By the Numbers: StreetPAXin Prime 2013

PAX Prime 2013 was the sixth PAX since the advent of the 3DS and StreetPassing (counting PAX Australia 2013). And this is fifth edition of StreetPAXin; a term invented by @wafflestomp. Going into this year's PAX Prime, I wasn't sure what I was going to do about StreetPassing because the new games in StreetPass Mii Plaza take quite a long time to play. Luckily, I had already finished Find Mii completely (all hats), so I had no reason to fool with that game anymore. What I finally decided to do was put a priority on getting the rest of the puzzle pieces first, then just shuffle people through my gate whenever possible, and only play the other games when in a long line or in the morning before leaving the hotel. It worked out pretty well.

Before we get to the stats, here's some recognizable people I crossed paths with in Seattle.

The one. The only. Will Smith.
The legend. Drew Scanlon.
This may look like Vinny, but I'm pretty sure this came from Alex's 3DS during the moderator dinner.
Microsoft's Eric "The Vowel" Neustadter. Playing that DKC. What a shill.'s Alexa Ray Corriea
Writer of stuff. Power disc aficionado. Alex Rubens.

Break It Down

StreetPass data carries several facts about each player. These include gender, last played game, nationality, whether they prefer cats or dogs, how many people they've ever StreetPassed, and a few other things as well. So let's take a look at this year's PAX Prime.

This gender statistic is pretty interesting. Why? Well, at PAX East 2012 it was only 15.1%. At PAX Prime 2012, it was up to 17.4%. And, at this year's PAX East, it was up to 20.5%. This shows a steady increase of women coming to PAX (or at least an increase in women carrying a 3DS, I guess).

Men - Dogs vs CatsAll of PAX - Dogs vs CatsWomen - Dogs vs Cats

The notion that guys like dogs and girls like cats has held true every time I've compiled this data. This was the closest the overall total has ever been though. Can cats finally win next year?

Where You From?

Unsurprisingly, the most common location was the state of Washington. I didn't run into as many international (not including Canada) PAX attendees as I have in the past, but there's a pretty good mix still. I must also mention that through five PAX's, I've still never met anyone from Wyoming.

United States of America

Alabama20.37% Montana20.37%
Alaska81.49% Nebraska40.75%
Arizona20.37% Nevada00.00%
Arkansas00.00% New Hampshire10.19%
California7413.81% New Jersey50.93%
Colorado91.68% New Mexico10.19%
Connecticut10.19% New York61.12%
Delaware00.00% North Carolina30.56%
District of Columbia00.00% North Dakota00.00%
Florida40.75% Ohio20.37%
Georgia61.12% Oklahoma20.37%
Hawaii30.56% Oregon315.78%
Idaho20.37% Pennsylvania40.75%
Illinois61.12% Puerto Rico00.00%
Indiana20.37% Rhode Island10.19%
Iowa10.19% South Carolina10.19%
Kansas10.19% South Dakota10.19%
Kentucky00.00% Tennessee30.56%
Louisiana00.00% Texas142.61%
Maine00.00% Utah61.12%
Maryland30.56% Vermont00.00%
Massachusetts91.68% Virginia40.75%
Michigan61.12% Washington19636.57%
Minnesota71.31% West Virginia00.00%
Mississippi00.00% Wisconsin40.75%
Missouri00.00% Wyoming00.00%
USA (no state listed)101.87%

Canada / International

Alberta162.99% Finland (Uusimaa/Nyland)10.19%
British Columbia509.33% Ireland (Dublin)10.19%
Manitoba20.37% Mexico (Sinaloa)10.19%
New Brunswick00.00% Sweden (Västra Götaland)10.19%
Newfoundland00.00% United Kingdom (England)20.37%
Northwest Territories00.00%
Nova Scotia20.37%
Prince Edward Island00.00%
Canada (no province)20.37%
TOTAL8315.49% TOTAL6

Fuck Tom Nook. Right?

If you guessed that most people at PAX would be playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you would be right. But would you have thought that 25% of them would be? Probably not, because that's crazy. Fire Emblem: Awakening was the top game at PAX East 2013, and that was only 13%. Also, god damn, Mario Kart.

GameCount% AppCount%
Animal Crossing: New Leaf13425.00% System Settings407.46%
Fire Emblem Awakening264.85% Mii Maker325.97%
Mario Kart 7213.92% Nintendo Zone Viewer193.54%
Shin Megami Tensei IV213.92% Nintendo eShop183.36%
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team142.61% Swapnote122.24%
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate132.43% Download Play81.49%
Super Mario 3D Land101.87% Activity Log61.12%
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon91.68% Nintendo 3DS Camera61.12%
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan50.93% Nintendo Video20.37%
Pokémon Black Version 250.93% Pokédex 3D10.19%

PAX Prime 2013 in 100 Words (or thereabouts)

Presented in (mostly) chronological order without explanation or context and posted from the sky somewhere over the Midwest:

  • Card Still Works
  • Lost Shuttle
  • NSA Helicopter
  • Bigger Blacker Awesomer Box
  • MMO Prognostications
  • 10 Flawless Years
  • Beers at 520ft
  • Grillin' with Rorie
  • Hand Forged Doughnuts
  • Bathing in Diet Coke
  • Truly the Age of Dragons
  • Photographic Documentarianism
  • Pre-Panel Brewin'
  • Rasslin' Talk with Alex
  • Über Lang Zone
  • Emotional Ovation
  • Raining Toys and Money
  • Executive Beatboxing
  • Uncomfortable Twerking
  • Indie Megaboothin'
  • C-c-c-c-combo Breakin'
  • Assorted Racing of Vehicles
  • Kraken Run
  • Taswell Tribute
  • Slide Whistle During Nagasaki
  • Ordering Pizza for 500 People
  • Doughnut Quest II
  • Titanfall Rejects
  • Fraud Detections
  • Trigger Rumbles
  • OMG Titanfall You Guys, Fuck
  • Mr. John's Pt.3
  • Santa Vignocchi
  • Knackin' It Up
  • 6 Dudes, 1 Car
  • Spinnin' the Valve
  • Sentient Sentries
  • Chinese Ending

Marino's PAX Guide v3.5

Welcome Home.

It's that time again. Time to update my PAX guide and hopefully give some help to those of you who are heading out to Seattle. While the information you will see below is most helpful for first-timers, I believe parts of it can still help even the most seasoned of PAX veterans. If you've read my previous guides, you won't find a ton of new info here, admittedly. Together, I think we've mostly perfected this thing over the last couple years. But, if you're new to the guide, let me share my resumé to help explain why I know what I'm talking about.

Atlanta 19972008 (Seattle)
Atlanta 19982009 (Seattle)
Los Angeles 1999East 2010 (Boston)
Los Angeles 2000Prime 2010 (Seattle)
Los Angeles 2001East 2011 (Boston)
Los Angeles 2002Prime 2011 (Seattle)
Los Angeles 2003East 2012 (Boston)
Los Angeles 2004Prime 2012 (Seattle)
Los Angeles 2005East 2013 (Boston)
Los Angeles 2006

PAX Prime 2013 is the tenth annual PAX Prime, and it will also be my tenth PAX. I have quite a bit of experience in attending gaming conventions, so let me help you figure out how to make the most of your time available and how to survive on minimal sleep for a long weekend. If any other vets have tips to add, make sure post them below.

Wheaton's Law: Don't Be a Dick

PAX East 2010 Keynote

I once wrote a blog about what I called The PAX Vibe. In it, I tried to describe the most indelible thing about PAX. The experience is as though you've come to some sort of reunion with tens of thousands friends you never knew you had. Whether it's an attendee, enforcer, exhibitor, panelist, or D-list Internet celebrity, virtually everyone has a permanent smile affixed to their face for three days. Wil Wheaton, said it best...

All of the things that make us weird and strange in the real world.

Those things that people tease us for loving.

Those things that we seem to care about more than anyone else at work and school.

Those things make us who we are.

And when we are at PAX, we don’t have to hide them, or explain them, or justify them to anyone.

We have come here this weekend because just playing games isn’t nearly as fun as playing them together, surrounded by thousands of people who love them just as much as we do.

Who to Follow

Robert Khoo

Twitter can be a life saver during PAX. Not just for organizing stuff with your friends, but also keeping up with what's going on throughout the show. Make sure you follow these Twitter accounts before you get there.

  • @official_pax - All news, updates, changes.
  • @pax_lines - Keep track of panel lines as they fill up to max capacity.
  • @rkhoo - The man.
  • @pax_tourney - What tournaments are going on and where?
  • @paxparties (unofficial) - Parties, meet-ups, tweet-ups, tabletop all-nighters, and bar crawls.

Navigating Nirvanaville

Before it was destroyed in inFamous.

Seattle is one of my favorite cities. From downtown (near the convention center), you can walk to pretty much anything you could possibly want. If you're flying into Seattle (SeaTac) and your hotel is anywhere in the downtown area, do not rent a car. A few years ago, they finished construction of the LightRail, which will take you from the airport to the heart of Seattle. It's a little slow (45 minutes maybe), but it only costs about $3.00. Once you're downtown, it's all just walking. The convention center, most of the hotels, GameWorks, Top Pot Doughnuts, Shorty's, and everything at the famous Pike Place Market are all quite close by. Even if you want to do the tourist thing and see the Space Needle, which you totally should at least once, you can walk to the Westlake Center (a mall about four blocks from the convention center) and take a monorail straight to it. If you go out there, check out the SciFi & Music museum. It's a weird combination but it's got a bunch of cool stuff. Also, Dick's has amazing burgers. If you need help finding it, the great Ryan Davis once said "Just Google 'dicks.'" Safe search off.

Personal Hygiene

PAX 2008: These bean bags, while comfortable, are petri dishes for horror.

First of all, for the sake of everyone at the show, please shower. Yes, every day. And use deoderant. It's not difficult. You're going to be doing more walking than you're probably used to doing. Aside from that, why is this so high on the list of tips? Well, after PAX Prime 2010, there was a confirmed case of H1N1 on my flight home. So, use the hand sanitizer whenever you can. There are generally dispensers set up all around the convention center and especially right outside the bathrooms. Or better yet, bring your own. You're going to be touching controllers that have been touched by people of varying degrees of sickness from all over the world. Be smart, and don't spend the week after PAX in misery.

Enforcers Are Awesome

Utilikilts are discouraged, yet common.

The Enforcers are the incredible army of blue shirts that volunteer their time in order to make sure that PAX is an enjoyable experience for everyone. Can't find the right panel room? Look for a blue shirt. Need medical attention after experiencing the Mega64 panel? Look for a blue shirt. Can't figure out where Dave Lang is dishing out Divekick fraud stamps? Look for a blue shirt. These guys and girls are stationed everywhere. If they ask you to do something, listen up. Respect them. Appreciate them. Buy them cookies.

Do Your Homework

PAX Prime 2011 Entrance

The schedule is available right now online, but you should really download the app. It's called Guidebook, and it's the best. Either way you choose, skim through it, look at the presenters of every panel, and make a rough draft of what you'd like to see. Compare with your friends, look for overlaps, and start the excruciating process of deciding how to cut the least awesome things from your to-do list.

Planning ahead is a must. If you walk into Seattle completely unprepared, you're going to either be a deer in headlights or a wandering madman. It's overwhelming. The key to planning ahead is to be flexible. Inevitably something will come up and you'll want to rearrange your plans. I'm going to tell you right now that you're simply not going to be able to do everything you want to do/see. Don't stress out about it. Stick to your plan as best you can, but have fun above all else.

Rhythm-Based Entertainment

PAX Prime 2012: Jonathan Coulton

A common misconception is that PAX is just like E3 in terms of being a giant expo hall of developers and publishers demoing their games. While that is a big part of PAX, there's so much more. The expo hall closes at 6 PM each day anyway, and the party certainly doesn't shut down at six. The concerts are an excellent way to spend your evening, whether you know the artists or not.

This year's line-up includes Adam Warrock, Bit Brigade, The Doubleclicks, Hideo, MC Frontalot, Megaran, Protomen, Super Giant Bros., and Supercommuter. Aside from Frontalot and Protomen, this is an entirely new crop of talent. So, this should be an interesting year especially considering that there are three nights of music this year.

The Omegathon: Final Round

PAX Prime 2012: Omegathon Finals - Trials Evolution

The Omegathon is a four day tournament between attendees that were randomly selected weeks ahead of time by Penny Arcade's staff. You'll see that each round is on the schedule if you want to see a particular game they're playing, but the important one is the final round. The final round's game is always kept a closely guarded secret until just moments before the contestants are set to play it. Have you ever imagined being in the crowd for the final showdown in The Wizard? Well, this is it. Literally thousands of people cheering for a few of their peers as they battle head-to-head in Pong, Contra, Skeeball, Ikaruga, or whatever they come up with this year. It can't be weirder than Crokinole, right? Right?!

And it's all hosted by Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade. This is the perfect closing ceremony, and you should be there to experience it.

Hurry Up and Wait

PAX 2009: Queue Room

As the years have gone by, attendance at PAX has only increased. To be honest, it has outgrown the Washington State Convention Center, but that's not a problem we can solve this year. You will inevitably be waiting in line for many things you intend to see and do. I've waited over an hour to see/play things like Dragon Age II, Mass Effect 3, Skate 3, The Last of Us, and others at E3. On the most popular panels (i.e. the Keynote, Giant Bomb, Mega64, Gearbox, and anything associated with Penny Arcade), you should arrive at least an hour ahead to guarantee yourself a good seat.

So, be prepared. Bring your 3DS, Vita, Game Boy micro, or whatever it is you like. If you're a 3DS fan, you will get literally hundreds of StreetPasses over the weekend. And regardless of your handheld gaming option of choice, you'll likely never find a better place in the world to jump into random multiplayer games. I once used Pictochat on my DS to solicit people to come play me in Hot Shots Golf on PSP...and it worked!

Do yourself a favor and avoid the line waiting for a while and check out all the indie games at the show, because that's some of the best stuff you'll find at PAX. The IndieMegaBooth has become an awesome place to just wander aimlessly and play stuff. If you see a game that has no line, PLAY IT! I don't care what it is. I played a game at PAX East 2013 about catching hamsters with a trampoline.

Backpacking Through the Pacific Northwest

PAX Prime 2010 SWAG

Many convention rookies make a mistake as soon as they leave their house. You simply must have a backpack of some kind. If you show up to PAX empty-handed, you'll be hurting and feeling like an idiot by 2 PM. Some think you can just pick up one of those big, fold-out, paper bags from a booth, but there's no guarantee any booths are doing that. Plus, they're cumbersome, you'll be hitting people with it constantly as you squeeze through crowds, and you need to keep your hands free.

So, be smart. Bring your favorite backpack or messenger bag to throw all of your swag into. Your shoulders are going to be killing you by Monday, but it's your best option.

Expo Hall: It's a Trap!

PAX East 2012: @matt and @sweep gettin' sloppy in that f'n Pooyan.

The expo hall is where all the developers and publishers have booths set up to show off their upcoming games. You get to play stuff that's not out yet and typically talk to the people that are making them. It's awesome. But don't get stuck in there. Make sure to make your rounds through the convention center. Go upstairs and check out the PC Freeplay area. It's a massive farm of PC's unlike anything you've ever seen (unless you've been to QuakeCon). Hit up the Console Freeplay room and take your shot at some of the best fighting game players around. Think you're good enough? Enter one of the nearby tournaments (check the schedule). Need to take a break? Crash in the Handheld Lounge and rack up some StreetPasses and Near stuff. Head up to the Classic Console rooms for a bit and take a look at the massive library of gaming's past, pick out something you loved and play it with some people. And don't forget to hang out in the Classic Arcade for some fuckin' Pooyan. No quarters or tokens necessary, but please respect the cabinets. There's just so much more than just the expo hall that you need to see and do to get the full PAX experience.

The Dangers of SWAG: Don't Be That Guy

PAX 2009: I have never nor will I ever wear this shirt.

Free stuff is great. I know. But, just listen to me for a second. Don't spend the majority of your time trying to get inflatable swords, funny hats, and Gunnar Optiks t-shirts. You're going to get free stuff without trying. Not all of it, sure, but plenty. The vast majority of free stuff you get, you will eventually throw away or, if you're like me, going to pile into boxes in a closet. At PAX East 2010, there were people that waited well over an hour to play APB for 15 minutes and get a t-shirt. How do you think those people feel about that decision now? Just be smart, people.

Pack Light and Carry-On a Big Bag

PAX Prime 2012: Merch Area

For those of you flying to Seattle, you're likely going to pay at least $25 to check a bag on the plane, so you might as well get your money's worth. Even if you're only packing three Internet meme t-shirts and three sets of socks and underwear, bring a big suitcase. The extra space is going to be great for any swag you obtain as well as any stuff you end up buying inside or outside of PAX. At PAX 2009, I bought a 'Splosion Man statue from Twisted Pixel's booth. It came in a block of styrofoam, and I was still able to safely fit it into my luggage on the way home. At PAX Prime 2010, my friend @washa_endrya bought a fight stick from Capcom and was able to get it home easily as well.

Also, if you have one, bring a cardboard tube in your suitcase. You are likely to be handed posters at the show, and there's really no other way to get those home without folding or crushing them. One more tip from the experienced in packing for a con. Throw an empty trash bag in with your stuff. You can use that as a dirty laundry bag, which will allow you to quarantine your sweaty socks from all the cool stuff you accumulated at the show on your way home.

Do You Like Sleep? TOO BAD!

Seattle Night Life (circa 2008)

Sleep deprivation is a major side effect of the PAX experience. You can sleep on Tuesday or on your flight home. But, there are official and unofficial PAX events going on virtually 24 hours a day beginning Thursday night. The concerts typically go til at least 1 AM, and you're going to be in downtown Seattle, which has countless hot spots to hit. In the grand scheme of things, your time at PAX is very limited even if you can be there all three days. You may not realize this now or even during the show, but come Monday, you'll know what I'm talking about. So, if you get five hours of sleep, you're doing great. Make the most of the time you have.

Microsoft Space Bucks Don't Work Here

PAX 2008: Capcom Art by Request

If you've got a debit or credit card, you're mostly okay. Any food places in the area are going to take your card just fine (i.e. Jimmy John's and Top Pot Doughnuts…what else is there?). Most booths in the expo hall will take it as well when purchasing their wares. But, it may be a good idea to carry at least a little old-fashioned paper money. Cash can be good especially if you're going out to the bars at night. If you know you're going to need cash, there are several ATMs at the convention center, but you should hit them early because I've seen them run out of cash to dispense. And there's nothing worse than knowing you can afford that one of a kind Cammy drawing by Long Vo, but being unable to retrieve the funds to buy it.

Eat Something!

Maple baaaaaaaarrrrrrrrssssssss.

This may sound ridiculous at first, but once you're in the thick of PAX, you may forget to eat or drink. And considering that you normally don't walk around for 10-14 hours a day, you're going to need to hydrate. Many people throw a bottle in their bag that they can refill at water fountains. Stopping for 30 minutes to eat may not sound enticing depending on your schedule, but you've gotta. Luckily, downtown Seattle is a pretty great place to run out and get food. Just don't make the dumb mistake of standing in that hour-long line for the tiny Subway in the convention center. There's plenty of places within 5-10 minutes of walking distance. Otherwise, you could toss a few Clif bars in your bag and just eat on the go.

Don't Let PAX Ruin Your PAX

Who invited you?

This is something I've learned over the last few PAX's. Whether it's a Harmonix meet-up, a Pre-PAX board game night, the Pokémon pub crawl, or one of the countless other unofficial PAX festivities, make an effort to do stuff after show hours. Honestly, it doesn't even have to be PAX related. Chances are, if you head out to the bars and restaurants in downtown Seattle, you're going to run into other PAX goers. We generally take over the city.

What I'm getting at is that being in line at the Queue Room of the convention center at 8 AM (2 hours prior to show open) isn't worth missing out on the great stuff that's going on at night. Now, if there's a game that you HAVE to see and you know the line during the day is super long, go ahead and get to the convention center early one day and run for it when the doors open. But, just make sure you spend some time outside of the convention center and your hotel room.

It's All That You Can Do

Be yourself, but please don't throw chairs.

Be yourself, but also be open to meeting new people. I know your mom told you not to talk to strangers, but I'm telling you that's a bunch of crap. It's unlikely that you're ever going to be around more people like yourself than you will at PAX. Above everything else, including all the tips I've given you here, have fun. You're about to have an experience that you'll never forget.

Hopefully, I'll run into some of y'all there (or at least your Miis).


Hey, everybody! It's Shoesday.

Okay, look…I'm sorry. That was a terrible pun. But, here's the deal. A couple weeks ago, @wafflestomp shared the idea of creating some New Balance 574's in memory of Ryan. I thought that was a great idea, and I could use some new shoes for PAX Prime 2013 anyway, so I got to work trying to design some on their website. Later, I saw that Max Temkin (Cards Against Humanity) had made some all-white 574's in memory of Ryan and was also encouraging people to buy the same color scheme of the original "Baller Time" 574's. I didn't want to copy that exactly. I wanted to make something that Giant Bomb fans would easily recognize, but maybe not so obvious to "outsiders." And this is what I came up with.

China could not be reached for comment.

I never thought I'd own a pair of pink shoes, but here we are. I toyed around with the idea of doing the inverse of these (mostly pink), but decided I wasn't cool enough to pull it off even as a joke.

So, as Max said, it'd be pretty awesome if we had a bunch of people at PAX were rocking Ryan's favorite shoes. If you're interested, you can get some 574's for as low as $50 depending on the color. But, if you want to create your own, it'll run you about $140 or so. Here's some links to saved custom designs.


VHScapades: E3 2004

South Hall

The 10th annual E3 (E3 2004) is remembered for many reasons, but most will likely remember it for two reasons: kicking ass and making games. The debut of Reggie Fils-Aime as Nintendo's front man will live forever in the annals of gaming history. And the reaction to that Twilight Princess trailer that he introduced...crazy. Nintendo also debuted the DS here, and even though it was a clunky prototype model, its touch screen, built-in WiFi, and tech demos were a hit with show goers. I still can't believe Pac Pix became a retail game.

Keeping with the handheld theme of the show, Sony was going full-on guns blazing with PSP at their booth. They had a slew of potential launch titles like Twisted Metal: World Tour, Wipeout Pure, Metal Gear Ac!d, and some stuff that never even came out. The PS2 was still dominating the console market with the likes of God of War, Gran Turismo 4, and the third editions of Jak and Ratchet.

In 2004, for Microsoft, it was all about Halo 2. Inexplicably, though, it was not playable on the show floor except by appointment. In its stead, their booth was loaded with the likes of Fable, KOTOR 2, Doom 3, and a little racing game called Forza Motorsport.

Overall, E3 2004 was kind of a big deal. And then there was the Infinium Labs' Phantom console. But, let's just get to the videos, because there's a lot of them this time.

Entering West Hall on day two of E3 2004. Forgive me for being an idiot and having the time stamp turned on. Luckily, I realized it after the second video here and turned it off.


Ryan Davis Was a Hero

I've spent the last 24 hours in somewhat of a daze. In lieu of trying to put my own thoughts into words last night, I decided to spend my time reading everyone else's and filling up the Bomb Shelter page with blogs from some of our amazing community's all-stars. I don't know what else can be said at this point, so I'll try to keep this short. Others have more eloquently and accurately conveyed how much the man meant to this community, so I just wanted to talk about some of my personal favorite memories of Ryan. Yes, like many have pointed out, it does feel awkward to get so emotional about someone we didn't really know in the traditional sense. But, fuck it. There's no shame here. I don't pretend to have known the man personally, but I did have the chance to meet him a few times.

At PAX Prime 2010.

I first met Ryan at PAX Prime 2010. @heavyduty32 and I had recently sent a mailbag of frozen Chick-Fil-A to the Whiskey offices. So, when we saw him at The PAX 10 booth, we had to go say hello. He immediately lit up in that energetic, magnetic way we've all come to know and love. He was kind enough to sign my copy of Deadly Premonition and he was the one who suggested we should all get a picture together. Not just one, but a second featuring Ryan photobombing us.

Ryan proudly never played this game.

About seven months later, I was in Boston for PAX East 2011. At the GB meetup, Ryan recognized me as I was passing by the booth he was in. "Marino!," he said. Somewhat stunned that he knew my name, I stuck out my hand to say hello. Ryan grabbed it, squeezed hard, turned to another person at the booth and said, "This man sent us Chick-Fil-A sandwiches across the country." Then, he kissed my hand and said, "He is a hero." Later that night, we were about to leave so I stopped by his booth again to say thanks and goodnight. Even after all this, my social awkwardness led me to believe maybe I would just be bugging him at this point, so when I approached him, I said "Hey, I don't want to bother you too much but I just wanted to say th-." Ryan cut me off and basically shouted "Well, you're bothering me now!" He had a gift for cutting to the quick and then immediately making you laugh about it. No one was safe.

I got to talk to Ryan in person a few more times at various PAX events between then and now. He always addressed me by name (even if it wasn't my real name) and made me feel immediately comfortable to talk about just random shit with him. I feel lucky and privileged to have been able to do so. He truly brought joy to every room he was in and every person he spoke to. Ryan had a unique, honest-to-goodness, kindness about him and an infectious laugh that will be impossible to replace.

Ryan & TurboToaster at the PAX East 2011 meetup. (Photo by Matt Pascual)

Ryan Davis once told me I was a hero. No, sir. You were the hero.

Thanks for everything.


VHScapades: E3 2003

Oh, Infogrames. You tried so hard.

Alright, so E3 2001 was spectacular and E3 2002 was kind of a dud. Well, E3 2003 was somewhere in between. Sony had the big surprise with their announcement of the PlayStation Portable, and there were quite a few blockbuster games to be seen. The talk of the show for most people were actually three non-playable games; Halo 2, Half-Life 2, and Doom III. While those shooters were getting all the attention, there was also this little game at Activision's booth known as Call of Duty. Other highlights included the EyeToy for PS2, Project Ego, True Fantasy Live Online, Gran Turismo 4, sequels to Jak and Ratchet, Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand, Metroid: Zero Mission, Soul Calibur II, Resident Evil 4, Viewtiful Joe, SSX 3, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Final Fantasy X-2, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

8-player Double Dash is the whole f'n show!

I also got to watch Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio play Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. So, that pretty much stole the show.

If you get there early enough, you can basically stand on Figueroa and get some good shots. Here we are entering West Hall's lobby, then taking a 360º view of South Hall's lobby.

Starting this off with the show stopper. Here's the epic 9-minute gameplay footage of Halo 2 that Microsoft was showing in a theater at their booth. I don't think they wanted people filming this, but they never specifically said it, so I sat down in the front row and kept the camera at my side and somehow kept a good angle on the screen for (mostly) the entire time. Most of the videos I've seen of this don't include the introduction by Sergeant Johnson. So, get ready to dance, you pasty bastards!

After exiting the Halo 2 demo, I immediately ran into Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I'm pretty sure that's Greg Zeschuk guiding the demo, but I had no idea who he was at the time. Also featured in this video from Microsoft's booth are people playing True Crime: Streets of LA and Conker: Live & Uncut very poorly. Then there's trailers for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 and Sonic Heroes.

Here's the Doom 3 video that Activision was showing around their booth. I never got into the actual gameplay presentation because the line for that theater was insanely long. Also, there's a trailer for Tony Hawk's Underground featuring a lot of getting off the board nonsense.

Once again, Konami stopped show goers in their steps with a super lengthy Metal Gear Solid trailer. This time it was Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. And, as you'll see in the trailer, "this is no vice city."

Here's a short panoramic view of EA's massive booth followed by a deluge of trailers for stuff including:

And here's the other half of EA's video wall featuring all their sports games set to early 2000's pop music. You know, like the All American Rejects. Games featured here include:

Remember when someone thought making polygonal Castlevania games was a good idea? Oh...they're still trying to do that? Okay, carry on then. Just don't forget to call Zobek.


VHScapades: E3 2002

West Hall

Last week, I shared my VHS footage from one of the best E3's of all time; 2001. This week, it's time to check out the mostly forgettable E3 2002. There were no sexy new consoles or even handhelds to flaunt in 2002, so it was truly all about the games. More specifically, playing games online. Xbox Live was about to be launched, Sony was touting SOCOM and the PS2's official network adapter, and of course there were plenty of online games being featured for PC including the first looks at World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, Battlefield 1942, and Star Wars Galaxies. And there was this other game called Doom III that was getting a lot of attention at the Activision booth, but I don't think video was allowed til next year.

So, here's another dozen videos or so in glorious VHS-C definition. Keep in mind that one of the main reasons I was videoing this stuff was to play it my friends' Babbage's and Software Etc to boost reservations. It totally worked.

Coming into South Hall super early in the morning to get in line for the show. The thing I remember most about this is that they had set up a bag check station outside for the first time, which is why there's a cut in the video before I got inside. This was the first E3 after September 11th, so there was a bit more security than in years passed.

The famous Electronic Arts video wall. This video isn't very exciting, but it was an easy way to get trailers into the store for pre-orders. You have to remember that there was no "GameStop TV" crap in the stores back then. The company would sometimes send video tapes for the store to put on loop, but we just replaced it with these each year. Game trailers in this video include:

Continuing with EA, here's a bunch of sports games featuring a distinct lack of SSX. What was I even doing? Games that are featured include:

Here's a game that doesn't exist and one that we wish never did. Historically, Eidos' booth was always packed with people, but not because of games. It was primarily because of the models they hired to throw t-shirts and the infamous Lara Croft models. Nothing says 2002 like a Fear Effect 3 trailer set to Linkin Park.

By this point, the "Metal Gear Trailer" had become a tradition in the Konami booth. Here's what MGS2 Substance from the show floor.

Microsoft's booth was always kinda weird around this time. It was kinda like even they weren't too sure this whole Xbox thing was gonna work as there were big sections of their booth still dedicated to PC games (like the Ensemble Studios area at the beginning of this video). Within a couple years, the PC area of their booth became dwarfed by Xbox. Any mention of Halo 2 would have to wait til next year. Games included in this video are:

Around this time, I was still a die-hard EverQuest player, but I wasn't beyond looking for something new. At the time, Shadowbane seemed like it could be pretty cool and the demo I got at the Ubisoft (yes, Ubisoft published an MMO) was quite good. I wonder if @andy was there...

We all know movie games typically suck. But, Two Towers was actually alright if you ask me. EA also had a bunch of movie props in glass cases around the booth. Lord of the Rings was kind of a big deal at the time, you know.

For several years, LucasArts never had an actual booth at the show. Their only presence was always this big video wall in the lobby area of West Hall. Here's a look at Clone Wars and Galaxies.

Sony had a cool booth that featured a lot of glass. In a world that was still populated by big-ass CRT monitors, seeing games projected onto a pane of glass was kinda neat. They also had a bunch of games to show I guess including the debut of a couple mascots. Non-glass things to see at Sony's booth included:

After having a closed booth at E3 2001, Sega was back in 2002 after basically abandoning the Dreamcast in favor of developing their games for everyone. Seeing the 2K games running on PS2 was super weird.

Nintendo didn't seem to be on the online bandwagon with everyone else (big surprise), but no one seemed to care after they played Metroid Prime and Wind Waker. They probably weren't saying great things about WrestleMania X8 though. Super Mario Sunshine was also a focal point of the booth. History would not be so kind to that game.

This was a weird time for Capcom I think. It was before Resident Evil 4 and way before Street Fighter would make a comeback. And after flooring everyone with Devil May Cry, the sequel they brought in 2002 didn't fair as well. Games included in this video are:

To get into SOE's booth, you either had to have an appointment or you had to find a post card in a copy of the E3 daily newspapers. The backs of the postcards had either "ACCESS GRANTED" or "ACCESS DENIED" printed on the back, but it could only be read under a black light. A friend of mine and I raided a stack of the newspapers and ended up getting about a dozen of them. We each went once a day and gave the rest to friends. They were showing the next EverQuest expansion, The Planes of Power. But, they were also showing the Star Wars Galaxies character creator (no video was allowed) and the first ever look at EverQuest II. There's even a part in the EQ2 demo where he starts to talk about a city of Marr, which never actually ended up in the game.



VHScapades: E3 2001

E3 2001 - West Hall

E3 2013 is over and it was definitely one for the history books. If you've read any of my PAX guides, you probably know that I've been to my fair share of Electronic Threes. For ten straight years (1997-2006), I went to E3 mostly thanks to PlayStation Underground. I've posted some time capsule blogs that I wrote during those shows in the past, but, about a year ago, I bought a relatively cheap capture device so that I could digitize all the VHS tapes I have from E3's past. The footage was originally to use on the TV the Babbage's and Software Etc's that my friends worked at (and later I worked at). It definitely helped boost pre-orders. I uploaded them to YouTube a while ago, but I never formally shared them here, and I think some people may find it interesting. I have tapes from 2001-2005, all in glorious VHS-C quality.

So, here's what I have from E3 2001. It was a big year for E3 since the PlayStation 2 had just come out a few months before, Nintendo was unveiling the GameCube, and Microsoft was joining the fray with the Xbox.

This is super early on Day 3 walking into the lobby of South Hall. Traditionally, South Hall was home to most of the big third party developers like EA, Konami, Ubisoft, and...Acclaim.

At the beginning of this video, I'm taping the big screen in Nintendo's booth while I wait in line to play a wheel of fortune type thing in Nintendo's booth. They had an animatronic Mario/Wario there with Charles Martinet behind a wall doing the voice. Each round, about 12 people could sit at the spinning table, introduce themselves to Wario by telling him where you were from, and then one of Nintendo's classic hired ladies would spin it around. Whatever prizes stopped in front of your seat, you got to keep. There were foam GameCubes, foam GBAs, GBA cases, and other swag. The catch was that one person per spin would win an actual Game Boy Advance, which wasn't out in America yet. Well, I won. I was actually wearing a PlayStation shirt at the time and Wario tried to convince them not to give it to me.

Man...2001 was a pretty great year. Sony's booth was full of to-be-classic games. You Kinetica! Sony had this big ass sphere video thing at the front of their booth that kind of mesmerized me every time I walked by it.

Tecmo and THQ always seemed to get booths in West Hall near the Sony and Nintendo booths. So, I crammed them together in one video. Tecmo was notorious for not really having anything to play and just showing videos of stuff. And women. They always had women.

EA almost always had a giant video wall looping all their trailers. Over the years, it got more and more elaborate until E3 2006 where the floor felt like it was a speaker. So, here's a bunch of stuff they were showing. Get TRICKY!

So, this was the second year that Konami presented a super long trailer for Metal Gear Solid 2. And while it wasn't as shocking as that fabled E3 2000 video, it was still jaw-dropping in its own regard. MGS2 finally launched about six months later.

And here's Microsoft with all the heavy hitters they could muster prior to the launch of their first console. I remember playing Halo and thinking it was nothing special. Bungie got a lot done in those six months prior to launch, because you can clearly see in this video that the framerate was terrible. I also got some footage of Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee in here.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 was (and is) a pretty big deal. Activision even had a full-sized halfpipe set up in their booth where Bucky Lasek, Mat Hoffman, and the Birdman himself would run skate/BMX demos a couple times a day. Return to Castle Wolfenstein was a big draw as well believe it or not. That flamethrower!

Devil May Cry was one of the biggest games of E3 2001. Uppercutting fools with a sword then juggling them with bullets just felt so good.

This footage was mostly for myself and my guild. At the time, the Shadows of Luclin expansion was about to become a big deal. Partly for reasons SOE intended, and partly for reasons they did not. The new graphics engine was beautiful (even if the character model animations were worse), but this expansion also marked the end of an era as several of the people that had been on the EQ team from the start, most notably Brad McQuaid, were about to leave the company. When the expansion finally released in December 2001, many of the zones were not finished (and never would be).

On a side note, the SOE employee playing the demo was wearing a Star Wars Galaxies shirt and refused to say anything about it.

This is near the end of Day 3 where I just ran around West Hall grabbing some panoramic shots of the show floor. I still do this today when I go to places like PAX. I have some weird infatuation with trying to document what it was like to be there.

And that was E3.

I'll post some stuff 2002 later on. Hopefully someone out there will enjoy taking a look back in time.


By the Numbers: StreetPAXin East 2013

Your Green Light is On

A couple of brand-new 3DS owners.

PAX East 2013 was the fourth PAX since the advent of StreetPassing. Honestly, I didn't pay quite as much attention to it this year, only milking those Miis for puzzle pieces whenever I had down time in a line or something. But, even so, I still ended up with over 400 StreetPasses and finished all the puzzles including the Luigi's Mansion one that got released sometime Friday night. Even after four PAX's and over 1800 Miis, I'm still missing seven hats in Find Mii. And, I've come to the conclusion that absolutely no one lives in Wyoming.

I wasn't sure if I was even going to do a blog like this again, but then my flight home got delayed over four hours, and I just decided to try and get all the raw data into a spreadsheet while I waited. So, let's look at some dumb numbers.

It's Raining Cats & Dogs

Aside from being able to tell if a Mii is male or female, StreetPass also reveals some info about the person (assuming they provide it in their profile), and one of those stats is if the person prefers cats or dogs more. So, here's a breakdown of the gender population at PAX along with what type of pets they prefer.

The female population is up from 17% at PAX Prime 2012 and up even more from the 15% at PAX East 2012. At this rate, PAX East 2029 will be all women!
Male - Dogs vs CatsAll of PAX - Dogs vs CatsFemale - Dogs vs Cats

The notion that men like dogs and women like cats has held true every time I've done this.


As you would expect, Massachusetts had the biggest turnout of any region. But, aside from Connecticut, almost no one else came from New England. More people came from Japan than Maine.

United States of America

StateCount% StateCount%
Alabama10.23% Montana00.00%
Alaska00.00% Nebraska10.23%
Arizona00.00% Nevada00.00%
Arkansas00.00% New Hampshire153.45%
California102.30% New Jersey296.67%
Colorado10.23% New Mexico00.00%
Connecticut184.14% New York5412.41%
Delaware10.23% North Carolina71.61%
District of Columbia00.00% North Dakota00.00%
Florida112.53% Ohio51.15%
Georgia132.99% Oklahoma10.23%
Hawaii10.23% Oregon00.00%
Idaho00.00% Pennsylvania194.37%
Illinois81.84% Puerto Rico00.00%
Indiana30.69% Rhode Island61.38%
Iowa10.23% South Carolina20.46%
Kansas20.46% South Dakota00.00%
Kentucky30.69% Tennessee10.23%
Louisiana20.46% Texas20.46%
Maine20.46% Utah00.00%
Maryland235.29% Vermont20.46%
Massachusetts9822.53% Virginia255.75%
Michigan61.38% Washington92.07%
Minnesota30.69% West Virginia10.23%
Mississippi20.46% Wisconsin20.46%
Missouri10.23% Wyoming00.00%
USA (no state listed)92.07%

Canada / International

ProvinceCount% CountryCount%
Alberta51.15% Australia (Queensland)10.23%
British Columbia10.23% Japan (Unknown Prefecture)10.23%
Manitoba00.00% Japan (Miyazaki)10.23%
New Brunswick20.46% Japan (Niigata)10.23%
Newfoundland00.00% United Kingdom10.23%
Northwest Territories00.00% United Kingdom (England)20.46%
Nunavut00.00% United Kingdom (Scotland)10.23%
Nova Scotia20.46%
Prince Edward Island10.23%
Canada (Unknown Province)16.21%
TOTAL276.21% .81.84%

Last Played

StreetPassing with someone will also reveal the last thing that person has played. This includes not just games, but also any apps on the system. Here are the top ten most popular games and apps at PAX East 2013. Keep in mind that Luigi's Mansion didn't even come out til Sunday. Nintendo was selling it on Saturday at their booth, but it's still kind of impressive that it got up to #3 on the list.

GameCount% AppCount%
Fire Emblem: Awakening5713.10% System Settings5011.49%
Mario Kart 7276.21% Mii Maker286.44%
Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon132.99% Swapnote153.45%
New Super Mario Bros. 2122.76% Nintendo eShop143.22%
Pokémon White Version 2122.76% Activity Log81.84%
Etrian Odyssey IV112.53% Nintendo Zone Viewer81.84%
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate112.53% Nintendo 3DS Camera61.38%
Super Mario 3D Land102.30% Nintendo Video30.69%
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D102.30% Pokédex 3D30.69%
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy102.30% Download Play30.69%