My first taste of the trade/con experience was E3. Despite being soul crushing in certain aspects, it was probably the best introduction to this type of thing. The expectations for E3 were clouded by silly childhood preconceived notions and an idealism, but E3 is great at dashing those lofty ideals and teaching how these things work. If anything, I learned from E3 what I want when attending this grand shindigs. The number one rule is never expect anything from them. That will only leave you disappointed. Secondly, don’t take a million appointments, that prevents you from getting surprised by something on the floor. Lastly, that you might get lucky enough to play video games, but mainly you will see other people playing video games.
While I don’t know much about PAX because this will be my first time attending PAX, from what I have seen of the convention and heard of it makes it seem like a totally different beast. Where E3 is drenched in ESA and industry sheen, PAX seems to emphasize video games (which seems weird). The tone also should be different because PAX is open to the public, which means everyone there wants to be there to see video games or panels or table top games or chill out with bros and broettes. Although, I think OUYA will still have a bus six blocks away. Unlike E3, I truly have zero expectations, good or bad, for PAX. I am mainly there to experience something. I don’t know exactly what means, but I will find out soon enough.
This time around, we’re keeping it real light on appointments. The ones we have booked are for stuff that caught our eyes and we are dying to check out. The key this time around was to book things cautiously that way we can have some time to see stuff on the floor. Most of the games I am checking out are at the Indie Megabooth (I’ve said the indie label has outlived its usefulness, but this is one of those times that it does some good). One of the few big titles I will be checking out is Dying Light. Dying Light looks extremely cool and I was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to see it at E3. I am so ready to kill some zombies while free running.
Spearhead Games recently announced their intention to launch Tiny Brains with the PlayStation 4’s launch lineup. I will be checking out one of the multiplayer modes offered in the game. The game looks pretty cool, hopefully it offers some fun multiplayer experiences. Another PlayStation 4 multiplayer title we are checking out at PAX is Secret Ponchos, which looks amazing. I played the game when I was at E3 checking out Sony’s We Love Devs corner. Secret Ponchos has a great vibe to it with its spaghetti western inspired aesthetic, the 2 vs. 2 team match was fun and the characters seem to have meaningful differences. I hope to see more good things for this PS4 title. Also, we will be checking out another PS4 game, Contrast. The trailers for the game won me over immediately with its emphasis on shadows, seemingly film noir tone and visuals that seem reminiscent of Psychonauts. I am excited to see how the game plays and how its shadow mechanics work.
The other appointments we have are for some promising games from small teams. For anyone that hasn’t heard of it yet, Teslagrad looks like it will be one of the cooler titles this year. The team at Rain Games seem to be making one hell of a puzzle/platformer in Teslagrad with its strong visual look and smart gameplay (at least from the demo they released for the game). There is something about the game that reminds me of Jonathan Blow’s Braid, but it might simply be my dumb brain’s desire to make connections. This is a game to watch when it comes out in Fall on PC, PS3 and Wii U. Check back for more on the Wii U build. Another cool title I will be checking out is the gorgeous strategy-RPG meets adventure game, The Banner Saga from Stoic Studios. Then there is Aaru’s Awakening from Lumenox Games, which looks incredible. It has a feeling of Okami with the visual style of The MAXXX. Chance and I will also be checking out SpeedRunners from DoubleDutch and tinyBuild, which looks like it will be a chaotic and delightful multiplayer experience. SpeedRunners is currently available on Steam Early Access.
There are games I plan to check out like the extremely cool Electronic Super Joy from Michael Todd Games and the intriguing Legend of Dungeon from Robot Loves Kitty (Electronic Super Joy is currently available on Steam and Legend of Dungeon comes out on Sep 13). The one panel I am attending with any certainty is the SuperGiantGames panel, which should be extremely illuminating. Also, Chance and I plan to see the GiantBomb panel because those guys have fun!
Anyway, that is the stuff I plan to check out, but I have left plenty of time to wander and get lost. Hopefully that leads to discovering some cool things that PR e-mails couldn’t prepare me for. I have no expectations for how this should go, which is probably how it should be, but PAX should be a lot of fun. Even if it isn’t, it is Seattle! There has to be some goofy tourist $*it to do. I hear there is a needle that goes to space. Or at least, I can get really drunk.