Hailinel's Magical PAX Prime 2013 Adventure: Day 1

Oh, wow, I'm exhausted. Day 1 of PAX Prime 2013 was an early one for me. I arrived in downtown Seattle early enough to meet a friend and head for the queue room at 8:00. Why would we go there so early when the show doesn't start until 10:00? Because StreetPassing. StreetPassing every which way but loose. (Except without Clint Eastwood or a primate.) And like every PAX since the introduction of the 3DS, there was not shortage of StreetPasses to be had. Even passed with a number of people from last year's PAX. Pretty awesome.

Square Enix: Round One (?)

Though honestly, I didn't see much in the way of games today. Our first stop was the Square Enix booth. I briefly tried Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut on the Wii U, and it looks really good. I sucked at the demo because trying to get used to the controls in the heat of the moment on a show floor when stealth is the most preferable course of action is, well, kind of hard. (I had the same issue with Hitman: Absolution last year.)

One of my friends, who is a Kingdom Hearts fiend, tried the KH 1.5 demo, and she really enjoyed it. We also admired the new pretty graphics in Final Fantasy X HD, though we didn't play it. I want to try Lightning Returns, but didn't have the opportunity. That's something I intend to correct before the end of Monday.

Prepare for the Carnival of Pain

Otherwise, it was a lot of wandering around the show floor and getting our bearings on things. We stopped briefly at the various Nintendo areas (they have demos on three floors this year), and had a chance to play Summer Carnival '92: Recca. For those that don't know what this is, it's a Famicom game that was developed for a special event and was, to my knowledge, never released in any commercial capacity. It pushes the Famciom hardware to the absolute limit with the number of enemies on screen without slowdown, and it is hard. Balls hard. And awesome. The Nintendo rep at the station said that it should be coming out on the 3DS VC in the near future. Consider that a purchase. Just wow.

Maybe Later?

PlayStation and Xbox One, I didn't even attempt to visit today. I doubt I'll check out any of the Xbox One exhibits; I don't have enough interest in what Microsoft is cooking to spend time in line to see it. But PlayStation on the other hand should have some good stuff (hopefully better than the bland as hell PlayStation All-Stars demo they had last year).

The Indie section and PAX 10 are on the sixth floor of the convention center this year. We got there just as the expo hall was preparing to close for the night, however, so a greater tour of the area will have to wait. Should be fun!

Panel Time!

The one panel I went to today related to the history of Seattle's involvement in the video game industry. It was a pretty interesting talk, actually. The panelists talked about how Nintendo and Microsoft played roles (in addition to other companies) in shaping Seattle into a game development hub in the Pacific northwest. It was very much worth our time.

Geoff Keighley Would Be Proud

The most absurd thing about PAX this year is easily a contest being held as part of a sponsorship between Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Twitch TV. While we were in the queue room waiting for the doors to open, some Twitch TV personality got on the mic and SHOUTED REAL LOUD about the contest, while managing to somehow mention Doritos and Mountain Dew every fifteen seconds. What is this contest? Well, people can find and scan QR codes scattered about PAX and scan them to score points. After accumulating a certain number of points by a particular time, they become eligible to win not an Xbox One, but the opportunity to bid on an Xbox One. So the prize is the chance to compete for a console that you still have to pay for at a potentially higher price than what it actually sells for and you might not even win.


All hail!


Day one also saw me spend a lot of cash on stuff and things. Nintendo has a store booth this year where you can buy, among other things, 3DS games, Wii Us, 3DSes, and (two weeks early) The Wonderful 101. I bought myself a copy of Wonderful 101, and then proceeded to spend more at the booth for the retro game shop Pink Gorilla, coming away with:

My wallet wept and it was barely after noon. And then I bought a commissioned sketch from an artist at the Udon booth of a character I like a lot.

Some people go on vacations to exotic locales around the globe. I take the bus to a video game convention downtown and buy video games and things related to video games. Though I don't think I'll buy any furniture this year.

Tomorrow, I hope to get more into game demos and perhaps take in more panels. (And probably end up hauling home yet more swag). What else awaits, only time will tell. Hopefully I'll still be cognizant enough to write about it when I get home. (I am going to crash now, thanks.)

Posted by Wolfgame

Fun read and sounds like you are having a blast, hope tomorrow is just as entertaining for ya :-)

Posted by Turambar

That contest sounds like the most amazing and also terrible thing ever.

Edited by Itwongo

I heard you bid with the points you got from scanning the qr codes, not actual money.

Posted by Hailinel

@itwongo said:

You bet with the points you got from scanning the qr codes, not actual money.

Ah, well that makes more sense. Still incredibly stupid, though.

Posted by GrantHeaslip

That Doritos/Mountain Dew thing sounds ridiculously dumb. I may be thinking too highly of the PAX crowd, but aren't they generally the sort who would be mercilessly mocking that kind of thing? Are they that tone-deaf, or are there really enough suckers to justify the whole exercise?

That sketch is amazing for being on-the-spot. I'm so terrible at anything artistic that I can't even begin to imagine how one does that.

I'm curious what you think of Lightning Returns. I'm invested enough in the FFXIII series that I'm definitely going to play it, but I hope they realized what was wrong with XIII-2. I'm enjoying XIII-2's story more as it gets closer to wrapping up, but there are aspects of its core gameplay design and balancing that are, from my perspective, pretty sloppy. From the sounds of it, it's tighter in scope and has had a much longer development cycle -- both of which I assume will help.

Posted by Aetheldod

@hailinel: Just dont forget the pics when you set up that sweet Meryl action figure :D

Posted by Sergio

I so far have had no interest in the Xbox One, which caused me to behave the opposite of you. I checked out some of Microsoft's demos to give them a chance to win me over. I'm already committed to getting a PS4, so I wasn't going to wait in line to play inFamous: Second Son, since I know I'll be buying it anyway.

The games look beautiful on the Xbox One, but that can be said of any of the games coming out for either Xbox One and PS4.

The first Xbox One game I tried was Loco Cycle, and I admit I have zero interest in the game going into and coming out of the demo. I was mostly there because it was a shorter line than the other Xbox One demos and I wanted to check out the controller after I had checked out the PS4 controller the day before. Both controllers have the raised ring on the analog sticks, but the Xbox One's felt a little uncomfortable to me. I'll need to see a side-by-side comparison, but I think the Xbox One controller might be smaller than the 360 controller, because my hand started feeling cramped, as if I was using a PS3 controller for an extended period of time. I don't want to say it's a terrible controller, it's perfectly serviceable, but personally, I feel that Sony made improvements to their controller, while Microsoft made their's worse.

I'm not really into Forza, but I wanted to check out what the hoopla was about the rumble in the triggers. Big fat meh. I didn't want to be a complete jerk to the guy manning the booth when he asked me what I thought, so I mentioned that I couldn't feel the rumble in the triggers, and I was braking, accelerating, driving on the rumble strips, anything to try to get some feedback, but I was barely getting anything. He said it was mostly at the starting line, but my friend came back feeling as if they turned it off for the demos, since he didn't feel it at the starting line either.

The last game I tried was Ryse: Son of Rome. The graphics look good. That's the best compliment I can give it. I feel that the demo they brought was a terrible choice that made it look like a gladiator Gears of War co-op brawler without any of the finesse of God of War, Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, or any other game in that genre. My character did lock up a couple of times, and I noticed some people before me having problems with some of the controls when a particular moment came up in the demo.

I don't care about Kinect, so I didn't check out Fantasia. I didn't check out Titanfall because it had a perpetually capped line with a 2-hour wait. I had also heard it was being demoed with a 360 controller, so they might have been demoing the PC version for all I know.

Honestly, I enjoyed PS3/Vita demos of Tearaway, Rain, and Puppeteer more than either of these.