Monday, May 7, 2012

PAX East 2012 Overview

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is a cool place. It has animal art installations. Like this horse.

And some really big animal art installations. Like this giraffe.

And this year it hosted a really big games installation called PAX East.
This is PAX East.

Well, actually, it's the showroom floor, where all types and sizes of games are on display, from indie to blockbuster studio productions -- most of them future releases yet to be touched by the unwashed masses.

But touch them you can! You can play demos on the showroom floor. You can go over to the LAN and play computer games with top of the line NVIDIA tech.

Do I know what that tech does? No. Did Battlefield 3: Close Quarters look and play awesome? Yes! I got more kills than I usually do playing BF3 Team Deathmatch.

Prefer tabletop gaming? PAX has you covered.

They've got the tables and the games. Bring your crew or meet up with people there.

If it's a type of game, it's at PAX.

But say you're tired of gaming, and bored with all the chances for obtaining swag from the various companies. Say you want to craft something. And you don't want to pay for it.

Well, here are some tables where you can paint something and take it for free.
I don't know what they were - I saw the table from one of the ceiling cross-walks and I never got back to it on the floor. But I liked the concept.

Some of the upcoming games had giant displays. This one let you climb inside and experience getting attacked by Alien's alien. It didn't move or anything. But it looked pretty convincing.

Speaking of moving and convincing:
This Big Daddy's drill arm actually worked! He and his Little Sister were impressive.

In fact, all the costumes in Irrational Games' contest were impressive, as were the cosplayers walking around the convention. Fans put a lot of time, effort and love into their costumes, and it showed.

You don't have to wear a costume to PAX, of course, but if you do attend in one, expect admiration and frequent photo requests.

Where were we? Oh yes.

Other game displays showed only a mysterious front. You had to wait in line for the chance to see inside.

Umm...yeah. Should probably mention that a lot of your time is spent waiting in lines at PAX. It's not surprising. Each game station, each panel room, only contains a finite amount of space and there are a millionbillion people who want to occupy it. Maybe not that many. But you get the idea.

For a chance at the games, you have to wait. For a chance at attending a panel, you have to wait. And for popular panels, you have to get there ahead of time--possibly hours ahead--to make sure you're in the part of the line that fits in.

Had I mentioned that there are panels? Yes, you can not only play games, you can attend panels on games and learn about all sorts of aspects of the game industry.

One intrepid soul actually filmed the Plot vs. Play panel, which was one of the best panels ever (in my fan-girl opinion), and put it up on YouTube. (I already posted it on my blog.)

My favorite panel room was the (nyan) Cat Theatre. 

(This still makes me smile. I am easily amused.)

Here we watched the original Fallout: Nuka Break fan film plus the entire first season of its web series.

They have a Kickstarter running to fund a second season, if you'd like to help out.

A Q&A panel followed, with the cast, creators, and Chris Avellone (who has been intimately involved with Fallout through several apocalypses and whose Obsidian Entertainment created Fallout: New Vegas).

I include this shot (from before the panel started) because you can see Chris Avellone is wearing a PIP-Boy!

It's a totally cool prop and was made especially for him.

Are you all properly jealous yet? ;)

One final observation: You remember the unwashed masses I referred to at the beginning? Attending PAX can mean you run the risk of catching PAX Plague. There always seems to be some type of super-flu which someone inadvertently brings along with them. And it has a very good time. I believe everyone I knew came down with some form of it. Including me. But it was a small price to pay for one of the most fun-filled weekends I've ever had.