PAX this year was awesome for the simple fact that Bioshock Infinite got its first review on IGN with an incredible score of 9.4 (9.5 PC). I was flying high. An incredibly awesome way to start a fun weekend. This year, I invited a couple of my age-old friends Rob Canty and Paul Menard. They are both huge gaming enthusiasts and I knew they would love to go with me. We hit the overly crowded floor and one of the first people I literally bumped into was Joey “Roo” DeSena from clanofthegraywolf.com. I introduced myself as an employee from Irrational Games. He replied “Oh.” – then his eyes flung open “OHHHH.” He was a super nice guy and if you’re at all into retro gaming, or video games in general, I highly recommend his video series “16-Bit Gems” or his interesting series “The Way Games Work”. I spent many crunchtime hours with his videos playing in the background along with videos by “Pat The NES Punk”, “The Angry Video Game Nerd” and “The Game Chasers”.
The showroom was so crowded and the lines to try the games were extremely long for the most part. Here’s a pic of Canty at the entrance.
Not too long after our run of the showroom, we found what was quite possibly the coolest thing at PAX: The ACAM room.
The three of us unanimously agreed that this was heaven on earth; a cornucopia of classic arcade cabinets lined up in a darkened room with disco lights and gratuitous classic rock tracks whaling. You seriously can’t get much better than this.
We ended the day at a panel held by Roo and The Retronauts. Who were actually broadcasting their final podcast live. The panel was called “Retro Games We Wish We Loved”. When they asked for audience feedback I stood up and gave my opinion of “The Oregon Trail”. There was a mixed reaction in the audience, but they couldn’t disagree with me when I asked if they would’ve actually played it outside of a classroom environment. Case closed. It was a super fun panel with a lot of laughs. At the end, they unveiled that they were starting a Kickstarter campaign to keep the show going.
The following day I took my son Landon.
I took advantage of the ride up to introduce him to Ronnie James Dio. I explained that Dio’s music had a lot to do with fighting monsters with swords and magic. This piqued his interest and he took to it immediately, pretending to play drums in his guitar seat while I provided vocals.
On the walk over to the convention center, we ran into one of my coworkers Ian Davis. We noticed an Elisabeth cosplay-er and took a photo. She was super-excited to have met two of the game devs of Bioshock Infinite. Landon didn’t know why we were stopping. 🙂
In being only 6, the experience was massive sensory-overload for him. The lines to play the games were even longer on Saturday, but he did get to play a demo of the old-school beat-em-up Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles Of Mystara. Landon is no stranger games like this and held his own with the others fighting along side him.
We both REALLY wanted to play the demo for Duck Tales, but the line was capped at 2 HOURS LONG!! Capcom’s going to be literally swimming in a bin of money with the re-release of this classic. Smart move. Anyway, we didn’t get to play, but we did take this awesome picture.
While we only managed to play only a handful of games, Landon was probably most excited about our retro-gaming hunt with the vendors there. Here’s what we picked up.
We ended our day at the ACAM museum. Landon had the time of his life in there playing games with me. His favorite was an obscure game that attempted to bring the gameplay mechanics of gauntlet to the isometric realm. It was a buggy experiment that failed miserably in my opinion, but I had fun with it because I never get a chance to play these old, stand-up arcade games with my son. Here’s an image of the cabinet marquee to give you an idea of the mediocrity we were playing. I was surprised to see the Konami name attached to it.
My personal favorites of PAX East this year (alphabetically)?? I’m probably forgetting a few, but these stand out in my mind.