PAX East – Day One
by Mark R
The first thing that strikes you as you walk through the doors is the sheer enormity of what the guys at Penny Arcade have managed to achieve. This isn’t your typical video game convention where developers turn up to peddle games that have been out for several months, in the hopes of shifting a few thousand more units. The marketing is obviously still prevalent because this is, let’s not fool ourselves, the whole point of PAX – to advertise and promote – but the main difference here is that the developers are as excited to see the gamers as the gamers are to see the new content and get a chance to see the people behind the titles that they love so much.
Towering above the show floor was the huge Rockstar cube, shining like a beacon and drawing the crowds directly towards the highly anticipated L.A. Noire, nestled between Duke Nukem, Bethesda, Portal 2, Eden and The Old Republic… but that’s as much as we’ll say about those games for now. We had been warned by PAX veterans to expect queuing and, having been to Thorpe Park and Chessington more times than we care to remember, we shrugged this off as nothing more than a slight inconvenience and made our way around the aisles to get our bearings before heading to specific booths and presentations.
The effort put into each of the booths is quite spectacular when you consider that they’re expecting over 65,000 people over the three days and each gaming station needs to be accessible enough for you to actually PLAY at it, but also be seen by people waiting to play, people walking by, and be striking enough to encourage people to come over even if they weren’t previously interested in the game. For me, the Duke Nukem Forever booth stood out considerably but I can’t think why that would be… certainly nothing to do with the myriad of cute brunettes dresses in stereotypical catholic schoolgirl costumes straight from any Vivid video.
Oddly enough, considering the buzz surrounding Gears Of War 3, their presentation area wasn’t that impressive although that could be down to it being part of the Microsoft section rather than a standalone Epic Games booth. Regardless of that though, the consoles are always queued out and the fans seem to be excited to get their hands on it. With so many interviews and hands-on sessions scheduled, our time as “punters” was somewhat limited but we had to remember that we are ultimately gamers and, as such, had to try and fit in at least some gaming.
Not long after our first interview and preview session with Telltale Games for Jurassic Park, we had a two hour break before our meeting with Greg from Supergiant Games to talk about the beautiful Bastion, so we figured that we’d jump in to the line for L.A. Noire before heading over to one of the other booths afterwards. What actually happened was that Lee had to leave the line and ask if we could possibly reschedule the Bastion interview until later since, after two hours, we still hadn’t reached the front of the Rockstar queue. Some two hours and forty minutes later, we’d finished our L.A. Noire session and met with Supergiant for the Bastion interview. This led us right up until 7pm when the main floor closed, leaving us just enough time to pop back to Lee’s hotel and drop all the heavy gear off before heading to the Brink party for 8pm.
To say that we were tired by the time 11pm rolled around, would perhaps be the most exaggerated understatement ever muttered, but rounding the evening off with an Ark-themed Brink party made it the perfect end to a pretty damned perfect day, and the ridiculously comfortable seats in the “Airport VIP Lounge” may as well have been made of brick and we’d still have been overjoyed to rest our legs after standing for fourteen hours. PAX is, without a doubt, the benchmark for how gaming conventions should be and hopefully we’ll have more time to write up proper previews and reviews… but at the moment, time is very limited.
Look out for these interviews and previews…
- Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
- L.A. Noire
- Portal 2
- Jurassic Park
- Puzzle Agent 2
- Shoot Many Robots
- Tropico 4
- Jagged Alliance: Back In Action
- Anything With An Engine
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