By Dalai 1 Comments
I think I'm a bit late, but how about that PAX East last week, guys? Oh yes, it's all behind us now, but I wanted to write something about my experience as one of the many who represented Giant Bomb and as a repeat PAX East offender. See, this was my 2nd PAX event and with the extra bit of experience I managed to organize my adventures a little better and not get completely engulfed in the craziness of PAX and Boston in general. Still, I learned a great many things on this trip and I, well... let's list them right now in some random order.
PAX is not just about the games, silly! It's about the people!
Coming into PAX East last year, I wasn't sure what to expect to be perfectly honest. I came into the whole trip blindly and thinking maybe I would mostly go it alone the whole time. By the time the show ended, I met several new duders and had an amazing experience even outside the confines of the convention. This year was no different and met with many of those same people from last year as well as some fresh faces. It's still a bit weird to try to match actual faces and names to avatars, but now I didn't quite have that same awkward feeling I had last year when I felt like the new kid in town. There were awkward feelings, but that's only because I can be awkward on occasion.
So my word of advice: don't ever go it alone. Share a room with someone you trust (thanks to @epicsteve and @natetodamax for the bed and the cheap room rate) and be on the lookout for our kind. The Giant Bomb presence is quite large and easy to find, especially when wearing a @fobwashed brand T-shirt. Unlike many of the people who gather in the forums and chat, we don't bite. Actually some of us hug because we all carry the PAX pox so who cares, right? And if you're truly lucky, you might even get to play a Bomberman clone or two. So in conclusion, yeah we're all pretty awesome.
PAX still has games, silly!
This year's crop of games at PAX East was a bit disappointing compared to last year, however there were a number of great titles I found and tried for myself that could eventually be in my Steam catalog. I'll start with Divekick because that was the clear favorite of PAX East 2013 and made its return this year with more Gat. Unfortunately, I only found time for a single match where I got to see both Johnny Gat and the new Baz. And after my 0-4 run last year, I'm happy to announce I had a perfect 1-0 record this year. Now I can retire from Divekick to pursue other interests like Roundabout, my "Game of the Show?" It's a puzzle game where you play as a constantly rotating limousine and you pick up passengers and some FMV happens. It's deliberately awful and it's kinda beautiful? I had so much fun exploding a lot and I'm almost positive I'll be getting my hands on that game when it's released. As for a runner-up, there's Broforce. It's available on Steam via early access so if you love America and blowing shit up as the greatest bros in history, do they have a game for you. Most of the games I played were pretty solid like Shovel Knight, Westerado, Galak-Z, and others. There were others I couldn't get to try, but looked very promising such as Below, Mushroom 11, Hyper Light Drifter, Sportsfriends, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number and more. All of those games are small, indie titles. No big AAA bullshit this time around. I'm sure Evolve is going to be fine and I'll buy the Borderlands Pre-Sequel thing, but it's more Borderlands. I don't need to watch some demo to know how Borderlands works.
PAX is also about the silly panels, silly!
I probably don't need to go too deep into the discussion about the panels since the important ones are available on this site and the internet at large, but seeing your favorite internet celebrities from the gaming world never gets old. Awkward at times, yes, but never old. This year was especially weird since I was able to get both great seats and in the case of the Giant Bomb panel, VIP treatment. The panels speak for themselves, expect maybe the Royal Rumble which I... I can't believe that happened, honestly. That panel also hit my nostalgic nerve center since Wrestlemania 2000 was my only wrestling game purchase ever, back in the day when I still gave a shit about the spectacle.
One of the best parts of PAX has to be the interaction between the speakers and the crowd, especially after the panels. I mean, how often does a commoner like myself get to talk about games with the likes of Rich Gallup and Danny O'Dwyer? When will I ever get a chance to meet Dr. Tracksuit in person? Watching from afar on the internet is fine, but meeting these guys in person is on another level.
I need to see more of Boston.
This PAX trip felt more PAX oriented than last year. My time spent in the city seemed more limited and I didn't get to see everything I wanted while in town. Part of that is due to the fact I arrived on Thursday and had to leave Sunday afternoon leaving maybe a day's worth of non-PAX related sightseeing to do. Also, I had to save my energy for PAX since I started my trip early on Tuesday with a stop at the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York and a brief stay in New Hampshire, a state I may end up moving to in the near future, but that's for another day.
Anyway, Boston is an lovely city just to walk around and get lost in. And getting lost in Boston is easy to do without some form of GPS. I spent a fair amount of time outside of PAX just enjoying the city, the gorgeous weather, the insane crowds in Quincy Market. Seriously, that place was full of people who probably haven't seen or felt a warm climate in ages. And as a wannabe foodie, Boston is one of the best cities to just pig out. I guess I'm starting a new tradition where my first meal in Boston is a burger and fries and in true video game fashion, I ordered a burger called "The Minecraft." That pizza burger was pretty awesome so thanks to Mr. Bartley's in Cambridge for building (ugh... sorry about that) my burger.
So, I think next year might be the year I decide to add a few days to the itinerary and not try to cram everything in a few short days since there's so much of the city I have yet to see.
Bring less booze! I have a massive surplus.
So New Hampshire has tax-free liquor and I stocked up because fuck "the man." I bought a decent cache of booze while in the Granite State and combined with the significant amount of beer I brought from home, I had a small saloon in the back of my car. Most of the beer never left the car and the vast majority of booze came home with me, including a small bottle of maple-flavored whiskey which turned out to be fairly decent. The Kessler, however, was kind of like our very own Kessler: quite harsh at first, but maybe you get used to it over time, and perhaps you might even learn to love it. So if anybody wants to visit me, I've got some Yuengling and several bottles of various spirits. Speaking of Yuengling, they were competing hard against Wildstar in terms of advertising in Boston which completely threw me off because I expect Sam Adams to dominate in that field. It's like I never left Pennsylvania.
Pwnmeal is probably not food.
Cards Against Humanity tricked many a PAX goer with their Pwnmeal campaign, an elaborate ruse of which may never be seen... until next PAX. Or maybe Pwnmeal will become an actual product someday. All I know is I didn't die from the small amount of raw oats I consumed and the cards inside the packet likely tasted the same as the oats. It was still more believable than the Newegg bullshit being fed to us.
StreetPassing like a mad man!
If anybody spotted a Gil from Pennsylvania in your StreetPass travels in Boston, hello! I finally found a venue where my 3DS can be put to the test and all the StreetPassing was a great way to pass the time while in line for the numerous panels. Thanks, Nintendo. Now maybe show up for PAX next time.
Finally, PAX might become an annual thing for me.
Coming into PAX East last year, I didn't expect to return this year. I completely expected that trip to be a one-time thing, but it's almost like a drug. It's something that you can get hooked on the first time and I don't plan on skipping it next year. It's going to be an early PAX East next year, a potentially bitterly cold one at that, but I'm planning on being in Boston freezing my lips off. To the scores of duders I met last week, thanks for joining the conversation and maybe I'll see you next time! As for now, there's always the internet. I'll be on that shitshow until then.