Friday, August 29, 2014

PAX: First Impressions

This is going to be the 9th PAX I work, the 10th PAX I attend, so I feel like I've seen good PAXes, bad PAXes, and everything in between. At this point, I feel like I can maybe start predicting how these things will go before they begin.

This PAX looks like it might be pretty cool, and I'll tell you why.
One of the things that made PAX feel stagnant is a lack of interesting things to do. That could be a lack of exhibits for interesting games, a lack of interesting topics for panels, a lack of interesting people to talk to, or (worst) all three.

I've taken a look around the expo hall, and I can say that there are a few games that interest me so far.

First and foremost is Super Smash Bros, which sounds like it's shaping up into a neat game with a decent roster. I've honestly enjoyed each game in the series so far, since it's well within my goofiness requirements for fighting games.

There's also a Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel exhibit here, which I think they also had at East. Like SSB, I've enjoyed the Borderlands games so far, so I'm looking forward to the next one. There are few FPS games I play, but Borderlands is one of them.

There's also tons of indie games innovating out there, including a game we got to check out tonight called Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, in which one player attempts to disarm a bomb while wearing an Occlus Rift while another player flips through a manual to give them instructions to disarm the bomb without setting it off. The game requires teamwork, communication, and a clear head to manage the task within the time limit, and it's quite fun and stressful whether you're holding the controller or the manual.

As far as panels go, I'm certain there's a lot to talk about. I don't know if you've heard, but gamers are in an identity crisis right now, with some people holding desperately to a definition of "gamer" that may be losing its meaning, and others distancing themselves from that identity as it becomes more and more associated with the sort of people who try to ruin other people's lives because they disagree about some things. I assume this is going to be a hot topic during the panels at PAX.

And then, of course, there's the people. There are people I want to talk to, and that hasn't been the case for several of the previous PAXes. As a fairly shy person, though, it takes me a while to work up the nerve to talk to people, so this might be an activity that takes up the entire four days for me. Which is great, because working up the nerve to talk to someone and (most importantly) actually getting the chance to do so is the process behind several of my favorite PAX memories.

Anyway, predicting a good PAX probably means that it will be a good PAX simply by virtue of my expectations. So, really, it's in my best interests to predict a good PAX whether I believe it'll be good or not. Certainly there are a few things that concern me about this one, but I'll bring those up if and when they actually cause a problem.

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