It is likely no small coincidence that PAX, the shorthand name of the Penny Arcade Expo, is also the latin word for peace. As Wil Wheaton stated in his epic keynote (the second!) thanks to Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik, Robert Khoo, a legion of Enforcers, and a veritable army of attendees PAX is geek for home. As Jerry stated in his own post-PAX East post:
We call it PAX East to distinguish it from the other one, it helps to make discussions about them possible, but I’ve been to every one of them and I can tell you: this was just PAX. Whatever entity you create when you attend, and when you play, was present in the same unaltered form we discerned years ago. It is our task to honor it.
As an attendee of PAX Prime (as the Seattle show has become known) in 07 and 08 I couldn’t agree more. While I browsed my twitter feed while at the show I couldn’t help note some griping about the lines (particularly from a one Rabbit). While I agree that the lines were occasionally ridiculous I think something should be said that there is something different about lines at PAX over other kinds of lines. Whether it be impromptu games of Mario Kart DS, elaborate pipe cleaner sculptures, or the entertaining styling of the folks from Get In Line Games PAX lines are, in addition to being a place to wait for an awesome event or panel, a place of community. Nothing evidenced this more then the line on Saturday when the crowd, prompted by nothing more then a song we all recognized, spontaneously burst into song:
What that video doesn’t capture is the chorus of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody that followed the crowd as we marched towards the main theater; even after we left the overhead speakers behind. Sure PAX East 2010 was crowded as hell but at least it was crowded with several thousand friends (well, except for this douche).
I didn’t spend a ton of time on the Exhibition Room floor, but managed to catch a number of smaller titles that really sparked my interest. Myself and several friends had a blast playing Slam Bolt Scrappers over at the Indie Showcase; it is some sort of Tetris, tower defense, beat ’em up that is perhaps one of the best party games I’ve played in years. Monday Night Combat, think Smash TV meets Team Fortress 2, looks like a frickin’ blast. The gorgeously rendered silhouette world of Limbo was at once beautiful and disturbing. Nvidia’s demos of 3d technology were sweet and far more impressive then I could have hoped but still tethered to glasses.
Every panel I went to pretty much rocked. Stephen Totilo of Kotaku and N’gai Croal had an interesting panel on 10 Best Games of All Time, sort of a Video Game insider meme that looks like something everyone should be watching. The Musical Guests panel was as entertaining as ever, the Penny Arcade Panel was hilarious, and the keynote made up for the fact that I missed Wil in 2007. And the concerts…man…epic is even the right word. Special nod to Video Game Orchestra and their “Vampire Killer” mix of Castlevania music; simply amazing. Now I’m back at work and while the world around me is bit dimmer absent of PAX I am secure in the knowledge that I now have a second home here on the east coast. See you guys in 2011.