01 September, 2009

PAX 2009: In My Mind, I'm Already Gone

written by Blain Newport on Monday, August 31, 2009

PAX is imminent. I'm leaving tomorrow (today when this posts). I've got a couple more Blood posts in the queue, but after that I may not have any posts until I get back. The hostel has some web stations, but they're really old and slow and have random files and programs sitting on the desktop. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they had key loggers on them, waiting to steal people's passwords.

I'm still taking my little notebook and my camera (which I will probably neglect to use again), so there'll be at least one or two giant post-PAX posts.

My plan is to spend most of my time standing in lines. The *#%^ing thing sold out. 75,000 people. They say they've got more floor space than before, but I think it's still going to be horrible lines everywhere. We'll see if anything can top last year's 190 minutes in line for a 10 minute demo.

Which lines will I be in? Bless your contrived curiosity. :)

I'll be in lines on the expo floor, mostly. I want to get my hands on new stuff. I don't know why. A noisy convention hall is not a good environment and the need to get as much of the experience as possible in ten minutes doesn't help. But for some reason, that's what I want to do.

I won't be skipping the panels entirely. I'll check in on the Listen UP podcast guys to make sure they've got an audience. They're up against the concert and have expressed concern about having enough people there. Personally, I don't think they have anything to worry about. Anamanaguchi is the band they're opposite. The band rocks, but PAX is about games. Regardless, the expo will be closed, so I'll be a seat filler if they need one.

Since discovering the podcast around the time of the last PAX, I've become a fan of GeekNights. Rym and Scott will be conducting three panels, and I'm tentatively planning to hit up two of them. Beyond Dungeons and Dragons is basically about why old RPGs are lame and newer ones are awesome. I wouldn't be surprised if I never played a pen and paper RPG again, but I hung out with the people who were playing after this panel, and they were doing awesome stuff. One guy basically took five random people and turned them into a functioning writer's room in under thirty minutes. It was amazing and I want to know more.

They'll also be doing a panel that posits the question of how to make losing the point of a game. There's another panel about losing, but it's only one guy presenting, and seems a little theoretical. I tend to prefer the specific references gamers make. It's easier to get my head around.

There are other panels I wouldn't mind hitting up (especially if my feet stage a mutiny).

There's going to be a table top gaming panel with STEVE FREAKING JACKSON on it. Table top gamers of my generation grew up with Car Wars, the Illuminati card game, and GURPS, so even if I don't care much about the panel, it would be cool to say I saw it.

Likewise the Borderlands panel where the president, creative director, and vice-president of Gearbox will be showing off the game could be cool. I really want that game to rock the house down. But they should be having hands-on demos what with the game being roughly a month from release, so I'm pretty skeptical.

I don't intend to hit up any concerts. They're hot and noisy and I'll have been standing all day already. I suspect I'll wind down by hitting up console freeplay, then heading back to the hostel. I fully intend to get some sleep this year so as not to repeat my blunders of locking my lock in my locker and forgetting my new ATM PIN, leaving myself cashless. I had to use the refunded deposit on my room key just to pay for the bus back to the airport. :P

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