The 20-sided Blog: PAX 2011

PAX PrimeFor the second year in a row, we attended the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. The lengthy entry that follows is my account of what went down.

Thursday Night Pre-PAX Gameworks $10 all-you-can-play/Destructoid Mixer:

We had wanted to do a Pre-PAX party, hoping for something like last year’s big Harmonix Rock Band 3 party, but due to PAXDEV happening all of the Pre-PAX parties were closed to the general public.

Instead we headed to Gameworks and walked right through the bar and I thought “Wow, there’s no one here” until we got by the main entrance and there was a line out the door and to the side of the building, which I expected. The guy that got in line behind us was a blogger there for the Destructoid Super Friends Indie Mixer event, which it turned out was in the bar an hour later.

I had brought the 3DS and DS with me to see if I could get guests for my inn on Dragon Quest IX on the DS and StreetPass activity on the 3DS.

While in line to buy our $10 + $2 card handling fee passes for the evening, I already started getting guests and StreetPass tags.

By the end of the evening, I had a bunch of tags and 9 guests for the inn.

We were there to play Tank! Tank! Tank! but on the way through the bar noticed the Pac-Man 4 Player Vs. Battle Royale machine. Since both were occupied, we started out on the classic coin-op machines on the second floor, walking past the crowded Street Fighter IV, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 and Tastunoku Vs. Capcom units and the Tekken 6 and older fighting games to settle in for some Mr. Driller, Robotron 2084, Frogger, Galaxian, Ms. Pac-Man and Arkanoid.

I dislike broken trackballs and still suck at Robotron after all these years. Not much has changed but it is always great to play those games in a real arcade even though I can emulate them all easily on any computer, pretty much all of my consoles and even my phone.

We settled in and played three rounds of Tank! Tank! Tank! which alone covered our $12 cards. I love that game. It was a definite highlight of the night.

After Tank! Tank! Tank! we did indeed play Pac-Man Battle Royale, tying at the end with a score of 5 to 5. My wife claims she won better than I did but I think we both came out winners. Either way, the clash of two Pac-Man titans was fun and I’d imagine would have been much better with four frantic paced players.

We played an older DDR machine and I got pretty tired with three songs on easy, mostly due to being skillless but also due to still being pretty sick.

I sat at a small bar table and got more StreetPass activity and my wife decided she wanted to play Ice Ice Baby and U Can’t Touch This on the newer DDR machine. We filmed that and she closed her three song set with Daft Punk is Playing at My House.

After considering playing the Hummer machines that were jam-packed in the back, we decided Tank! Tank! Tank! was enough and headed back to our hotel to rest up for the main event, Penny Arcade Expo 2011.

PAX Friday:

We got up early enough to eat at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. They had an interesting self pancake maker, which was a good theory but had very slow execution. I had a lot of bacon on my plate and a sampling of the other breakfast foods available. After eating, we headed to the Convention Center and were directed to the queue line, where we eventually got our swag bags and lanyards. Then we headed for the 3rd Floor’s Raven Theatre for our first panel, What They’re Saying About You: How Marketing Segments and Targets Gamers.

We got blocked on our way down the hallway, and ended up waiting on a bench for around half an hour, with me juggling StreetPass and inn guests and my wife looking through the program and checking what was going on on the internet.

Eventually they let us head to the theatre queue and we passed by the Nintendo handheld lounge along the way. It was there that I acquired some tasty Kirby Cotton Candy and when we got in the queue line, we got some cool Pokemon cinch bags. The swag pile had started quickly.

I liked the way they had the room themed out with paper ravens scattered on the soundboard, on top of the projector and along the front of the panel stage. The panel itself was actually pretty informative. We learned that in order to make your game noticed, you probably shouldn’t use Let the Bodies Hit the Floor in the commercial, unless your game merits using Let the Bodies Hit the Floor in the commercial. We learned about how a marketing team tries to get the attention of non-gamers, with the example of a commercial for Rage that featured an NBA Basketball star. It was created specifically for the NBA finals and the marketing team thought it to be extremely successful. One of the panelists also unveiled a very cool piece of swag available at the Bethesda Softworks booth, a horned mask/hat to advertise The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

By the time we got in line for our second panel, I already had acquired 107 StreetPass tags, and gotten 100 new Mii guests in my plaza on the 3DS. I didn’t have much success with getting inn guests on Dragon Quest 9.

The Harridan’s Guide to the Game Industry was in the Serpent Theatre. The highlight of the panel happened before it began when the enforcers were playing “Epic sax guy 10 hours” from YouTube. The panel itself was pretty stupid. I dig that it consisted of female game industry employees. We were really only there because Michelle Juett, art unicorn of Ska Studios was on the panel. Even she didn’t have much to contribute, but she did briefly shout out to James Silva, her boyfriend and founder of Ska Studios who was sitting in the front row.

Otherwise, the panel was a failure in my eyes. The women on the panel all had similar experiences in getting into the industry. Most of them worked first for Arenanet. They didn’t really answer any open questions or say much of anything at all other than how they liked their jobs but they had to put in many hours and encouraged people to use their free time when they are in school to make mods for games and build up their portfolios. Pretty much just common sense stuff.

After the Harridan’s Guide panel, we raced to the Sheraton and got into the overflow line for Wil Wheaton! a very popular panel featuring TV’s Wil Wheaton. I had figured all hope was lost, but when the line condensed we just barely made it into the Pegasus Theatre for the panel.

Wil read stories from his blog about games. One was a recent entry about his experience buying his first Pokemon game at age 38. He purchased Pokemon Black on the recommendation of a friend and ended up spending an entire flight to Europe playing the game instead of sleeping. His next story was about his friend’s custom rules for Dungeons and Dragons and his experience playing the game with those rules. His third story was about getting his wife’s old Atari 2600 out and hooking it up to the TV to demonstrate it for their kids. His son proceeded to own him on Combat and thought Adventure and Yar’s Revenge were pretty lame.

What I like about when Wil talks is that he always adds extended commentary to the stories and often goes off on tangents. Tangents in this talk included his first time telling kids to get off his lawn and his friend’s adventures as a character in D&D based on the Travelocity gnome.

During the Q&A portion of Wil Wheaton! Wil was presented with an actual cape of dicks. Apparently he had mentioned on a podcast that he wanted said cape, and a cosplayer dressed as Amy Pond and her Doctor companion presented it to him. He accepted said gift with glee and wore it for a lot of the expo thereafter.

We retreated to our hotel to recharge and drop off swag after Wil’s panel. We could have gone to another panel or visited the expo hall, but we needed a bit of food and a bit of rest, and had two more days to do those things.

We ate a ham and cheese sandwich from Three Girls Bakery at Pike Place and unloaded our swag. The best swag item we had acquired at that point was a tasty fortune cookie promoting jumala.com. Jumala seems to be a game design firm of some sort. I don’t care who they are, their cookie was good.

After dinner and recharging a bit, we headed to the Paramount Theatre for the night’s Video Game Orchestra/MC Frontalot/Metroid Metal/Minibosses concert.

The line outside was not yet that long, so we were pretty much guaranteed entry. There was an actual tank across the street in a parking lot to promote World of Tanks and my wife and I each got different toy mini-tanks. She got hers the hard way, being thrown one from the top of the tank. Mine got handed to me in line out of a box.

When we got inside we got seats behind the soundboard on the balcony. Our view was just slightly obstructed but the sound was as good as PAX gets.

I didn’t care for the venue. It was pretty inside but just didn’t feel right for PAX to me.

Video Game Orchestra put on an excellent set. They are a ten-piece “rockestra” with string quartet, keyboard, sax, flute, drums, bass and guitar. Their set included music from Mario, Zelda, Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid among others. It was a good mix of songs by a very talented band of musicians.

MC Frontalot showed that he IS the embodiment of PAX during his set. He and his band brought a ton of energy to the stage to do their nerdcore rap performance. He had a drummer, bass player and keyboard player and brought out the string quartet from VGO for one song as well. The crowd demanded an encore and Metroid Metal were gracious enough to allow him to have one. The encore was a mashup of the Penny Arcade Theme Song and the Doctor Who Theme Song. Frontalot was very entertaining and I’m glad we had the chance to see him live.

Metroid Metal were up next and seemed louder than last year. They played a bunch of metal versions of Metroid songs and Frontalot joined them on one track. It was pretty much the same as last year’s PAX when we saw them and I was very tired by the time they came on. One improvement over last year was they got rid of their Metroid balloon and replaced it with “indestructable” Metroid balls that were about the size of beach balls but much better made.

By the time Metroid Metal were done with their set, I’d finished Puzzle Mii and the first run of the Find Mii RPG using StreetPass. We’d had 222 tags and 205 hits in a 24 hour time span. We’d acquired 300+ figures in our Street Fighter IV figure collection. Also, I was exhausted. We left before Minibosses took the stage and retreated back to the Convention Center in search of late night food.

We got pastries, a muffin and a piece of zucchini carrot bread at a small cafe on the first floor of the Convention Center. I also got an extremely scalding hot tea. We headed upstairs to get QR codes for the PAX XP scavenger hunt and stopped by the Nintendo Handheld Lounge for a bit. I started the second go through of the Find Mii RPG and by the end of the night, we were up to 300 StreetPass tags and a Plaza Population of 275 Miis other than my own.

The handheld lounge’s pillows were pretty comfortable. My wife flopped over and did her best Mario 64 version of Mario at rest while the player isn’t moving. Eventually my tea cooled enough to drink and we headed back to our hotel, having had a fun-filled and successful first full day of PAX.

PAX Saturday:

We had decided on Friday to focus on the Exhibit Halls on Saturday, since we had spent a grand total of zero minutes in the Exhibit Halls on the first day.

The PopCap Games Plants vs Zombies Zombies were outside the convention center in Saturday Night Zombie dance gear and dancing to Staying Alive when we got there. We got PvZ light up shaded sunglasses from one of the PopCap employees as we walked past.

Passing by Bandland, there was a small queue for Wil Wheaton and I really wanted to buy a copy of his Games Matter chapbook. The enforcer on duty said to come back around noon, but Pax_Lines on Twitter said the line was closed before then and that there was a special guest joining Wil at his booth.

Once inside the exhibit hall, we headed straight to the Nintendo booth for the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary lanyards they were giving out and to try out the new Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword game. My wife tried out Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D to get a free poster and I asked if there was any StreetPass or SpotPass activity available. I found it very odd that there was nothing for StreetPass or SpotPass in the Nintendo booth. Capcom’s booth nearby got me Capcom employees in my Plaza and lots of Street Fighter hits, enough to max out my 500 figure collection. Sadly I still need 50 figures due to duplicates.

My wife had fun playing Ocarina 3D, but it was the same game that came out over a decade ago. I didn’t care for the control scheme for Skyward Sword, but we both had fun playing the dungeon level that was one of three available to try out. There was also a boss battle and a demo of the bird racing portion of the game available to try out.

After Nintendo, we were headed for the Ska Studios booth and I got distracted by the giant Dragon booth where Bethesda was giving out those cool not viking hats. We spent around an hour and forty minutes in line and got to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for 15 minutes and acquire hats. Some red-headed woman got to cut us in line, which I thought was rude… no wait, it was Felicia Day, fine she can cut. Sadly, we couldn’t watch her playing because of where we were in line at the time, but we know she was there and that was a pretty cool thing. My wife missed catching a Prey2 shirt that was thrown directly to her, because the woman next to her was faster in grabbing it. Prey2 looks pretty great from the demo reel they showed. I’ve never played Prey and may check it out just on the interest I now have for the second game. Skyrim was an Elder Scrolls game. Just like the others in the series but with better graphics and incorporating a lot of the features in later Bethesda titles like Fallout 3. I’ve never been a huge fan of open world “American” RPGS, but this one felt pretty good to play. I liked the little details like fish in the water and butterflies and birds in the air that showed up as I was walking. It felt very immersive. But really, I was there for the hat.

We finally made it to the Ska Studios booth and I bought a red Z0MBIES tee shirt. We played the Windows Phone 7 version of I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1 and Time Viking and ENDL3SS Z0MB1ES!!!1 modes as well. I didn’t care for Time Viking but ENDL3SS Z0MB1ES!!!1 is like crack on a phone. I am jealous of the few people in the world with Windows Phone 7 devices that will be able to purchase the game sometime in the future.

James and Michelle and former Ska employee SuperDunner and another friend were playing Charlie Murder, so we took as much swag as we could and left them to their game, planning to return later and check out their other new game.

We took our lunch break at Jimmy John’s in the US Bank Centre. On they way there we passed by a guy busking playing “Black” by Pearl Jam on his iPhone app, Guitarism (rhism.com). We had a Bootlegger Club sandwich and some Barbecue Chips and there was definitely MSG in those “all natural ingredients” chips. I didn’t really care much at the time, I really needed to eat.

We unloaded our swag and decided to check out Halo Fest next. Halo Fest proper was all about Microsoft’s Halo franchise. What was cool was they also had demos of Fruit Ninja Kinect and Forza 4 Kinect to play. We played Fruit Ninja Kinect twice and had a ball. I also got some Halo mini-figures from MegaBloks that were a nice little collectible and some other Halo swag that wasn’t all that great. We found a discarded Street Fighter X Tekken poster that my wife’s coworker really wanted on a table at Halo Fest as well, so in the end, Halo Fest was a great place to visit.

Next we headed back to the convention center proper and returned to the exhibit hall, where we played Fruit Ninja Kinect at the Halfbrick Studios booth, I found a bug playing Charlie Murder at the Ska Studios booth (Rex “died” when my wife’s character, Lester inadvertantly shocked him with her guitar. I talked to James and Dustin about the bug and then we headed to our first panel of the day, the Harmonix Reverse Q&A at the Serpent Theatre. By this point in the day, I’d amassed an army of 357 Miis in my plaza and 400 StreetPass tags. We were mostly done with Find Mii RPG’s second run through.

They handed out very heavy die cast Dance Central cassette “bling” necklaces. Horrible swag. The panel was also shitty. Harmonix spent the first half of their hour giving a demo of their new iOS app, VidRhythm. I had only briefly read about VidRhythm earlier in the week but since it was a reverse Q&A, I offered a suggestion of what I thought it was. I was right. It takes a quick ten second clip and mashes it up with a pre-recorded song and one of several video templates. It is like a bunch of other pointless iOS apps and it will be $1.99 and probably sell like hotcakes later this year. The only thing the VidRhythm demo was good for was the Wil Wheaton/Paul (of Paul and Storm)/Jonathan Coulton/Stephen Toulouse/Larry Hryb cameos in their first video.

Next, they focused their attention to Dance Central 2. They had a booth for Dance Central 2 on the exhibit hall floor. I don’t give a shit about Dance Central and neither did the majority of the audience based on their reaction when they brought up some songs that were going to be in the game.

The Harmonix developers treated Rock Band 3 as almost an afterthought. They asked the crowd why they were still interested in a “five year old” game and gave the impression that they were “done” with the franchise. I didn’t like that one bit. They asked for suggestions on where they should next go with rhythm peripheral games. I wanted to offer that they should return to their Frequency/Amplitude type games with no need for seperate peripherals. They wouldn’t call on me. Their loss.

To close out the panel, the Harmonix folks invited anyone with Dance Central bling necklaces to Top Pot Doughnuts to hang out with them, play Dance Central and VidRhythm and eat doughnuts and coffee on them.

Instead of hanging out with assholes from Boston, we got in line at the Raven Theatre for the Education Through Play panel. I was shocked at how full the line was. Apparently James Portnow, the CEO of Rainmaker Games and Dan Floyd of Pixar Canada, who host a podcast called Extra Credits, are incredibly popular. Portnow spent most of the panel pontificating on the need for change in the American Educational System and spent zero time explaining how he was going to orchestrate said change. One of the creators of Everquest was also added to the panel since two of the guests were not able to make it due to Hurricane Irene. A woman from Valve Software, who wasn’t scheduled for the panel at all and was there to attend as an audience member, added herself to the panel and was the only person there who admitted she didn’t have answers but was at least open to trying to use games like Portal 2 and Fold-it to encourage educational growth.

I absolutely felt like I was at some business seminar and no longer at PAX during this panel. When they got to the Q&A portion, over 60 people jumped up and got in line to “ask questions”. The majority were just saying stuff that was ass-kissing to CEO dude. I was pissed. Most of the suggestions they made I have been doing in the workplace for the past ten years. I have no idea why but the CEO dude got a standing ovation from the crowd. He really needs to hook up with Nolan Bushnell and help fund his open source classroom idea. My body was also pissed, as I started coughing uncontrolably and had to leave a bit early.

My Droid 2’s keyboard bug came back and I could no longer type more than one word without it crashing. That sucked.

I headed to the Unicorn Theatre queue for the Dragon Age – The Future panel and got some more StreetPass activity while my wife suffered through the rest of the Education Through Play panel that went fifteen minutes overtime.

She eventually joined me in line and we got into a very full theatre full of excited Dragon Age fans. I’m glad I left early because if we had both stayed through the whole Education Through Play panel, we would not have made it into the theatre for Dragon Age.

The panel talked about several core aspects of the game. The story, scope, combat systems and character customization were all touched on. They said they want the next game to be more of an expanded map of Thedas than the previous games and don’t want to focus on such small regions, like they did in Awakening and Dragon Age II.

Then they opened up for questions. They took two and said everyone else had to sit down and go back up later.

Enter mystery guest Felicia Day.

She got settled while they debuted a trailer for her Dragon Age web series. It looks like it was filmed with a low budget in a park, which is about the norm for a Felicia Day produced series. She said it was very rough and not representative of a final product.

I suspect it was probably a “demo reel” of sorts and the real thing might be marginally better. Still seemed cool though.

I haven’t played Dragon Age II, but people asking questions kept making it sound like they were ashamed for liking it.

The thing I liked about the questions that were asked, mind you still gushing over the writing of the game, the PAX attendees weren’t like the Wil Wheaton “Can I have a hug?” girl from the previous day. Felicia flirted with the dude in costume that asked the third question, but she initiated it and made him a bit more nervous. Otherwise, no one else interacted with the secret unannounced guest. They focused their questions about gameplay and kept bringing up terms like MMO and Tolkien. I don’t really see a resemblance to either when I play the game. They steal a lot more from Martin than Tolkien but the panelists were diplomatic in their responses.

They showed no new game product.

It was a good panel to end our night and I am glad we attended.

We ate crappy New York style pizza on the first floor of the convention center for dinner after trying to sneak in to the last few minutes of the Sega party at Gameworks unsuccessfully. On the way across the street from Gameworks, I completed Find Mii’s second go through and ended our StreetPass activity for the weekend a day earlier than I expected.

I was distraught that my phone was messed up and acquired the new CyanogenMod Gingerbread build for it. I started installing and skipped a step and needed to set the phone back to factory to start the process over. Unfortunately I had moved the factory setting files off of my EeePC before heading to Seattle. The wifi was slow so I slept for a couple of hours while the factory files downloaded. At around 5AM, my phone was back in working order and I was back asleep.

PAX Sunday:

We started out the final day of PAX in the queue room. We got there before doors opened because I wanted to secure the Bastion giveaway scarf and buy the Bastion soundtrack. Our first task was to offer James and Michelle at Ska Studios congratulations on their engagement the night before. James proposed to her via custom code in Charlie Murder. That was cool. My wife also bought her red Z0MBIES shirt. I got both Bastion items at the WB Booth and we got in line for Gotham City Imposters, which sounded like a cool concept. The Xenon Xbox 360 debug units kept bugging out and I ended up causing the team of Batmen to be shorthanded because I tried changing a setting while bored. Due to my bug-induced handicap everyone playing got free tee shirts, which normally only went to the winning team. The game itself was a pretty lame Counterstrike capture the flag mode type game, which disappointed me.

We walked around the exhibit hall a bit more and ended up in line at Bandland at the Wil Wheaton/Felicia Day booth. We bought Wil’s Games Matter and the expanded deluxe version of Happiest Days of Our Lives. My wife had Wil sign our program next to his panel and had Felicia sign next to the Dragon Age panel. It was cool to see both of them there.

We dropped off the bits of swag and purchases at the hotel and headed to Hard Rock Cafe for the PopCap Games party. They weren’t ready yet, so we went to Mishou Cafe and debated lunch. I was under the impression that PopCap was gonna feed attendees so I convinced my wife to just head back to the Hard Rock Cafe and wait it out.

The PopCap Games party kinda sucked. We got the other color of the shaded sunglasses, a cool Saturday Night Zombie set of magnets and an iPhone gelskin but there was a distinct lack of food. We had some cheese and crackers and some vegetables and some mini-doughnuts but not much substance.

The zombies danced and performed on stage for us, and interacted well at the tables with the fans. The Bejeweled Blitz tournament fell flat because unless you had an iOS device, you really couldn’t play in the tournament. Apparently someone was going to be fired as a result of that mishap.

We left after about an hour and ate a proper meal of pepperoni calzone and various assortment of desserts at Mishou and when I was about to give up on PAX and get some sleep at the hotel, my wife decided it was time for a final speed run of the exhibit halls.

We stopped by Bandland and bought the CDs we didn’t have that Paul and Storm and MC Frontalot had for sale. Video Game Orchestra were playing an impromptu show in the corner and while we were there played the Zelda suite as a Link cosplayer and a Shadow Link cosplayer cheered them on.

We visited the sixth floor exhibit hall for the first time and I saw Dan Dixon’s amazing Universe Sandbox for the first time. Universe Sandbox lets you change mass, cause collisions and blow up pieces of the universe and see what happens. It uses real science and is much cooler than the universe presentation we saw at the planetarium last week. I happily took a card from Dixon and thanked him for demoing his product. He described it as “like Minecraft but in space” which I realized a few minutes later when passing the rabid fans chanting “LAVA! LAVA! LAVA!” as Notch demonstrated new lava effects in his hugely popular Minecraft game, that he was adding that comparison for the benefit of “those people”. I was just happy to have an actual universe simulator out there available for me to play with.

We checked out the other indie games and the PAX 10. I thought Retrograde was a pretty cool concept, using a guitar peripheral and combining it with a space shooter. Unfortunately it is only going to be available for PSN, which I don’t have a guitar controller for.

Finding Aurora, a paper folding game seemed like an interesting concept. Dinosaurs Go Home was a fun take on tower defense.

All Zombies Must Die and Orcs Must Die both looked like a lot of fun. I didn’t get a chance to play either but will check them out in the future.

The standout game for me on the sixth floor was Skulls of the Shogun, which is a turn-based RTS type game was amazing. Retro City Rampage is still in development and still feels and plays like Grandtheftendo. I wonder what is taking so long. Both games should be on XBLA in early 2012.

After our time on the sixth floor, we got in the queue line for the (Dire)Wolfman Theatre and went inside to watch the Omegathon Finals. The finals are the traditional close to each PAX and the winner won a trip for two to the Tokyo Game Show.

The Guitarism app guy somehow got into PAX and was now busking on the sixth floor of the convention center.

We watched the two remaining Omeganauts play a competive round of the original Legend of Zelda after Gabe and Tycho joked that the final game included space marines, race cars and gazelles and then revealed it included none of those things when the Zelda theme started playing and the curtains raised.

Each Omeganaut had a navigator, a previously eliminated Omeganaut, armed with the game’s FAQ from the internet to help guide the contestants to the first piece of the triforce. The game was close and fun to watch.

After the finals, we did one final lap of the fourth floor exhibit halls, starting in Bandland buying the VGO CD, then getting swag handed to us at every turn, my wife even getting another of the coveted not viking hats.

We closed out our PAX at the Ska Studios booth playing a final round of ENDL3SS Z0MB1ES!!1 until a rep came to take away the Windows Phone 7s. Michelle gave us both free Charlie Murder tee shirts and we said our final goodbye to her and James and headed back to our hotel, happy to have spent a weekend with cool people, great games and awesome music.

Epilogue (Post-PAX Monday):

Monday morning started very early. I went to Pike Place and waited for The Crumpet Shop to open for breakfast while my wife packed up the swag as best as she could. We split a ham, cream cheese and egg crumpet and a butter and raspberry preserves crumpet and a Crumpet Shop tea. It was a challenge for me to carry all of that back to the hotel but I made it without incident. While The Crumpet Shop is incredibly popular, I’ve had better crumpets from Bimbo Bakeries back here at home.

We finished breakfast and packing and took the light rail back to SEATAC. My bag had to be rescanned at the security checkpoint due to the stupid Dance Central swag. They eventually let us through and we got settled at the gate. I bought a Seattle duffle bag from the Hudson News shop and we stuffed the majority of the swag bags into it, so we were then “carry on legal” with just two carry on items each and it also would help us with our public transit trip home to not have so many bags.

Our flight was uneventful. I didn’t have any near death experiences and we had a safe BART/bus ride home afterward.

We ate lunch at BJ’s Brewhouse at Tanforan and then came home and slept for the afternoon and evening.

Our Seattle vacation/PAX adventures have ended and in less than eight hours, it is back to work and a return to our “normal” lives. Great memories of fun times are all that remain.

The highlight of PAX for me was most definitely being socially engaged in the StreetPass functionality of the 3DS. At one point, I got a tag from a character that commented “I’m behind you” while we were in the Skyrim queue. Sure enough the avatar looked a lot like the guy behind me and I shook his hand in real life. There were hundreds of people playing StreetPass mini-games throughout the weekend and Nintendo could probably generate a lot of sales if they rented out 3DS units to attendees at conventions like PAX in the future.

Just being in Seattle with my wife and not having to think about the rest of the stuff going on in the world was great.

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One thought on “The 20-sided Blog: PAX 2011

  1. Thanks for the full write up Eric. Really wish I could have made it up there with yas. Hopefully next year.

    I have to say, the Best Line Award goes to “But really, I was there for the hat.”

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