Wandering through PAX West 2018

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A week passed since attending PAX West 2018 in Seattle, a grand annual event for video and tabletop gamers. The memories of this annual event remains fresh.

The show was an overall blast, yet not the best attended over the recent years. The favored part was the significant rise in indie games pushed by smaller developers, looking to gain fame through playable demos and cheap giveaways. Also, plenty of merch sold at booths, especially pins. The gaming tech seemed plentiful, with plenty to demo and purchase.

The downside was the reduction in tabletop games. No large booths or big promotional events for any card or board games. Magic: The Gathering was hardly noticeable, compared to last year where Wizards of the Coast reserved an entire theater. I didn’t see any Cards Against Humanity promotion either, which felt like a bigger part of PAX from past years. I spent nearly all of my time with the video games for this round.

Meanwhile, much of gaming space on the exhibit floor was dedicated to the new trends in the video gaming industry – e-sports, streaming, influencer personalities, and the overall attention given to spectator aspects. Little of that appealed to me and felt like space that could have been utilized better. Whatever, as I do enjoy a Let’s Play or YouTube personality at times, just not here.

The company displays were a bit disappointing. No huge and ridiculous dioramas, or overly large statues or looming creatures. Just a lot of boring logos and posters in lights. I expect more from PAX, based on past years.

But overall, I still had a lot of fun and got all these pins (some purchased, some free)…

I did wander around for much of the time and took pictures. I share below some shots with more notes on the show…

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A typical view of a PAX West game booth, between the Ubisoft and Discord booths.

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The usual sea of computers for players to game together using the most updated gear. Here, Rocket League is still a thing among the big crowds, or not. It’s hard to tell.

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I didn’t see as much cosplay for this round of PAX. But, the Darksiders booth did step things up a bit with their own.

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Mega Man aims for anyone looking to cut in line to play the Mega Man 11 demo, which was about a two-hour wait. I went through it, and have to admit…it was worth it (and not just for the free pin).

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At the EV3A booth, and here…not sure what this is.

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Some cosplayers together,  geared and badass.

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Some Pyre cosplay. Pyre is a very underrated game. You should play it.

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One large booth premiering the upcoming Gris game in playable demo form, a fresh storyline based platformer with beautiful hand-drawn graphical elements.

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A stage tournament between two pros, locked in Dragonball FighterZ combat.

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Some sweet Splatoon cosplay.

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And a truly awesome Robotic Operating Buddy (or B.O.B), is the best (and only personally seen cosplay of its kind). Well done!

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An oddity I played at the Square Enix booth, The Quiet Man….a game where you play a deaf man in some urban drama. Interesting idea, but some very corner fighting reminiscent of the PS2 era.

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The Jackbox stage, where the play is both the audience and the entertainment, as one logs into the Jackbox website to participate, and engage in silly games.

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The developer crew of another indie title with its booth, The Messenger…a cool old school ninja-gaidenesque slashy platformer indie title. The crew was very excited to personally promote and share.

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Boyfriend Dungeon, a fresh oddity that combines dating with dungeon crawling. Weird dating games with an anime appeal are a rising trend now.

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One of the many panels attended, “We’re all Frauds! PAX West Edition,” with Doctor B [Clinical Director, Take This], Callie Holmes [Web Development Engineer II, Amazon], Tanya DePass [Founder, I Need Diverse Games], Matt Dolbill [Associate Attorney, Morrison & Lee LLP], Katrina Keller [Operations Director, Take This], Katie Golden [Producer, Bungie]. All here to discuss and advise on the problems of self-doubt in creative development ventures.

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Another panel, “(Re) Introducing Escapist Magazine: We Had Issues,” with Russ Pitts [Editor-in-Chief, Escapist Magazine], Graham Stark [President, Bionic Trousers], MovieBob [Creator, Freelance], Yahtzee [Critic, Escapist Magazine]. All here to promote the relaunch of the longtime game news site. I was especially excited to see Yahtzee, one of my favorite game reviewers (Zero Punctuation) present.

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The Guild Wars 2 booth, hosted by a large Griffon mount. I think this was the only mountable creature for this event. Last year, I recall at least five mountable statues.

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My Friend Pedro, another exciting upcoming game of interest at PAX West. This one a physics-based action based platformer that feels a little like a mix of Mirror’s Edge and Hotline Miami.

Maple Story had a huge booth promoting its sequel, Maple Story 2. The original was a cult hit a decade ago, and cool to see it still going and have a huge following here.

A neato life-sized diorama at the Facebook Games booth, promoting Stormland. Take a picture with you in it, then play another game there to receive a special enamel pin of a Facebook emote…yay.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is huge, and so was there silly miniature gold course which seemed as both a promo and reward for its growing fandom. I never played the game but had a blast here (and got a set of four free pins).

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And that was all PAX, in a nutshell, just a metaphorical golf course of one thing to another, amused by visuals and play.

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And that’s all for this year. I had some fun, but hoping next year is much better.

 

About Orion T (209 Articles)
Writer, photographer, editor, local traveler. Also, very engaged with the production and interactivity of creative work, especially in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. Follow my personal adventures at travelingorion.com, and reports of sci-fi/fantasy at strangerworld.com.

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