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The PAX Prime 2011 Report by Knut

PAX was a glorious thing. I've been every year since 2005, and this was easily the best one I've ever had. You know what was different this year? The people. I met people this year, and they were such thoroughly, fantastically great, that last weekend will never slip from my memory.

Occams, Bey, etc. hanging around in the kitchen

Enough gushing. I could gush for hours. I'm just gonna dump what I remember from my brain and share some photos and videos. Actually, I didn't take too many, because we had talented photographers with better equipment around, like COM 01 and Nihil.

Law trying to put on a gas mask he received as a gift from Angel Eena

Thursday - Who are you people?

Picked up Occams from the airport. Dixon arrived a bit later and woke Occams up from a nap. Picked up Law from the airport. Went to Costco for some awesome junk food lunch. Played Scott Pilgrim with Dixon, Law, and Occams for a while (4 player co-op is quite fun). Occams tried to take another nap, but Corduroy Turtle, COM 01, and Steezy arrived, which woke him up again.

Occams, Dixon, and Law taking a break from Scott Pilgrim

Sat around and talked and played games for a while, then went... (drumroll) grocery shopping for supplies for the subsequent night's cooking. With a hundred bucks in groceries in tow, we dumped it back at the house and headed to Seattle for dinner.

We did a lot of talking in the kitchen. Bey, COM, Corduroy, Dixon, Steezy, and Law

We had planned to go to this great German pub I know, but when we arrived there, they were jam packed, and not a single person came to even talk to us as we were waiting at the door. Law asked one of the maybe 3 passing waiters how long it would be for a party of nine. Dude was like, "Hell if I know!" So professional.

A Mario Kart party! also seen: Qalamari and Wolf Girl

Luckily, there is a pretty sweet burger joint down the street, and I think everyone was satisifed with that for dinner. Immediately after, we walked about 10 blocks to Gameworks for the indie mixer thingy. It was chaotic, but eventually found the big crowd of Dtoiders. Steezy already posted a couple pictures, but the highlight for me was probably talking to Danny Baranowsky, of Super Meat Boy fame.

Yeah, the living room is where I normally spend 90% of my time too

We headed back to the house, but ended up with two more special guests: Nihil, whom I picked up from the airport, and Beyamor, who was delightfully and somewhat unexpectedly dropped off! Later, we tried to get some system link Halo going. Eventually we did, but Fame Designer's girlfriend, Wolf Girl, was way too good, so it unbalanced the teams!

Steezy (!), Fame, Nihil, and Corduroy getting totally pwned in Halo by Wolf Girl (on the other TV)

Friday - Hey, you guys seem pretty cool.

Friday was a full day of PAX. We ended up splitting up almost immediately, but reconvening at various times during the day. Heh, we ate lunch at a decent German pub nearby (not the same one, no) and spent most of our time in the expo hall. The highlight of the day for me was playing Fez and getting to randomly chat about programming for a few minutes with the esteemed Jonathan Blow. Dude is one of my heroes.

The German pub we ate lunch at

Friday evening was astounding. I had previously prepared a batch of my special Indian chicken curry in epic proportions and served it to thirteen guests. By all accounts it was pretty well received, so that pretty much made my year. Cooking for a big group of my best friends... what is better in life?

We set up Rock Band 3 and played for hours. We were very lucky also to have SQID (a.k.a. Qalamari) join us. Guys, he is an incredibly decent human being. Just wanted to throw that out there. Anyway, many renditions of many good songs were had. People left that night tired but full and satisfied.

Saturday - Yo, let's be friends

Saturday, several of us went to various panels. I enjoyed Niero's "So you want to run a gaming web site?" panel. What I liked best about it was how very specific and concrete it was. There was relatively little hand-waving and a lot of actual things a person could go out and do. In one of the most brilliant moves, he put up a slide where he presented three Twitter hashtags to help people with different skillsets (marketing/publishing, creative, and programmer) get in touch with each other. We didn't really need additional affirmation that Niero is great, did we?

Sushi lunch during the con

I was in the Geometry Wars 2 tournament again. I didn't win, not by a long shot, but I challenged [url=http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?Gamertag=Ezekiel Chaos]the winner of the competition[/url] to some head-to-head score attack later and managed to beat him by a bit, so that's cool.

Corduroy and COM

I also spent hours in the indie game / PAX10 area. There were many very good games on show there, but one in particular turned my world upside down (literally, in a sense). For those of you who actually talked to me over the weekend, I'm sorry, but I can't shut up about this.

At some point we randomly met some Dtoiders in the street, such as Xyzliac, Angel Eena, and others

The game is called Antichamber (formerly Hazard: the Journey of Life). It's a game so fascinating and mind-bending that it can barely be described, and any attempt I make will just cheapen it. The developer seemed to find that the game clicked with me, and spent a few minutes explaining bits of it as I played. It felt less like I was playing a game and more like I was exploring the inside of his head.

Loitering. Specifically, KRA1D and Crime Minister are loitering

I went to PAX fully expecting Fez to be the best thing I saw there, but it ended up being second place, thanks to Antichamber.

I'll say just one final thing: it's been six days since I played it, and I have not been able to think about much else. I don't think I've ever been so excited for a game before.

Saturday night brought in more Rock Band. Again, we rocked hard into the middle of the night. I was even somehow persuaded to sing, a thing I'd never done before and may never do again. Corduroy showed off his infuriatingly consistent drumming skills. Dixon antagonized Occams by putting on Papa Roach. Law sang The Piano Man, and Fame showed a much awesomer singing voice than his speaking voice.

You know that Cblog Fanfic Fame Designer has been working on for ages? We were lucky enough that he read aloud the final chapter of it to us on Saturday night, before it got posted to Dtoid. Killer!

By the time people left that night, the melancholy was already starting to sink in.

Sunday - No, don't go

Of course, the big highlight of the day was the Destructoid "panel". Well, more like crapshoot. It was madness in there. Beyamor got a burger thrown at him. I asked a question! It was craziness! A good time. And the group photo was cool, though I'm basically photobombing it in the way back, barely 5 or 6 pixels.

Funktastic in the helmet

More expo hall for a while. Played Kairo with Law, and that was cool. Then SQID and I went to the Omegathon final round, which was a speed run of the original Zelda for NES - first person to the first Triforce piece wins. The Omegathon final round is the most concentrated gamer nerd energy in a single room. I love it. And a good battle was had, too.

Beyamor and Tactix

Sunday night half of us had already departed. The few stragglers left gathered at the house for mediocre Safeway take-and-bake pizza, packing, and sleeping. The following morning they went back to the airport early in the morning.

Outside my garage. Nearing the end of our times together.

And that was that. Burned in my memory. The best of times.

An epic brofist between Qalamari and Beyamor

I omitted a just few photos from this blog. You can find the entire set on Flickr.
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About knutafone of us since 6:45 PM on 03.01.2010

I'm a dad in my thirties.
I work for MS on the Xbox, making features and fixing bugs.
I have a cat and two dogs.
I sometimes make Twitter bots: 1, 2, 3

Groundhog Day: Wave After Wave, This Is My Ocean
Obscurity: Nobody has ever heard of Lemmings

Currently playing
Stephen's Sausage Roll

Dark Souls
Geometry Wars 2
Burnout Paradise
Rayman (original, Origins, Legends)
Tetris Attack
Metroid Prime series
Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3
Descent 1-3
English Country Tune
The Witness

Other places you might find me:
Twitch.tv livestream (PC indie games and Dark Souls)
knutaf on YouTube
@_knutaf on Twitter
Occasionally, I am part of a podcast
I watch a fair bit of anime.
I sometimes listen to music.
Xbox LIVE:knutaf
PSN ID:knutaf
Steam ID:knutaf


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