PAX Prime - Day One

Note: I'm sharing this with some friends and family who aren't down with Giant Bomb, so please forgive the explanation of some familiar faces to this community.

The first day of PAX Prime is essentially over, and it was awesome. From a practical standpoint, the best part of the day was getting to hold both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 controllers and being able to verify that they both feel great. From a show perspective, I was able to see almost everything I really wanted to see in one day.

This was the one day I got there before the show started; you can queue up to enter the exhibit hall as early as 8 am while the floor doesn't open until 10. You spend a lot of time very close to other nerds, making small talk, Streetpassing with your 3DS, and alternating between sitting, crouching, and standing.

Once the doors opened, I made a beeline for the Cards Against Humanity booth. They were passing out Misfortune Cookies. While the cookie tasted great, it informed me that I am pregnant. This is unfortunate, as I'm having a hard time tracking down a no-questions-asked male abortion provider in Seattle. I also purchased The Bigger, Blacker Box for the paltry sum of $15. This is a nice card holder box with dividers for all the terrible CAH sets and those to be released. I got the box signed by some of the creative team behind the game - no Max Temkin though as he wasn't at the booth yet.

From here, I went to check out Lococycle, an Xbox One launch game from Twisted Pixel. This is a motorcycle combat game, but not like Road Rash was a motorcycle combat game. You're controlling a sentient motorcycle, who's dragging a rider along behind him. It's hard to explain it without showing it, but it's accessible enough that I did okay during the playable demo. This was my chance to hold an Xbox One controller, and it felt great. It was surprisingly light, but not cheap.

I wandered around the floor a little and found a booth run by the people who make Solforge, a digital Collectible Card Game I've been playing a little since a Giant Bomb quicklook, and Ascension, a physical CCG. I had never played Ascension, so I sat down and played a game with a company rep and another player. There are some interesting systems at play in a new expansion and, despite not having a foundation with the game, I managed to win 45-29-29. I don't think I'll pick up a copy of the game while I'm here, but I'm downloading a digital version for my iPad as I type this up.

I got my chance to use a PS4 controller at the Supergiant Games booth, during a demo of Transistor. The line was long, thanks to the buzz the game has generated and the fact that the demo was pretty lengthy for a floor demo. While waiting, there were half a dozen or more people gathered around the booth who were cosplaying as characters from Transistor or Supergiant's last game, Bastion. Greg Kasavin, the studio's creative director, had huge smile on his face and took a photos while standing next to me. I asked him how surreal that experience was and he said, "All the way surreal. 8/10 on the surreal meter." The actual demo lived up to my sky high expectations, and I'll be throwing money at this and whatever Supergiant does after this.

After wandering the floor a little more, I sought out the Iron Galaxy booth. They had three stations set up for Divekick, their two button parody fighting game. The CEO of Iron Galaxy, Dave Lang, was manning one station, so I stepped up and challenged him to a match. I selected S-Kill as my character, one of the most complicated characters to play in the game. Lang looked at me and asked if I had played S-Kill before, and I said, "A little." I got an early advantage, and he remarked/complimented me on playing an aggressive style of S-Kill, which isn't common. After I went up 4 rounds to 3 (you play to 5), he made a self-disparaging comment and I got cocky. "Have you ever played this?" I asked. I then lost two rounds and walked away humiliated, but with a hearty handshake as my consolation for leaving the Lang Zone a loser.

My last visit for the day was to see Telltale Games' The Wolf Among Us. Telltale made last year's The Walking Dead game which won a ton of awards and proved that story-driven adventure games have a place in the modern gaming landscape. While I'm not as familiar with the Fables series that this series is based on, they set up the story quickly and get you into a confrontation between your character, Bigby Wolf (Big. By. Wolf. Big. Bad. Wolf), the sheriff of Fabletown, and The Woodsman. The demo got me excited to play this when it comes out and to explore the world of Fables via the existing comic series.

Now, I'm resting my feet and preparing my schedule for tomorrow, which will probably start with the live Harmonix podcast. Between that, the Giant Bomb panel tomorrow, and Sunday's Cards Against Humanity live show and later panel, there's going to be some amazing laughs and probably poignant and touching tributes to Ryan Davis. I hope to spend some more time in the Indie Megabooth checking out smaller games, may try my hand at a Magic tournament for the first time in 15+ years, and will continue to Streetpass like a MUTHA. So far, so good PAX. So far, so good. I also think I'll head over to the Triple Door for Chainsaw Suit live. I apparently missed John Drake twerking like a pro last night.

7 Comments Refresh
Posted by Residentrevil2

Nice article.

Posted by Rorie

@asmo917: Don't forget to say hi if you see me on the floor!

Posted by Tireyo

Well, have fun.

Posted by cloudnineboya

jealous no i'm not jealous at all, sounds like loads of fun. you got in the lang zone and survived, well done.

Edited by HistoryInRust

First PAX myself. It's been really great. Passed Klepek on the streets of Seattle. Keeping my eyes peeled for any of the other Bombardiers. Would have no good clue what to say, though, beyond, "Yo I love Giant Bomb."

Seattle is really a great city, and this has been probably the best convention I've had the chance to attend. Just a nice vibe all around.

Edited by Asmo917

@rorie: Will do. Been keeping my eyes peeled, but there are a LOT of people. I actually looked at my minibar with the plan to bring you the gin from it, but there was no gin. I'm leaving a snooty Yelp review after I check out.

Edited by Asmo917

@historyinrust: It's only my second PAX (Prime in 2011 was my first) but let me reiterate what a lot of people have probably said: pace yourself. There's a TON to do, but four days is going to be a lot of time. I'll probably skip a lot of Sunday to see some friends in the area, and I almost skipped day 3 of East in 2011 because I was super sick and still got a lot out of it. If you're interested in Titanfall, Black Flag, Battlefield, or other big games, wait in line for one AT MOST. I got so much more out of wandering the fringes of the show, talking to the creators of the indie and smaller games. I know Titanfall is going to be amazing. I know I want to play it. I'll have plenty of time when it comes out, but how many times can I play Divekick with Dave Lang or talk to the creator of some weird iPad dice-based choose-your-own adventure game from Australia? Find something new and try it. I'm hooked on Ascension for the iPad already.

And if you see a real fat dude with a shaved head in some kind of Ohio State t-shirt, say hello. Chances are it's me. If it's not, that's a hell of a coincidence and everyone I've met at both PAXes has been super friendly.

@cloudnineboya: Thanks for reading, I hope to do one of these a day in part so I don't forget some of the cooler stuff that's happened and in part to share a little bit of the experience.