006 they, at the request of some of the larger participants, attempted to tone down the event because apparently the cost of the spectacle was starting to make the event not worth going to, or something along those lines.

        PAX was started in 2004, it was created with the concept of being an event for gamers rather than a show for game companies. Hence the emphasis on areas for play. You have the main exhibition hall and the demos, but you also have areas where you can borrow console games and there are console set up to play them. You can do the same thing with board and card games, there are tables set up where you can play them or you can of course play your own.

        There are cushions set up throughout the convention centre which allows gamers to sit down, relax, pull out a laptop or handheld and play games with each other.

        The event is explicitly set up around the idea of people playing games, many many games. The free play areas were something I found especially awesome about PAX when I went and the thing that made them so great were the LFG signposts and signs. If you wanted to indicate that people could join you, you could just grab an LFG sign and put it on your table. If you wanted to find a game, you could wander around and look for the signs.

        So in any case, PAX was created before E3 tried to cut down on attendees and booth babes, and it was created with different goals and the PA guys have stated that they didn’t want to try to emulate even the old E3 behaviour.

    2. Nick says:

      The major difference is that E3 is journalists only, some years it has even been invite only. PAX is open to all.

  14. TheDefenestrator says:

    Do yourselves a favor and check out SpyParty and Monaco.

  15. Skyy_High says:

    I can’t wait to hear your opinion on GW2, let alone GW2 in 3D.

  16. winter says:


    The real question, here… the question that will determine the fate of gaming for the next decade:

    Is 3d worth it???

    (Also: what did you think of Guild Wars? I mean, while you’re at it and all…)

  17. Rick says:

    At the top of the page and in the RSS feeds it says the author name… But I agree that it could be a little more prominent on the page. Maybe the authors avatar and name at the top, or if that’s too much how about doing that just when it’s not you? Despite running a web development company I’m not much of a designer :p

  18. UtopiaV1 says:

    Dammit i wish i could’ve been there… I really really REALLY want to know what new technology NVidia wants to show us? Will it be 3D-ready graphics cards? CPU/GPU crossover platforms? A version of SLI that works?

    Who knows, or dares to dream…

  19. Jason Mical says:

    Just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for dropping by our booth as well and I hope you guys enjoy the VIP demo today!

    1. Viktor says:


      Shamus…you’re famous.

  20. Aldowyn says:

    Let’s just put it this way:




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