Saturday, August 30, 2008

PAX 2008, Day One

The best thing from day one was the exhibit hall. It appears to be almost twice the size of last year's hall, with tons of booths, displays, open consoles and PCs for demos.

My friend Shawn and I had two bad "line-waiting" experiences. The first was waiting to enter the convention itself at 2p. We waited probably an hour, winding through one of the larger exhibition rooms. The thing that made it not enjoyable at all was that we weren't able to see the presentation we wanted, which was the Speed Run gaming video. First of all, the scheduling appears to have been poorly planned as the Speed Run presentation was scheduled to begin at 2p, which was right when the doors were supposed to open. So, in order to make the presentation on time, I suppose one would have had to have been within the first several hundred people admitted to the convention right at 2p.

We weren't, so we didn't make it over there until just before 3p. It turns out that the DVD they were going to play somehow didn't work, so we didn't miss it anyway. We asked if they were going to show it again, but they didn't know. Plus, it was going to be shown via projector, and the glare from the windows directly behind us didn't allow a decent viewing anyway.

The second experience was waiting to see Ken Levine's keynote speech. To make a long story short, we waited in line for about 30 minutes before being told the room was at capacity and we could wait for the next event in that room if we wanted to.

We didn't.

On to something cool, there was this group of guys outside on the sidewalk who had modded GameBoys to play music, and they were making some really good stuff. This was the setup:

Gameboy music

Also, in the main Exhibit Hall I ran into the same woman who last year was promoting the Conan game, but this year she was promoting Saints Row 2. Quite stunningly beautiful, and as sweet and nice as can be. She's the one on the left:

Saint's Row 2 women

And we'll end with this one:

IMGP0240

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First leg of PAX trip complete

I flew into Portland, OR, last night to stay with a couple of friends. I flew Alaska/Horizon airlines and they actually served complimentary beer in-flight! Not something weak like Bud Light, a nice amber ale, "Drop Top Amber Ale" from Widmer Brothers. Good stuff, particularly when it's free.

After dinner, we went to Doug Fir Lounge to watch The Walkmen. The venue was really cool -- basement-level with a 1960's decor and logs all around the walls, almost like a huge ... log cabin. Makes for a nice feel and good sound. I liked the band, too. Their singer has a heluva voice. I heard shades of Bob Dylan in the way he led into some notes, but he could wail like Bono or Chris Martin of Coldplay.

This morning I'm playing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on PS3. I'm still in the early stages of the game, familiarizing myself with the controls and relearning the history and past events in the series. It was a bit frustrating to have an eight minute install before being able to play, but hopefully that means shorter level load times overall throughout the game.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Penny Arcade Expo 2008

It draws near on the horizon, a bit more real now that I've received my ticket to ride:

PAX 2008

I went in 2005 and 2007 and am truly looking forward to this year.

All of gaming's major players will be there as exhibitors, as well as independent and small companies and developers. One new feature this year will be "The PAX 10," which will provide a forum to promote independent games. This is a collection of the top ten independent games, selected by a panel of experts gathered by the Penny Arcade guys, from submissions which will be voted on by attendees during the show.

August 29 - 31. More to follow.