PAX – Penny Arcade eXpo 2009

PAX – Penny Arcade eXpo 2009

Went up to Penny Arcade eXpo – had a fabulous time over two days.  So much to see and do:

  • PC Freeplay areas – a huge area with hundreds of Intel supplied machines, and equally large BYOC area that folks brought in their own machines.  Servers were set up and all the major games were pre-installed.  Just sit down and start up a game with anyone.
  • Console freeplay – an equally huge area with lots of XBOX/PS3/Wii systesms you could check out and play from their large library.  They even had old systems like the original nintendo with duckhunt competition, a connected set of 4 machines with some crazy mechwarrior control setups
  • Tabletop gaming – everything from your more classic D&D, to warhammer setups, to settlers of Catan, and board games from to Risk.  Big room to just browse and check out anything you want to play.  Go to any of the many rooms with friends, or make some new ones and play.
  • Sessions and talks – tons of 1 hour talks and sessions by developers, experts, and just normal people.  I attended a few of the indy developer sessions and found them to be a decent intro for folks looking at the industry.  Think GDC lite-lite.  Some of the ones on the roster I saw previously at GDC in fact.
  • Movies – sat and watched the fan-made THAC0.  Other famous web series and their actors were also there: The Guild, Hey Ash whatcha Playin, and a few others.
  • Concerts each night. I only attended the Saturday night concerts – most notably the Johnathan Coulter concert and two funny guys who’s names escape me.
  • Cosplaying – holy cow – so many people dressed up as their favorite game and cartoon characters.
  • The show floor – since E3 has died, this has gotten to be the gaming convention.  Every major game dev was there: EA, Sony, Intel, nVidia, and all the rest.  Left 4 Dead 2, God of War 3, Mass Effect 2, and tons of other new and upcoming games were actually setting out to be played.  I got a LOT of free shirts and crashed a launch party or two in the hotels around the area.

Swine flu?  It appears now on the forums that lots of people are getting sick afterward.  It’s been called PAX Pox, PAX sars, and lots of the word “swine flu” being batted around.  I have seemingly managed to avoid it – but I did do a lot of hand washing and didn’t stay at the hotels usually filled with PAX folks.  Seemed to have picked up a nasty sore throat today – but I’m pretty sure that’s because we had a cold snap and I left the window open last night. Doh!

Pictures coming soon

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