By Dalai 0 Comments
PAX East is over. Long over. It's been almost two weeks, Dalai! Why so late? Well concerned reader, it's not important. What's important is the here and now and now I am ready to talk about the exploits I had in Boston. PAX East 2015 was my third PAX East which makes me a certified veteran of the Boston video game convention scene... sort of. No PAX is ever the same and this year was no different. I met some new faces, played some interesting games, and even found a way to leave Boston free from illness and chapped lips despite the Boston cold lingering for much of the event. Well... staying in the hotel connected to the convention center certainly helped. Anyway, here's what I learned from PAX East 2K15.
By the way, blame Cities: Skylines for the delay. Being a mayor can be quite demanding.
PAX is still about the people... and the games... and the panels.
Let's face it. PAX is a great event, but ultimately the games and meeting your favorite internet personalities are not quite as important as getting to hang out with friends you might see only once or twice a year. For one weekend, my Twitter friends become real life friends, and that's pretty cool. More on that later, though.
Now the panels. Giant Bomb, PAXAMANIA, you can see them online. Form your own opinions if you haven't already. I will say that Giant Bomb and the supporting cast of miscreants continue to make me laugh each and every panel. They do good work, they truly do. The Bunch of Dads panel was hilarious and informative, even for someone like me who is not a dad nor is becoming one anytime soon. However, I would take Will Smith's daughter for a day because she is so damn adorable.
And finally the games. I managed to play more games this year than possibly the last two PAXes combined, somehow. Games like Splatoon and Overwatch had ridiculous long lines and although I really wanted to check them out, I'm on a schedule. Smaller games got my attention like Thumper (stick it in my veins good), Catlateral Damage (feline silliness good), Amplitude (a shame it's not coming to PC good), Moon Hunters (wish I learned about the game earlier good), Capsule Force (Not quite Divekick good, but still good), Move or Die (didn't feel like dying good), Dreadnought (too sluggish for me, but it looked good good), and my game of the show, Axiom Verge (Super Metroid good.) The two games that didn't click with me were Sentris and Codename: S.T.E.A.M., the former I couldn't grasp the concept because I'm an idiot, the latter being the kind of game I would likely get bored with after five minutes. If there were any other games I forgot to mention, it was probably forgettable or I didn't actually play it.
The PAX traditions.
Now that I'm on my Xrd PAX East, I've tried to make room for stuff I did in previous years. The Giant Bomb panel is tradition by default, but I have formed a few traditions I would like to keep. Like my Boston burger tradition, for example. Every year, my first Boston meal has to be a burger. A gigantic cheeseburger from Eagles Deli in '13, a pizza burger called the Minecraft at Mr. Bartley's in '14, and this year the Mac Attack at the Boston Burger Company. I mean, Guy Fieri had that burger and he's... uhh... I'll just leave it at that. So if Dan is reading this, mac & cheese on a pizza is fine, but amazing on a burger.
I guess another tradition is forming among the community of duders I'm around the Thursday before. It involves average Tex-Mex food and a dive bar in Cambridge and honestly, I'm perfectly fine with that. Unfortunately some traditions had to die like my annual Divekick match. That damn game made an appearance for some reason, but never got around to losing to some punk kid. I also skipped the Cards Against Humanity panel, even though it's always fun to attend.
So if you're planning on becoming an annual Pax goer, form some kind of tradition of your own, doesn't matter what it is. Whether it's going to Quincy Market or staying a night in the Boston drunk tank, keep your traditions alive.
The PAX chill.
If you live in the northeastern part of the United States, you understand that March is a funny month weather-wise. One day it's bitterly cold, the next day close to t-shirt weather. Snow is not unusual, but the Boston snow was a sight to behold. Yes, much of downtown was free of the mess, but venture out into the less traveled areas and you understand why New Englanders bitched about the snow for two months straight. The stories about Bostonians leaving chairs to keep their parking spots are real. I saw that shit with my own eyes. Boston parking sucks on any other day, but that record-breaking snow didn't do me any favors. Luckily, next year's PAX East is scheduled for mid-late April so I can forgo the winter coat and this year's snow piles should be melted by then.
I guess I should be grateful I snagged a room right by the convention center so I avoided the cold more often than most... with the exception of the Saturday night Harmonix hike. That was a chilly walk, but I got to see someone get their phone slapped out of their hand.
The PAX cuisine.
Yeah, more food bullshit. Burgers and fake Mexican food aside, there was one other meal which has eluded me the past two years. The locals call them steak tips. Some refer to them as tiyups (spelling varies depending on excitement.) Never had them until this year. Long story short, Boston needs to advertise steak tips more often in travel brochures because they're excellent. So thanks to the Silvertone Bar & Grill for the best (and only) steak tips I've ever tasted. And as @aurahack, friend of aurahack, and I were finishing off our tips, collusion was happening nearby as a gathering of various elements of Giant Bomb and Harmonix sat down for I would assume steak tips. Aside from some mild gawking, we kept our distance knowing we'll have time to see them during the show.
And boy did I need those tips because it's difficult to find time to eat during the show. Convention center nachos can only fuel me for so long and the Hot Pocket food truck looked incredibly shady.
Even the garbage served at the Harmonix party didn't satisfy my hunger. So if you're counting, Harmonix has a 1-1 record.
The PAX head.
Last year was the inaugural PAX fake video game wrestling panel starring several gaming developers, journalists, and personalities all in one gloriously dumb package. That year, nobody knew what to expect and maybe half the room was full. This year, I knew word has spread on how wonderfully dumb this spectacle was in the past and I had to do something special. Friends of mine made signs. Really good, professional looking signs. My creation, however, was a tad different. Since I have few art skills left and I'm not exactly creative when it comes to sign making, I went a different route, the extra mile if you will.
If you saw a three foot tall cardboard head of Dave Lang looming above on PAX Sunday, that's all my doing. Apologies to @jadegl for having to sit next to this head of human garbage. That big, dumb head got a hell of a lot of attention, but being the only giant head in attendance, I guess I should have expected that.
Even John Drake took a selfie with myself and the head! That reminds me, I need to get that picture from him.
Anyway, the head served its purpose delighting a handful of people and disgusting hundreds of others. So what to do with the head Jeff called "a fucking nightmare." Well, I gave it a good home in the end.
Something disturbing has befallen the Iron Galaxy booth. pic.twitter.com/qTr0bhYuZl— PatBaer (@patbaer) March 8, 2015
I guess it was better than my first suggestion.
I think I found a suitable home for this thing. pic.twitter.com/4UBvtQfw7Q— Gil (@TheDalaiLlama) March 8, 2015
Sadly, the whereabouts of the massive piece of cardboard are unknown to me. Perhaps Lang placed it on the ceiling of his bedroom or it's making @epicsteve reconsider his employment situation. Wherever it is, I'm glad to see that hunk of cardboard bring so much joy and bewilderment to the PAXAMANIA fans, even though the appearance of Swery and Sharapova was way more impactful and cooler.
The PAX weird.
Let's face it, parts of PAX are strange. I've seen businessmen and women coexisting with nerds in the Westin hotel lobby. I've seen the same guy cosplaying as Waluigi last year... cosplaying as Waluigi. I had a walking plant run into me from behind. I witnessed shitty singing at the Hard Rock Cafe and @Trace reacting in horror to said singers. I saw Cyclops StreetPassing. And this.
Don't change a thing. Can't have everybody walking around in normal shit like me.
The PAX conclusion.
All things must come to an end, including this blog. It sounds cliche, but these memories will stick with me for a long time. Getting to share a room with @aurahack, @chaser324, and @smashecontrollers was a blast. Getting to share a hug with @sparklykiss is always welcome. Even getting to talk about games to complete strangers is nice. I love having to opportunity to chat with the likes of Brad and Vinny and the Will Smith family clan. I still end up with some regrets. There were games I never got a chance to try. I didn't get to explore Boston much this year, but the snow can be a hindrance. I really wish I had working Nintendo 64 controllers because while my N64 and WWF Wrestlemania 2000 worked on the hotel TV, my controllers have seen better days. Regardless of those minor problems, PAX East was a huge success. Recommend it to your friends and coworkers.