The PAX East 2012 Low-Down
The past week has, by and large, not been kind to me. First I came down with a particularly bad cold, then my glasses spontaneously exploded while on my face, then the ‘e’ key on my laptop jammed, making typing a virtual impossibility (seriously, whose bright idea was it to put so many “E”s everywhere??) One backup computer, pair of glasses, and a whole ton of DayQuil later, and I’m ready to right about the one good thing from this past week: PAX East 2012. PAX – the Penny Arcade Expo, started in Seattle by the eponymous Penny Arcade guys (http://www.penny-arcade.com/) – started coming to Boston three years ago, presumably because our clam chowder is so terrific. My girlfriend (known to many of you as Zukidook) and I have attended all three years, though this was our first year attending on Friday only, as opposed to the entire weekend.
In the past, I’ve always been rather burnt out by going for three full days. Saturday, generally the only day that is totally sold out and thus the most ridiculously packed with 2+ hour lines for the most mundane of exhibits, can be as stressful as it is fun, and by Sunday just about everything has been seen, leading to a lot of wandering around aimlessly and trying to decide what game I can school Zuki in next at console free-play. This year, though, I’m feeling the painful jitters of withdrawal, arms stretched out to Gabe and Tycho, babbling “c’mon, man, just one more day, I just need one more day!” as passer-by look at me with sorrow and pity. Perhaps this is because, for the first time ever, Zuki and I decided to be adventurous (and really, really geeky) and attend in cosplay. We each went as characters from the game Dragon Age II, by our favorite (and currently controversy-shrouded) company, Bioware.
Thus, the day was spent around a lot of Bioware fans and employees. Those of you embroiled in the competing articles debating the ending to Mass Effect 3 may want to read on, as we did get to attend the first official open panel in which people who worked on the game spoke directly to those who had played it. But first, here is some awesome if somewhat disjointed stuff I did while wandering around the labyrinthine exhibition hall:
– Played Team Fortress 2 with a real gun (well, okay, a model of a real gun) that was attached to some sort of 3D vector. Moving my hand around the field caused my character to mimic me, and pulling the trigger caused them to fire. It was like I was committing murder in real-time! Though I guess using a fake pistol to control a mini-gun isn’t actually that realistic. Whatever. Meanwhile, Zuki watched.
– Hung out in Funcom’s corner for The Secret World (http://www.thesecretworld.com/), an MMO slated to come out later this year that takes place on modern day Earth, and deals with secret organizations, conspiracy theories, and horror stories coming to life. I didn’t get to mess with character creation (always my favorite part) but was saddled with a female Templar skilled in Fists, Pistols, and Chaos Magic. Combat is interesting; instead of classes, like most MMOs have, characters are built by mixing and matching abilities from 9 different combat specializations. I’m not sure exactly how this works out in terms of balance, but I admit that the thought of a blood mage with a giant hammer is enticing. Plus, the setting is *really* interesting, IMO. I’m not sure if it’s a game I’d switch from The Old Republic to (especially if it’s subscription-based, I can really only handle one of those at a time), but it’s something I will certainly be keeping my eye on. Meanwhile, Zuki watched.
– The line to see Aliens: Colonial Marines looked way too long, so instead we waited in line to play Sonic 4: Episode 2. I got to yell at Tales in front of a bunch of 8 year olds as I struggled my way through a ruined, water-logged castle reminiscent of Aquatic Ruins zone in Sonic 2. Meanwhile, Zuki watched.
– Paid $10 for a slice of pizza and a soda.
– Seriously, Tails is an asshole. Just PICK ME UP and FLY, god DAMN IT.