PAX: General impressions


A mix of everything

The Seattle video game epic that is known as PAX Prime is now over. All four days were loud and crowded as usual, but what would you expect from a convention that had been spawned from Penny Arcade.

The total amount of things to see and do there is always overwhelming. If you can't find something you like at this convention, then I am not sure you have a pulse. There's video games, tabletop games, miniatures, CCG, D&D, and more. So much stuff that they extended it to 4 whole days. Four long drawn out days...

Don't get me wrong, it's a hell of an event, but if you don't pace yourself correctly you'll find yourself burning out quickly. I know that I did. It didn't really help either that I was still trying to recover from Japan Expo just the week prior or the fact that I didn't really get much good sleep during the whole weekend. But I was still there walking around, taking pictures, chatting up people, and standing in some horribly long lines just to get a taste of a few games.

I do have to admit that I was pretty disappointed with the overall showing this year. There just wasn't that overall since of "wow" in the air with two new gaming systems on the horizon. Sony's booth was almost a complete repeat of last year's while Xbox changed theirs up just slightly. Speaking of booths, there were some ones that surprised me out on the show floor this year. One was Magic: The Gathering. They had a good size booth with an interactive wall screen that I saw people playing with. They even had a couple of smaller booths throughout the venue that you could go to for contests that they were running. Keeping with the card theme, Cards Against Humanity had a giant walled off black booth out on the sky bridge. It was walled off for a reason if you know anything about the game. The last one that surprised me was the Twitch TV booth. Now I know that the streaming service is huge with gamers, but I didn't know it has garnered enough attention that a large space on the show floor was necessary. Good for them I guess.

For all the bigger booths out there this year, there was a trend with just about all of them. Raffles. Everywhere you went there was someone up on a stage hawking merchandise or gathering the masses with their tickets in hand. Personally I think that some, if not most, of the company scaled down on some things just so that they could give away more stuff. This is not a bad thing in the slightest where you could have walked away with say a $3,500 computer or a Surface Pro or other computer hardware that was worth quite a bit of money. Intel said that they were giving away $40,000 worth of stuff, but I don't think it was actually at the event.

I do have to say that it was really nice to see more main hall space go to tabletop games. Magic: The Gathering had a huge display and several smaller booths throughout the area. Cards Against Humanity was dominating the sky bridge area with it's huge black walled off booth. But the surprise of the show for me in this department was Stoneblade Entertainment with Ascension. Granted its a great deck building game, I even bought my first copy of it there, but it wasn't what I expected to see in the middle of the sea of games. The card game version did take center stage at the booth while the mobile game version was off to the side. I know that they were there to sell the mobile version of the game, but I'm pretty sure that the card game still trumped it overall.

When everything was over and I was on my way home, I just felt relieved that I didn't have to go back there. Again, four days is a lot of time to be walking around the same convention hall over and over again. To some, this convention is something that they would love to spend many more days at playing all the new and upcoming games that companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have to offer. But for me, all I wanted to do was soak my poor beat up body in a hot tub until I passed out.

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Josh Totman
Josh TotmanContributor   gamer profile

Josh is a simple man. Normally either in the kitchen cooking up a tasty meal or watching the latest anime that not too many people like. Being more of the old timer of the group. He has now been ... more + disclosures



Filed under... #Cons #Impressions #Japanator Original #PAX #Video games



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