I spent this past weekend in Seattle at Penny Arcade Expo 2008, which is a great big convention for gamers of all sorts and those of similar persuasions. I met up with Riad, Gautham and Ariel in Seattle and we had an awesome time. Between the exhibit hall, the panels, the talks, the tournaments, the freeplay areas and all of the other people, PAX was three solid days of fun. I highly recommend PAX, in the future, to anyone with any interest in video games, board games, the Internet or good times in general.
For me, the major highlights of PAX were:
- Monsterpocalypse - Privateer Press was selling preview releases of their new game, Monsterpocalypse. Monsterpocalypse is a collectible miniatures game focused around destroying opposing monsters and cities. It is a very well constructed game and a heck of a lot of fun to play; I purchased enough for two people to play and I intend to get more when the game is actually released in October. I played two games at PAX, one more last night and I really like this game. Monsterpocalypse is awesome and I highly recommend looking into it.
- Starcraft II - Blizzard had playable demos of Starcraft 2 up and it seems really good. Starcraft 2 seems to have kept the feel and gameplay of the original while replacing some of the interface annoyances, improving the graphics and adding a few more units. I am now really looking forward to Starcraft 2's release.
- Demigod - I hadn't heard of Demigod before PAX but, as one of the random things I saw in the exhibit hall, it looks like a lot of fun. I probably won't get Demigod because it seems like the sort of game that's best suited to multi-player, which I haven't really been in a good situation for since undergrad, but if I were looking for a fun multi-player game, Demigod would be on my short list.
- Minibosses - The Minibosses, a rock band that exclusively plays covers of video game music, were the last act at PAX's Saturday night concert. I've seen the Minibosses before as they've played Steer Roast a couple of times but they're still great. There is something particularly awesome about hearing the theme song to Ninja Gaiden, Megaman 2 or Metroid played on electric guitars, bass and drums. The Minibosses played a ~2 hour set that was solid glory and totally worth staying up until 3AM for.
- MC Frontalot - MC Frontalot is probably the best known and most popular nerdcore hip hop artist. Frontalot is pretty good and an awful lot of fun. He puts on a great show and his raps are really entertaining and well targeted at the audience. Heck, Frontalot is probably responsible for making nerdcore what it is today.
- Pitch Your Game Idea - We pitched the oft-discussed in Fort Awesome game idea for Eco-Slayer, which met with mass audience approval but didn't win any prizes with the panel. The reactions and getting an honorable mention from three of the four judges was pretty great. Shout outs to Mar, whose idea Eco-Slayer was originally.
- DTS - PAX had this wonderful system called the Distributed Tournament System; basically they gave you two pins at the beginning of PAX to wear. If you were wearing at least one DTS pin and saw someone else wearing at least one DTS pin, you could challenge them for a pin. The challenge could take any form you wanted, in previous years it was only for handheld gaming, and the goal was to collect the most pins at PAX. I didn't really collect as many as I should have but I had an awful lot of thumb wars, Indian wrestling contests and games of rock-paper-scissors. DTS made for a great way to interact with and meet random new people, even if it was just for a short competition and conversation. Seriously though, I had some truly epic thumb wars, one even ended in a draw after about 15 minutes of fierce competition.
- Other people - One of the best things about PAX was all the other people. Sure there were some annoying socially awkward people but there were also a lot of really cool people. It was a great big convention for people that like some of the things that I like and for which I, as a person, probably fell within one standard deviation of normal. It was a nice feeling being surrounded, in a sense, by my peoples.