PAX West 2017 Part 2, Outside the Expo Hall

Last week, I attended the PAX West 2017, an awesome event of video and tabletop games. I wrote some words about it in a recent Part 1 post, where I shared my pics and observations on the main Expo Hall.

Now, I share the rest, which I found much more exciting and expansive. Below are more pictures and notes of select moments of this fun show. Take a look!

I spent much time on the sixth floor checking out the PAX 10, a select group of indie games hosted by their creators. Among them, West of Loathing caught my eye for its interesting, fun choice of style.

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Also among the PAX 10, I enjoyed Tiny Bubbles, a puzzle game that feels therapeutic and comforting. I like to see bubbles pop.

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An interesting side thing happening among the indie games out there – cartridge games developed by gaming fans for old console systems. Retrotainment Games showed some interesting new game cartridges, playable for the NES.

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This PAX West, I also attended many panels. This panel, was about the Youtube gameplay streaming scene, hosted by the Gaming Grandma, Shirley Curry.

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Another panel, this on overlooked job opportunities among game company developers. This chart gives a good look at what’s out there for those interested…

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The Nintendo Metroid Panel focused on Samu’s return to the 2-D platform for the 3DS. Much was shown, but the highlight for me is this fan-art by James Franzen (@goshadale)…

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In light of Metroid, here is some amazing Samus cosplay…

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Another panel on game writing. Lots so helpful advice on creating fiction in the world of gaming.

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A personal favorite of PAX in the past years; the Late Night Dub Fight..where a group of comedics improv and dub various (and some very familiar) cartoons and live-action video clips.

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Also around PAX West, many board games. Sometimes, just seeing one with a lot of setup is a beautiful thing to photograph. I didn’t get the name of this, but I really want to play it

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In the basement area kind of hidden, was the Indie Megabooth for tabletop gaming. Some very fresh, and just getting the word out on their games. Here is Sarah’s Singularity, a game of time travel and alternate timelines.

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Also much enjoyed in the same room, Cult Following. A game involving cults, with a lot of goofy aspects to it.

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Someone Had Died, a game that caught my interest most so. It’s a game of winning an inheritance, by building upon a story following someone’s sudden demise.

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Another new game of interest: Now Everyone get the F%$# Out,  a game of drunken party antics. The game creator (I didn’t get his name, argh) gave me a spirited introduction.

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Back to the main floor, and more cosplay. Here is some lovely Final Fantasy XIV presentation.

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League of Legends cosplay!

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Squids from Space Cosplay

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Not sure on this group. I like the costumes.

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Fire Emblem cosplay.

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The final morning of the grand PAX West adventure, greeted by some of the ever-awesome PAX Enforcers (paid volunteers of the show).

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One thing I loved about this convention vs. other shows, is the line entertainment brought on by some of the PAX Enforcers. Some had goofy games to share, others played music. Overall, a great dedication from the managment to try and make more minutes of the show count.

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One of the big PAX West live events, a role-playing session with Jim Darkmagic (Mike Krahulik), Omin Dran (Jerry Holkins), Viari (Patrick Rothfuss), and special guest star, Strix (Holly Conrad)

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One of the many music concerts, tributing game music and culture. Here jamed the Bit Brigade, remixing the old NES Batman while it played on in the background.

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The last event attended for me, was the Omegathon: Final Round. This being a competition of a surprise game chosen (Nidhogg 2) for the 2 final players. The match was quite exciting (but was interupted with some technical difficulties).

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That’s all for now. I very much enjoyed this PAX West, with so much done and new friends made, games discovered, and many cheers put out. I look forward to the next year!

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PAX West 2017 Part 1, Within the Expo Hall

PAX West for this 2017, was a joy to many. Though which kind of joy was left to the time spent in attending.

PAX West (formally known as the original Penny Arcade Expo, then PAX Prime) remains the largest event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, catering to the video game and tabletop participant mindset. Still in downtown Seattle after many years, the event is host to hundreds of companies big and small, and its many ticket holders (at least 70,000). The feelings shared among us involved excitement, cheer, and anticipation of gaming.

For me, the event was about exploration into the ever-changing industry of interactive games and its culture. More competitive co-op games are the rage, showing off on the main Expo floor. All and everywhere are the clear money-making trends in the industry; and not just with the games, but the streaming and e-sports culture as well.

Below, are pictures with notes of the main PAX West Expo floor, a dark place lit by many screens and LEDs.

The entrance into the realm of digital wonders, guarded by a large dragon promoting Clash of Kings. It could have done without annoying social media marketing sign.

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One of many booths boosting the e-sports aspect of the current game culture. Live competitive gameplay isn’t my jam, but I like the vibrant lights.

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The Ultron Sigma statue at the Capcom booth didn’t get much love promoting the fourth installment of the Capcom vs. Marvel fighting game. I wanted to leave a big bowl of nachos on its lap.

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The statue is not as big as it looks. Yet, it stands mighty for Adris PC gaming equipment…yay!

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Service animals are welcome on the PAX floor. This one was comfortable with Nintendo’s famous plumber.

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At a booth promoting some new Warframe game. Pose with the cool looking flying mech-thing above, and get a bandana. Then save it, maybe wear it, then pass it on to someone’s grandchildren.

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The Dauntless game booth, to promote its game where monsters are hunted. Here you get a rare pin, by standing in line for over an hour, then grouped in a battle where all must defeat some “behemoth” that take forever to kill. A lot of sad faces walked away pinless.

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The Monster Hunter World booth, where a mighty dragon scoffs at PAXers brave (or not)  a three-hour line to play its demo and get another rare pin.

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Just the Nintendo booth, promoting stuff I didn’t get a big chance to see because it was too small and crowded. Sigh..

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Some cosplay pushed to promote products, I believe. This one promoted the Shadowverse game at the Twitch booth.

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Speaking of Shadowverse, here is a scary carrot monster promoting the game. Someone nearby handed me an awesome Shadowverse carrot card when I asked about it.

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Some cosplay, of something not sure. League of Legends?

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More cosplay, of something not sure. League of Legends?

More cosplay between the booths. Go team Halo!!!

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Those are some of the highlights of the Expo floor. I was drawn to far much more around here, and also outside, around the PAX West. I will share some of those highlighted moments with more pics and noted, in my next show write-up.

The Amazing Cosplay of the 2017 Sakura-Con

The cosplay at many anime conventions often represents the best in fandom participation, especially when such comes to craftsmanship and detail. The 2017 Sakura-Con Northwest Anime Festival in Seattle showed a tremendous frequency in the costumed participants and gave the event a special vibrancy for this year.

I present this follow-up to my recent Sakura-Con report, to the amazing cosplay present among the attendees. Below, are those in small groups and individual shots, who kindly posed for the camera (thanks to all featured below). Click on each picture for costume reference. For those I could not identify  but marked with “?,” I would love some help in the comments.

 

 

Group shots are coming soon. Check back with SW soon for more Sakura-Con and cosplay action!

All pictures taken by me (Orion Tippens), please ask permission and give source credit to strangerworlds.com before sharing elsewhere. For cosplayers featured and pictured here, please feel free to use the pics on your site and social media connections (but sourcing would be kind).

SW 2017 Emerald City Comic Con Show Report

The 2017 Emerald City Comic Convention in Seattle happened last weekend, delighting many for its 15th successful year.

I attended for my 5th consecutive year.

I spent one full day through what some say is the largest comics convention in the Pacific Northwest. That which is sad, being the comic books presence was not front and center for this year. Attending for my fifth year, I felt disappointed. Its artist alley, located on an upper floor while back issues, trades, and graphic novels sellers were held further back. The larger comic publishers (Image, Dark Horse, Valiant, Boom!, Oni) stood tall and proud, yet somewhat hidden in the mass jungle of gaming, anime, pop-culture merch and pop sci-fi art dealers and small publishers. Still, much fun for the attendees who now come to these comic conventions in search for such. I, being a comic enthusiast wished better for the struggling sequential arts industry.

Yet, there was a good presence of creative talent present, both old and new.  The great Stan Lee was present, in panels and for autographs. Most of the Image Comics founders were also present for their 25th anniversary for a panel and signings; including Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, and Jim Valentino. Sadly, no core founder Jim Lee present. Meanwhile, in Artist Alley, many familiar faces to the comics industry were also present; Tim Sale, Mike Mignola, Jeff Lemire, Mark Waid, Babs Tarr, Scott Snyder, andm more.

I was also pleased to see the growing presence of webcomics among the traditional monthly comics. Cyanide and Happiness, The Oatmeal, Agents of the Realm, Namesake, The Meek, and more were present. Such brings hope, that perhaps the comics industry will change and accept the digital frontiers. Then perhaps, learn from the new pioneers in web-coming publishing.

Drawing the bigger numbers were the pop-culture celebs, which included stars from well-known entertainment shows like Daredevil, Stranger Things, Star Trek, Walking Dead. They came, and talked, and signed many things. Such are vital to the success of the show. But, I had little time and patience for the long lines.

So, I walked around a lot and purchased much from the sellers and publishers present. Below, are some pictures and notes of my ECCC 2017 experience.

The crowds were a plenty, and so were the cosplayers. Here, many lined up for a mandatory weapon check. I feel safer already!

No convention or geek-culture pop fest is complete without some attendee dress-up. Here, are two Hobbits.

The best booths here at the ECCC involve the mix of creatives and their products. Here, the cartoonists behind the hit webcomic Cyanide and Happiness, and new hit game Joking Hazard..greeted fans and signed for a bit.

Shane White, present at the Steve Jackson booth for his work as Guest Artist for the new Munchkin Pathfinder game.

Here is Barry Kitson, a professional artist from a range of well-known Marvel and DC comics titles. He was sketching the Hero Initiative booth, a non-profit charity helping comic creators in a time of desperate need. For more info, visit www.heroinitiative.org.

I did not quite get what this costume referred to or about, but I love it!

A Green Lantern group pose, with a little extra green from a possible leprechaun photobomber.

The God of Thunder vs. the Grouch of Sesame.

Pokemon never die, they just multiply. Pickacheers!!

I met Marguerite Bennett at the Aftershock Comics booth. She is the author of one of a new favorite comic series, Animosity, of which she signed the volume 1 trade paperback in her hand.

Comic cons lately have been host to many booths of glorious fan art prints and interpretations. Mike Vasquez had his display. See more at mikegoesgeek.com

I like how this booth utilized its floor space. Check out Terry Huddleston’s work at thuddleston.deviantart.com

Part of the fun of the Comic Cons are the discoveries of new reads. Sometimes, they discover you. Here, self-publisher Travis Vengroff sold me a hardcopy of his new book, Liberty Deception. It’s a sci-fi dystopian thriller, of which I will be reading soon.

Back at the Explosm booth, where the Cyanide and Happiness crew are busy in their cartooning.

A print purchased from the great Duck and McDuck Disney family comics artist, Don Rosa.

I purchased many comics from the back issue bins. This was a favorite among them.

Later into the night, the ECCC Western Championships of Cosplay show…

There was a good mix of masterful hand-made costumes. Many cheers from the audience in return.

Overall, I had a good time at the ECCC for 2017. I spent more than I expected, but with no regrets. I also took more picture of some attendees in colorful cosplay attire. Those will be shown soon, in another posting featuring my favorites in costume as see on the show floors. Look forward!

– Orion T

(photo credits – taken March 2016 by Orion Tippens for strangerworlds.com..please ask permission and credit the site if sharing elsewhere)