Monday, March 14, 2011

PAX East 2011 Wrapup

Short version: It was a BLAST! Long version, after the jump...

Finally meeting my editor Susan Arendt, the Loading Ready Run crew, Shamus and all the other Escapist peeps in person, plus doing the movie-night panel that went KICKASS.

Ah, cons - where $5 for a slice of pizza somehow sounds briefly reasonable...

For the first half-second of picking it up, my heart-sank: "Oh no... the 3D doesn't work." But once your eyes find "dead center" magic-eye style a half-second later... damn, that's a nifty effect - it really does look like the screen is a "portal" reaching much deeper into the background than possible in your hand, which is freaky as hell at first - and I'll bet it'll be even more impressive when not under harsh convention lightning (i.e. when the screen is the brightest thing in your field of vision.) I'm still not 100% sure if the effect has a practical application outside of looking cool, and I can see myself switching the 3D off for longer sessions, but it works and even absent 3D the graphics/controls are - as expected - terrific.

Hadn't been following development on this, but evidently an online/co-op 3rd-person shooter that looks like "Gears of War" with a stylized, cartoon/comic inspired design aesthetic. They were putting on quite a show.

It's "Mortal Kombat 2" gone 2.5D in High-Definition and with tag-team play... and there isn't a DAMN THING wrong with that! They had it set up in oldschool arcade-style cabinets complete with "fighter stick" controls; played a match against a friendly stranger and suddenly it was the tolerable part of the 90s again - sooo satisfying to hear "Finish Him!" again. This thing will be HUGE.


TheAlmightyNarf said...

The best part was chatting-up cute nerdy girls.

I mean... um... going to all the panels and learning a lot about the game development process and not getting the numbers for girls in line next to me while waiting for said panels.

Chris Cesarano said...

The 3DS was one of the best aspects of the show floor for multiple reasons. I think the highlight for me was, despite the long line, all you had to do was wait 15-20 minutes and then you had a whole buffet of video games to play. It was awesome.

I found that with some games it was better to turn the 3D off. Steel Diver is a perfect example, as moving the 3DS so much meant you kept losing that precious "just right" spot. Simultaneously, Steel Diver is a lot more interesting game than I had anticipated despite the simplicity. Kid Icarus could use an option to increase look sensitivity for the ground-based sections, though. The on-rails flight mode was awesome, but might not carry the whole game if the other half is awkward (sort of like Deadly Creatures on the Wii, where the Tarantula sections rock and the Scorpion sections suck).

It does make me wonder why we're not getting a Star Fox game in 3D.

It's a shame you didn't get to see the Earth Defense Force game, as that seems like it might be right up your alley. The previous game, 2017, was a blast (especially on co-op) as it's just you (and maybe a friend) against hordes of giant bugs and robots, campy 50's monster movie style. Unlocking rapid-fire Rocket Launchers and ridiculous missiles just boosts the fun. The sequel looks to be just as fun, only more polish.

By the way, I'm the guy whose Godzilla shirt you complimented and got the photo with you and Shamus. I really, REALLY wish I wasn't geeking out so much. I always imagined myself to be calm and collected when meeting anyone of any level of celebrity (and yes, Internet celebrity is still celebrity), but you and Shamus are two of my three game critic idols (the third being the Extra Credits crew). So the whole time I was feeling like a giddy teenage Otaku girl that just got to meet a real live Sephiroth (and survive!).

Were I intelligent I would have offered to buy you a drink after LRR's screening, and by time it occurred to me I thought "Nah, I don't want to be peacocking for his attention like that huge crowd".

Oh well. There's always next year. Thanks for the photo-op. If you want I can send you a link once I manage to get it uploaded.

Trevor_szxygy said...

MovieBob, why do you hate the 90's so much? Besides the Clone Saga, the implosion of rap and some political snafus, I can't really think of any reasons to hate it.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Oh, yea... 3,500 people shouting out "Jenga! Jenga! Jenga!" was probably the single most exciting moment of the entire expo.

KingOfDoma said...

*really should have waited for a game OTHER than Nintendogs to open up*

Also, I was at the LRR panel. I am SO going to hold you to that promise of collaboration with them...

Ezenwa said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Bob. Are you invited to E3?

Daniel R said...

From what I've heard from numerous people I missed a helluva con.

Hope I'll be able to go make it there next time ^_^

Already have the 3DS pre-ordered, nice to know the 3D works, can't wait to have it. What games did you get to try out Bob? Were they any good?

Regarding the MK reboot; Can't wait to play the full game. Me and a buddy of mine spent hours on the demo a few days ago, we're both psyched!

That Firefall game looks... interesting.

Anonymous said...

Oh,'s okay. I'm 31 years old, I've given birth twice, and I was hit on three times Saturday. We know it's one of the perks. We also appreciate you being much nicer about it than some of the ComiCon guys.

Man, that was fun! Next year I'm doing the whole weekend. My favorite part was actually the "Females on Female Characters" panel. Susan Arendt is so cool and smart and funny. She's my new hero. Also, my best friend had a nerdgasm at meeting Kathleen DeVere.

Bob, you really should have known better about the food. You're a local, aren't you? There are places where the food is pricey, but at least it's worth it. Yes, I walked a quarter mile and paid $20 for my dinner, but it was excellent and accompanied by some truly expert drinks.

Or did the bosses not let you leave the Center? That would suck.

Anonymous said...

Well...if I'm being truly honest, my favorite part was all the male enforcers in their kilts. Mmmmmmen in kilts.

Josh said...

Susan's absolutely fantastic. Did you get to meet Russ, as well? They made GameX for me, even if the rest of the convention ended up a little lackluster.

Chris Cesarano said...

The only panel I may have enjoyed more than the Fems on Fems was Twisted Pixel's Variety Hour, and only because I laughed a lot more. Intellectually speaking, the Fems on Fems was...just damn incredible.

I wish more stuff like this happened on the East Coast. That weekend was just too awesome to only happen once a year. Too bad VGXPO and GameX seem to have permanently died.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Novice

Is it much different at ComiCon? I honestly don't go to many cons as I'm not really into comics/manga and gaming cons are few and far between, but I would'a thought the crowd would have been more or the less the same.