PAX East Panel Round-Up

Now freshly back form my voyage to Boston, I figured I would share a few thoughts on the panels I attended. I’ll save my thoughts on the panel I participated in for another day, probably whenever the full video of the whole shebang becomes available for your viewing pleasure.

I also won’t go into the games I saw, because most of them will probably be covered in preview form. I might do a quick recap of any that don’t get approved for the full preview treatment.

Keep in mind there were plenty of panels I wanted to attend, but couldn’t due to conflicting meetings, other panels, full lines, etc.

Storytime with Jordan Mechner (Keynote) – Mechner is a really sweet, soft-spoken kind of guy. I expected the keynote to have a more sweeping message, but just hearing him recount how he got into game design was pretty insightful. He didn’t wrap it all up with a bow like some keynote speakers naturally do, but he was funny and charming.

Penny Arcade Q&As – I attended at least bits and pieces of more than one of these, so I’m grouping them together. Aside from all the wacky questions, I have to say I got a little misty on more than one occasion as people shared stories related to Child’s Play and the power of the community of PAX to give nerds a place to call home. It’s that kind of spirit that really embodies the best qualities of what Gabe and Tycho have (arguably accidentally) built.

Irrational’s Making a Monster – I’m glad Irrational honed in on one particular aspect of their game. I would love to stare dreamily into Ken Levine’s eyes as he talks about politics and Columbia for an hour, but having a full panel talk us through every phase of various monster creations was probably more insightful on the whole. I came away confident that BioShock Infinite hasn’t lost the thoughtful touch and knack for iconic enemies that made the first game such a success.

How Not to Succeed as a Freelance Games Journalist – My fellow panelist Rob Rath was on this panel, along with one of my editors, Susan Arendt, and casual acquaintance Andrew Hayward. Good advice for beginners, and I know a lot of people in that room were taking copious notes from some extremely smart and talented people. Plus I got to meet Susan in the flesh, which was nice. We went for drinks later with the Escapist folks.

Retrogame Roadshow – I mostly attended this because Frank Cifaldi said I should meet up with him afterwards to talk about some pitches. However! I’m glad I went, and I want to go to this panel every PAX from now on. As a (shameful) fan of shows like Pawn Stars, this was incredible. It’s only too bad most people don’t have enough material to actually make it a show on the History channel. Also, I am absolutely blown away by the detailed historical knowledge of those guys.

Omegathon Final Round – I go to this every time, and I’m pretty sure everyone else does too. This year it was an obscure Canadian board game that involved sliding pieces across a waxed, circular board. It took a really, really long time to finally reach the best-of-three win.

All this between getting exponentially more StreetPasses in three days than I have in all my 3DS time combined, telling Jerry personally in a hallway that I enjoy how he reveres the art of language, and getting woken by not one but two fire alarms. Stupid teenagers.

Now that I’m back, the first fruits of my labor are available. Torchlight 2 preview. Now even torchlighter. I liked it quite a bit. More previews incoming tomorrow, and probably all throughout the week.

Also, in case you missed them, I wrote an article for the Escapist about customer loyalty programs, and one for 1UP about fun glitches.

  • Willie hears ya, Willie dun care.
  • As much flak as the SFxT is getting for its DLC characters, cross-platform play is a pretty cool feature. But honestly, who the heck would play on 3G?
  • I don’t expect Darksiders 2 to get hit with a delay, but Danny Bilson’s comments certainly sound like he’s allowing for that possibility.
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