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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Inside the PAX West 2016

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The PAX West 2016 show was all right.

Formerly known as PAX Prime, the original Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle held its own for another year for the video gaming and tabletop gaming communities. For the digital forefront, definite trends showed well in the big rooms; with a rise in live-streaming channels, virtual reality (VR) tech, open-world games, and e-sports competitions. Final Fantasy XV, the new Warcraft expansion, ARK: Survival Evolved, Earthfall, Hob stood out as the most heavily promoted. Among fans, games held their own presence with little developer support with ever-present cosplay and fan cheer; such includes but not limited to are Overwatch, League of Legends, Pokémon Go, Street Fighter, past Final Fantasy games, and anything Nintendo franchise-based.

The physical tabletop realms were not as loud but just as colorful with their own trends in party-based card games. Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering had rooms and whole areas. Many newcomers fresh off their Kickstarters were easily accessible, but not as visible in the basement ACT Theater and Floor 6 areas. Everywhere, willing players can spend time meeting new friends while discovering new games to play. Merchants selling games and gaming paraphernalia were also present.

Below, are my choice moments of the 2016 PAX west show, captured in time with a little blurb on each:

The best booth of the show is definitely the one promoting ARK: Survival Evolved, where attendees may go up a staircase and mount a large dinosaur.

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Some awesome creature promoting the Earthfall game

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The Nintendo handheld booth moved for this year, now in the indoors area..

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The Logitech gaming and computer accessories booth had a fantastic light display that utilized light-up keyboards, showing changing animations.

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A couple of cosplay promoters at the Puzzles and Dragons booth.

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The Bandai-Namco booth greeted fans with a cool group of Tekken cosplayers.

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Gamers gotta game, even in full warrior attire…

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Dungeon League, by Surprise Attack, got much attention at their booth. I like the pretty colors..

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Mekazoo, a fantastic looking side-scroller still in development but playable here. I look forward to its eventual release.

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A giant skull with screens on its shades. Love it!

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The upcoming South Park: Fractured but Whole game, presented here with the Nosulous Rift device, which is capable of emitting fart smells into the nostrils of its players. Yup, technology has come a long way!

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Not sure from this cosplayer hails from, but her presentation is awesome.

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A pathway many PAX attendees will easily miss, hidden almost behind the main escalator. For the moment, there is a quiet almost calming ambiance.

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The small room where the Cards with Humanity game and game exclusives are sold, along with some interesting new games (of which I should have written down, but I remember a game called Secret Hitler stood out)

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A trio of cosplayers on break..

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The Nintendo Lounge area, now with a section I think houses the Pokémon crowd…

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A tense game of Jenga with giant blocks

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A Warhammer miniatures game set-up on the Skybridge…

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An amazing construct of the USS Missouri made of Lego bricks, to promote the World of Warships game…

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Amazing detail!

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A sample scenario from an odd game called God Hates Charades.

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A trip of cosplayers emulating the cast of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

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The famous Paramount Theater, used by the Wizards of the Coast company to host their Magic the Gathering card game tournaments and gameplays…

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A closer look at that stage…

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A gaming creator and designer pioneer, Tetsuya Mizuguchi. His produced Lumines, Rex, Meteos, Space Channel 5. He also directed Child of Eden.

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A new game for the Playstation 4, Drawn to Death, where the player fights to survive a demented notebook of sinister sketches. This, was my favorite banner of the show.

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Not sure what game this was promoting, but bravo to the awesome puppetry design and craft work.

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“Cindy” with her truck promoting the Final Fantasy XV game.

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And at the end of my PAX trip, a cheerful gang of Toads!

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Well, that’s all for this year, as I look forward to the next.

– Orion T