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pendelton21 avatar 9:11 PM on 09.11.2009
Pendelton's PAX Pontifications: The Best and Worst Booth at PAX


Awesome, yet retarded.

If you come to any of the big gaming industry events like PAX, you’re bound to see some of the craziest exhibition booths in existence. Game companies will do ANYTHING to get you to try out their games; give out free swag, have costumed people walk around their booth, erect mechanical bulls. The good companies draw you in with these gimmicks; the BEST one have amazing swag and games. Somehow, the Hudson booth managed to be both the best AND worst booth at PAX.

Those that went to PAX might not even know what booth I’m talking about. If you blinked, you missed it. Positioned between the Capcom and Conan booths, this Hudson kiosk was tiny. 3 of ‘em could fit in any of the other companies’ booths. This thing was small. On display were 4 LCDs, running 2 games of Deca Sports 2, a Diner Dash XBLA demo, and a video screen showing off gameplay videos of some space marine bullshit, Miami Law, Diner Dash, and Deca Sports 2. That’s it. 2 Hudson signs were the only other decoration. Right off the bat, the Hudson booth fails on the basis of presentation. It’s just…just awful.

Even more vile were the games on display. I played both on display, for reasons explained in the next paragraph, and MAN did they suck. Deca Sports 2, as you can probably gather from the name, is the sequel to the shitty, much-advertised-and maligned Deca Sports. Also, as you can easily guess, the game is a crappy, awful, no-good, very bad Wii Sports clone. For testing purposes, I played in a “tournament” with a few others, all vying for whatever random prizes they had to offer. First up, Gary (some douche) and I faced off in a motorbike race. Controls were as you’d expect, in that they were exactly Mario Kart’s controls. One difference was if you didn’t slow down through a turn, you’d hit a wall. But, rather than doing the sane thing most games do and have your speed decrease upon contact, you come to a COMPLETE FUCKING STOP. Seriously, all forward momentum is gone if you so much as TAP a wall or barricade. At the end of the longest race of my life, Gary came out the winner, and moved on, leaving me feeling like I was sexually abused by a video game. Yeah, it was that bad.

Being a glutton for punishment (apparently), I stepped to the next screen to play some Diner Dash. I knew DD was alright because, seriously, how can you fuck up that game? Thankfully, they didn’t, but it’s still Diner Dash, something you’ve played millions of time before online, on your cell, on your DS, etc. They did at least add in restaurant upgrades; items you could gain after achieving a certain score that helps your customers stay happy. In my demo, we picked up a drink station and juggler; the station to give them something to drink before their meal, and the juggler to keep them entertained while they wait in line. I’m guessing there aren’t enough people willing to buy this on PSN and XBLA, but they did it anyway. Oh well, at least the multiplayer was kinda fun; I got a bit of enjoyment “fighting” someone else to be the best waitress.

Now, you must be thinking, “Pendelton. This booth sounds like a poor person designed and payed for it. How can this possibly be good?”

Swag, my friends, swag. Of all the free shit given out at PAX, Hudson gave away the awesomest. Seriously. For participating in the Deca Sports Shit-a-thon, you got…these:

AWESOME motorcycle racing gloves! When I originally got them, they had a Deca Sports 2 patch on the back. I cut that shit off as soon as I could, and now I have bitchin’ gaming/biking gloves.

What about Diner Dash you say? Oh, well, I just got:

A FUCKING APRON. What. How ridiculous is this thing? WHO GIVES OUT FREE APRONS?!?! On top of that, I picked up a metal pin/police badge for Miami Law, and 2 individually numbered dogtags from that space marine nonsense from before.

This shows the strange greatness of this booth; not only are they giving away really cool shit, all the swag has a real connection to the game. Unlike other booths that showered you with God of War 3 lanyards and Brutal Legend stickers, Hudson made each and every bit of swag relate with the game it was advertising. Seriously, giving out aprons for a game associated with dining? Genius. They also allowed swag possession ONLY if you played their shitty games; thus, you had to at least try out their product before they would spend money on you. Not enough booths at PAX made this rule; why spend money on swag that you’re just gonna hand out to passers-by, rather than those who took time to actually play your game?

Hudson, if you’re reading this, I have a question; how did you pull this off? How exactly could you publish such crap games as those displayed at PAX, yet have enough know-how and spunk to make your swag the best of the show? There’s something so wrong about it. I felt like I had whored myself out for swag; subjecting myself to these rotten gaming experiences for some really cool shit. If any booth at PAX could’ve done that, it had to be the best AND worst booth there.

Tagged:    cblog    Industry events  

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