I’m back in the real world now. While that sucks, I still have the memories of the amazing times I had at PAX East in Boston this year. I figured the best thing I could do is share some of the awesome times I had, much like NikMonroe did. Though I’m not British, so there will be a severe lack of words like Queue or Bollocks. Sorry in advance for that. That said, here is my life on Thursday and Friday, the lead up to, and the first day of the very first PAX East
Thursday was the drive up day. I woke up at 8:00 and got ready for my day of classes, with the single-minded thought process that only comes with the knowledge that the weekend will be awesome. I floated through my day, from my Tax class at 9:15 through my last one, which ended a bit late at 4:00PM. Then, it was off. I bee-lined towards my friends place, only stopping to get my bag and swap out my law texts for my DS, PSP and Kindle and some select games. Then, I snagged my two friends Casey and Nate, and after a short detour to Wawa for Snacks, we burned out of Philadelphia and were off to PAX East!
The drive itself was uneventful, save a long trip down US1 in Jersey and a minor detour through New York when my iPhone’s GPS decided to send us Through NYC rather then around it. But luckily we missed the worst of the traffic and it was smooth sailing up to Boston.
After good conversation, good music, and in Nate’s case, good Castlevania, we were finally at our hotel in Boston, and I was ready to head to the Publik House to meet with Nik, Jon_Bloodspray, Kauza and others. Unfortunately, by this time, it was already 11:30 at night, and as it turns out, my Co-Pilot and First mate set the GPS for the wrong Hotel, and we had to drive another half hour around Boston to get to our real hotel, the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge. By that time, we met up with some of our old college friends, and after hearing from Bloodspray that Public House never happened, we decided to head out for a bar on our own. After a drink and some good conversation, it was time to go to sleep; after all, the con was the next day!
After sleeping in a bit until about 11, we excitedly got up and got ready in a hurry. We then proceeded to get lost, and ended up on the Red Line, as one of our friends thought it was at the Boston Convention center, which is off the Red Line. After realizing our mistake, and preventing him from leading for the rest of the day, we made it to the convention at the perfect time; just as they were letting people in. so it all worked out.
Everyone was really excited, and after a little bit of waiting inside, they finally opened up the show floor. We grabbed our convention bags and pretty much ran through the lines they set up. Then, we finally got up stairs and were able to enter the main attraction; the convention floor. It was a pretty easy decision to not stand in the hour plus lines for just about each game, and we wandered around in a happy daze just taking everything in for about an hour. We made mental notes of what to play, and really only stood in line for the shorter games, intending to make the most of our time at PAX. We intentionally missed the keynote, as unfortunate it was, because we heard that the lines filled up courtesy of Twitter.
As we were wandering, we determined that it would be prudent to try to get in touch with as many people as possible, and while the cell networks were down, Twitter on my iPhone still seemed to work, and I was able to finally talk to Kauza, Bloodspray and my old college roommate, none of who I couldn’t miss hanging out with. After checking out Behemoth’s new game Battle Block theater (it looks awesome), playing some PS3 Castle Crashers (it’s awesome, but, you knew that) and buying myself my very own Blue Castle Crasher’s Knight.
Following that, I stumbled upon the game Shank, which would later become my Game of the Show (spoilers!). We watched the ultraviolent Venture Bros. style game for a bit, but the line was too long already. Red Dead was considered until we noticed that that too already had over an hour wait to play. Then it was on to see that Puzzle Quest 2 looks amazing, primarily because it is basically Puzzle Quest 1 with Purple mana, usable weapons and no more coins or exp gems. I thanked them for not making the mistakes they made with Galactrix, got some gem pins and rolled on to see the rest of the show.
We stopped to mess with Pokewalkers at the Nintendo booth, got impressed that the DSi XL’s screen actually looks pretty good upscaled and got some Pokemon Gym Bags. Then it was next door to try the new shooter Brink, which some douchebag would later try to steal. I enjoyed it. I didn’t like the health system, but the deformation was pretty awesome. Then we moved onto the other side of the convention hall.
We danced with Mega 64 for a second, laughed at the tiny Sega booth and the giant line for Rooster Teeth and randomly ran into JTIcefire. Then it was time for the first real stunner. While cruising through the NVIDIA booth, we stopped to check out the 3D gaming. I tried out some Need for Speed: Shift while wearing their 3D glasses. It was amazing. No headache, just really eye-popping graphics. It was admittedly pretty unnecessary, but it still looked wholly awesome. It should be noted that for two hours around this point, and further, until about 8, I had been trying to meet up and hang out with Jon_Bloodspray and Kauza.
By that point, we had at least peeked at just about all the booths and had the gist of the show so we decided to move on. After NVIDIA, it was time to meet up with some DToiders, and I finally ran into Jon_Bloodspray. We chatted it up and ran around the floor, marveling at things such as the giantess dressed up as Bayonetta and the size (for better or worse) of the expo floor. After hanging out with Bloodspray for a while, my group of friends and I decided to chill out in the third floor handheld lounge for about an hour to kind of take the edge off, and hang out with my new friends. We then spent some time looking at the show schedule and planning out the rest of the weekend before meeting up with even more friends, and heading to food court at the mall next door to get some food.
At 6:15, I flew out of there in order to head back to see a twitter panel that none of my friends wanted to see (I don’t know why!?). I went less cause I cared about Twitter, and more because I was curious what the panelists had to say. The Panelists were Major Nelson from XBL, FourZeroTwo from Infinity Ward and MacheteBetty from XBL Support. They were all really interesting, and MacheteBetty started things off with a redone version of the Portal Ending Theme, discussing banning and helping. It was actually pretty funny, and damn creative. After the song, the questions began. Of course the first question was directed at 402. Now I must preface that I liked MW2, I enjoy the MP and play it with the same group of friends nightly. I do have complaints, but this blog isn’t the forum for that. Anyway, the kid gets up, and proceeds to introduce himself, the shitty podcast that no one cares about that he is a member of, and then launches into a 2 minute tirade against 402, Infinity Ward, Activision and Modern Warfare 2. Essentially it boiled down to (and I am paraphrasing): “How do you respond to my accusation that MW2 boils down to a bunch of hacks, cheaters and gameplay decisions that I don’t personally Agree with, and that it is inferior to other games.” He asked this to a number of cheers, but far more boos. Even those who agreed with his basic assertion were pissed at his blatant rudeness. Fourzerotwo to his credit never flinched and calmly responded “Everyone has their own opinions, what games are you saying we’re inferior to?” The kids response lost him all credibility “World at War (acceptable comparison) and Quantum of Solace (sorry, no).” This got him booed by everyone in the room. Fourzerotwo responded that 25 million people around the world seemed to disagree with him, and that the feedback he generally receives is mostly positive, with minor complaints. Then he proceeded to tell how his Twitter feed was great because he heard about glitches like the Javelin Glitch as soon as it was discovered and got it to the engineers to begin working on a patch immediately. The rest of the panel was pretty uneventful, with a lot more insight into how Twitter is an incredible rapid response service to technology issues (And if anything, the Xbox Support team’s overdrive on Tuesday is proof of that). The panel ended with a comment from a random person, quoting Wil Whedon, directed to the face of the kid who asked the first question: “Don’t be a dick.”
When I left the panel, I wanted to see the next one there, on Girls in Games, but the panel was full, and I was forced out of the room, so I didn’t get to see MolotovCupcake speak. Still, it was dinner time, so I met up with my friends to see what they were doing. They were planning on eating at some place that wasn’t Uno, so I told them I would see them later and I left all of them to go to Pizzeria Uno to meet with DTOID. After wandering around outside looking for everyone, I finally met up with Kauza and Walkyourpath, and shortly thereafter Icarus, a friend of his (Scribbler, nicknames are easier to remember then real names), Bloodspray, JTIcefire, NikMonroe, Samit and his Yankees Hat (a Brave Soul), as well as MANY others. We hung out, had some beers, ate some soups/appetizers and generally had an amazing time.
Then Hamza showed up after bailing on the Frag Dolls party, because as he said, he loves his community, lamentably even more then the Frag Dolls. He showed up with Seth Keegan from Capcom, who was in an awesome state. Bloodspray got into an argument with the Seth and I about the original Street Fighter, and won (thanks to Wikipedia classifying the game as a fighter, and not a brawler, which I thought it was). Then, while arguing over the check with Hamza, Seth decided it would be a good idea to blow bubbles in the remainder of his sauce. So I can now say that I saw Seth Keegan blow sauce bubbles. Hamza did a slow-motion Facepalm and the rest of us who saw it laughed our asses off. This kind of awesome can only at PAX.
After we wrapped things up at Uno, I went and chilled with Icarus and Bloodspray for a couple more hours and shared stories of fun and amazement. As I was heading out in the lobby to get back to my hotel room in Cambridge, Bloodspray (who was heading out for a smoke) and I ran into a group of four nerds playing an obscure card game (I believe it was Munchkin), because as they said, Settlers of Catan was to mainstream, and they needed to do something as they waited for the Pizza they ordered at 3AM. The people at PAX were all awesome. It was so excellent meeting everyone, and hopefully even MORE people will come out for the next one! I already know that I will be back for more next year, and I will try to get to PAX West as well! I had the time of my life and maybe I will sum up Saturday and Sunday in a follow-up Blog! read