Friday, March 11, 2011

PAX East, Day 1

Today Lynsey and I woke up early, ate a quick breakfast and hopped on the T headed toward the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for the first day of PAX East 2011.

Now, the profuse rain certainly didn’t help but I have to say that our very first impressions weren’t great. The venue is huge and while it’s great for making me feel like there is room to breathe working your way around the place proved to be quite the challenge and no one working the event seemed very sure of where things were. However, seeing as how the “staff” is largely comprised of gamers volunteering I really can’t give them a hard time.

The first event of the day was the keynote speech by Jane McGonigal who, in addition to welcoming everyone and getting the crowd excited for the events to come, did a great summary of her book “Reality is Broken”. Having not read the book myself I can’t really critique her material too much but I will say that it certainly piqued my interest, even if it did seem a bit idealistic at times. McGonigal herself was energetic, comfortable, and confident and did a fantastic job getting everyone pumped up.

First up on the show floor for us was a look at Nintendo's 3DS. While I’m generally not a handheld gamer I was curious as to how the technology of the device works and I have to say I was pretty damned impressed with it. After a few seconds of letting my eyes adjust to the screen I found the 3D effect to be surprisingly clear, clean, and effective. It honestly looked and felt fantastic and though I’m still not convinced my life would be incomplete without one I found myself thinking about it the rest of the day.

Well, until we hit the Portal 2 booth.

After grabbing some free Aperture Science t-shirts we headed inside a wall-up room and saw new footage from the upcoming game including a PAX East exclusive look at the character Cave Johnson, creator and CEO of the aforementioned company. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m more excited for the actual game or the hilarious and smart dialogue that comes with it. Speaking of amazing writing, it was a pretty awesome moment when Lynsey looked at a man by the booth and said, “I know I’ve seen that guy before” and me going, “Dude! That’s Chet Faliszek!”.

Valve fangirls to the end, friends.

After the Valve presentation we went in search of food and after paying $12 for a small sandwich, chips, and a soda (expected but still annoying) it was back to the show floor for a quick look around before we headed to one of the many free play rooms for a relaxing game of Left 4 Dead.

Tomorrow’s plans include the panel “Females on Female Characters” as well as checking out Rockstar’s L.A. Noire and Projet Origin’s FEAR 3 as well as some others.

See you then!

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