Hey guys. Been real busy with school lately. Have not had a bunch of time to delve into some good gaming, or blogging, but I have played a little here and there. Lets see, last time we chatted, I had finished Deathsmiles, the same day, hell the same afternoon, that I bought it. After that, I got this wierd sensation to play The Force Unleashed. I finished it once before, but I traded it in for something else a long time ago, and while in Fresno earlier this summer, I found a Sith Edition in like new condition for like 10 bucks, so I scooped it up. I have to say, its just as fun now as it was the first time I played it. I am stoked for the sequel!
Besides that and school, thats been about it.
On to what the title of this blog states.
What is PAX?
I recieved this question a lot in the last couple of years, and I realized that I never really blogged much about exactly what it is. Some people may say that its a gaming convention, but I have to say that its really much more.
So, PAX is short for Penny Arcade Expo. Yes, the same Penny Arcade that quickly became popular in the gaming community with their hilarious web comics. One of my fav's below:
Ahh, the memories.....
So yeah, these guys got bigger and bigger and started this convention. My first year going was '08. I heard about it last minute from my buddy Smoov_B(at the time lived in the Seattle area) right here on Gamespot. Until this moment, I had no idea what I was about to witness.
It was Sunday, the last day of PAX '08, and I only had about 3 hours to really endulge in what was left over from the unknowingly epic weekend. Though it took merely seconds to see that this was exactly what I wanted to be a part of. Not just as a gamer, but as a game developer.
So I made it a point to go in '09. When ticket sales were announced, I quickly scooped up a couple of 3-day passes, and prepared myself.
Now to let you in on what I prepare for. Bear with me.
PAX West (called PAX Prime now) is held in the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington. The convention center is pretty damn big, and PAX takes all the space. It's 6 floors, with everything gaming related. These include (but not limited to) board games, card games, miniature games, and every other video game imaginable. There are sites such as booth girls, cosplay everywhere, gamers drooling over the latest game demos, one room was completely setup exactly like the Mos Eisley Cantina (pub in Star Wars, located on Luke's home planet of Tatooine), which was not only fully accessable to the PAX public, but also served drinks (non-alchololic duh) and if you got a seat, got to meet the developers of the newest Star Wars online game coming out soon, and even got to walk around and chat with them. This is not the only place where you get to do this. When you went to the 4th floor, you were introduced to the main floor. This is a MASSIVE area that is chock full of developer booths. You got your Halo section that was packed with couches and demo's of the latest Halo game. You see a massive stand for Diablo III with plenty of computers setup for trying out Diablo III as well as Cataclysm. You had a huge Borderlands area complete with demo games, and hot chicks dressed for the part of a post-apocalyptic babe. You had your section devoted to Darksiders complete with a ridable Mechanical version of War's horse, Ruin. You have your countless card, miniature, and D&D-like games section. I was introduced to Brink at last years event. All of this, and I have not even scratched the surface, as the stuff I listed is just what I can remember off the top of my head! There is 10X more stuff to see, and best part of all, all booths have shwag! Yeah, that crap that you get for preordering certain games at your game stores, only here the game companies have better stuff. I got T-Shirts, posters, figures, concept art books, keychains, and much more, AND it all comes at you for the price of your admission. Of course, there are plenty of items that you can purchase there as well. I got the entire set of Castle Crashers figures, and got them all signed by the creators of the game.
Also, most of the artist, game dev's, producers, writers, and programmers of these games are there as well, and you can go up to them and just chat with them. Its a very unique experience, and for someone in game design like me, its basically free additional training in the industry of game design. I can go up to a concept artist, tell them that I am an inspiring game designer, and be bombarded with information that these professionals gladly throw at me. I get business cards, contacts, and even possible future employment.
And mind you, this is just the fourth floor. There are 5 other floors of content, like a huge area setup so that you can pay a marginal fee (like $30 bucks for all three days), and have an awesome LAN party setup at the BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer), and all you need is your PC and the game. They supply all the necessary hookups, desks and chairs, and even internet access. I think that there are also random games selected to play against random people in the LAN room, and you can win stuff like PC video cards, gaming mice, and even an entire gaming PC setup, complete with a bigass LCD Monitor and surround sound setup (that was last year I think)! There are rooms setup with HUGE Warhammer playing tables that you can just bring your game, and start gaming with anyone else that is playing there too!
This year it's even bigger, because they usually hold the panels on one of the floors of the Convention Center, but this year they are holding it down the street, which I admit is kind of a pain since you are already at Ground Zero, but to catch a panel that you want to see you will now have to walk back and fourth from there to another location to watch a panel, then trek back to the Convention Center, just to do it again at another panel you wanna see. While its only a couple of blocks, after being on your feet walking around all day checking stuff out, your legs get worn out. It's also going to be more crowded since they upped the number of tickets that they were selling, and as of this blog, all but Sunday has sold out.
This goes on from Friday Morning to Sunday evening, with only short 8 hour breaks for sleeping in between. This is why I have to sort of "train" for PAX. I usually buy a new pair of walking shoes, hit the treadmill about 2 months in advance, though this time I upped the cardio by mountain hiking, and really get myself ready to be able to get as much out of PAX as I can. This year, my wife is going, as well as two friends from Fresno who are driving up to experience the epicness with us.
Oh yeah, one thing that I forgot to mention that should be taken into consideration. The Swag. So the second you step into the convention center, you are being handed free stuff. You have to remember that what you get, you carry, and even with the free carrying bags that are distributed out, this stuff gets heavy. I mean figures, posters, comic books, Shirts, stickers, and other miscellaneous stuff you nab can get heavy, so trips back and fourth to the car are necessary. This means that you are constantly going up and down floors to the parking garage, and even with the escalators (I am fat, so I use the stairs ugh) you get tired. But there is just SO much to see!
So there you have it. PAX in a bigass nutshell. Its like the Woodstock for gamers, and it seems that with every year, it gets bigger and better. I am sad to say that I have yet to see a real Gamespot turnout here other than one lonely reporter and a camera guy, but maybe, just maybe they will realize on what they are missing out on and make a bigger appearance this year. Though I have seen Gerstmann and the crew from Giant Bomb, as well as G4, GT, IGN, and other notable gaming sites/shows. The hot chick from that dumb little show The Guild was there last year, and she noticed I was watching her talk to someone, and she came up and hugged me! It was random, but awesome! She is hot.
So I hope that you can see why I am so excited for PAX! Maybe one day some of you guys could come to PAX, and see me, promoting the latest game that I am working on. That is a long running life dream that would be my "Game Over" for life achievements. My "The End". My "Thanks for playing! You Win!". My goal satisfying credit roll. My - ..... well you get the picture.
I gotta got on some homework, so I will talk to you guys later!