PAX EAST 2010 Report


Alright, so a few friends and I attended PAX East last Friday (just a one day pass, since the full weekend passes were sold out). We drove from Wingham, Ontario down to Boston, Massachusetts. I’d have to say that it was worth it. I’m going to skip the other trip related stuff and stick to talking about PAX.

That Friday morning, we got to the Boston Hynes Convention Center at around 10:30 a.m. and it was pretty busy. The actual convention didn’t start until 2:00 p.m., but we wanted to get in ahead of people. We were under the impression that if we showed up early, we’d be eligible for tickets to the concert that evening. More on that later.

We got there, checked things out, got some food and then stood in line. While waiting there were a few big screens with random videos playing, and some text message voting polls going on, as well as text message shout outs. None of us partook in them, but some of the text messages that got displayed were funny.

Before getting in line, there were grab bags full of fliers and information booklets, as well as a small deck of Magic cards. I decided that it was time to open up a bit, and thought it would be fun to try a game of Magic out. We attempted this three times in line, but the first two times the damn line moved on us. Third time was a charm though, and it is not too bad. I enjoyed it, and may take up playing it once in a while. Laynix has a lot of extra cards, so I’ll likely end up using those.

Anyway, enough of that. The line began to move at a little before 2:00 p.m. and we decided to go into the main theater area to watch the keynote speech and the Q&A panel with Jerry and Mike (Tycho and Gabe).

We got in, and decided to go for balcony seating. Will Wheaton was the keynote speaker again this time, and he didn’t disappoint. He talked primarily about how Dungeons and Dragons changed his life, and how it unlocked his creativity. Without it, he wouldn’t be where he is today. He also touched on video games a bit, and how gamers keep proving people wrong. These people are the political figures and activists who think that video games rot our minds and turn us into anti-social loners. PAX definitely proves that wrong.

The Q&A was decent. There were some silly questions asked, as well as some interesting ones. Jerry and Mike are good entertainment in person, as I had seen from some of the older PAX dvds. Very good humoured. I got most of the Q&A session recorded with my camera, and will post it sometime soon. There’s 35 minutes of HD footage. Not sure when I’ll have it posted, but it’ll definitely be sometime!

After sitting through both the keynote and the Q&A panel, we went roaming around the convention. There was quite a bit to see, and there were more panels scheduled for later that we wanted to see. The lines for gaming were long, so we decided not to go into the open console gaming area, and the same for the PC gaming areas. There were a lot of bean bag chairs, and even some people sleeping (which I took advantage of).

We went into the exhibition hall to look at some of the developer booths, and it really wasn’t all that impressive. There was some Star Craft 2 being played, a Modern Warfare 2 tournament, some racing games, a game called APB that looked interesting, and then there were some indie games. I cannot remember that one game I played. I think it was called Charlie Slaughter, but it reminded me a lot of Castle Crashers. It was fun, and I will likely look into buying it when it’s released. I’ll correct this when I finally recall the name of the game. Otherwise, there were a ton of Magic card booths and play areas. More than I expected anyway.

I also took the opportunity to pick up some used games. There was a booth selling old ones (NES, N64 and GameBoy games), so I picked up 3 N64 titles for $10. The games I got were Armorines: Project S.W.A.R.M., Wave Race 64, and Wrestlemania 2000. More on these in my next post.

We were going to attend the Indie gaming panel, but it filled up before we could get in. Luckily there was another panel going in just above us and we hopped in line for that. We really didn’t know what to expect, but we were definitely glad we attended this panel. The panel I am talking of was the Beyond Dungeons and Dragons panel, and it was spectacular. There were to gentlemen who have had quite a bit of experience with pen and paper role playing games, and they were talking about how limited Dungeons and Dragons was, and wanted to spread the word on some other great games as well as share some ideas on how to make your pen and paper gaming more fun. My friend Kyle wrote down a few of the games they referenced, and it happened that we were able to get down to the booth that was selling them in time to pick up some of the games. I picked up two of the games and an expansion.

The first of the two role playing games I picked up was Dread. This is an interesting was of developing a horror story. You get a group together, consisting of players and a host. The host organizes a story that each person’s character can go through. It’s up to each player to create a character and outline their strengths and weaknesses and background history. During the game, the host will introduce the group with situations, and if your character may have inexperience or a lack of a vital skill to make it through the situation, then you make a pull. Yes, a pull. Not a roll, a pull…from a Jenga block tower. If the tower falls over, the character dies. That’s the just of it. There is more to it than that, but I am obviously not outlining it all here.

The other game I picked up was called Burning Wheel. I have yet to read the books yet, but please refer to the link for more on the game. It’s a game that encourages people to both succeed and fail to gain experience throughout their role playing experience. Pretty much all of us bought this, so expect a bit more on it at some point down the road.

After we had finished buying up these role playing books, we decided to try and get into the main theater to see the concert. We were happy to find that the doors were open and that no tickets were required. We ended up seeing Protomen, Anamanaguchi, Metroid Metal and MC Frontalot. Personally, I enjoyed all of them, but Metroid Metal and MC Frontalot really took the show. I was very surprised with Metroid Metal the most. I had never heard them before, and they blew me away. I wish I had had enough money to get some albums. I will definitely be looking into them for future concerts.

That is about it for our day. Over the course of the day I did get quite a few pictures. I will be posting some of them here, as well as some videos when I get the chance. It was a good experience, and I look forward to attending PAX again sometime in the future. Next time it will be for the full weekend.

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