Welcome to Casual Fridays, where we kick back, relax and take off our pants. In Typing About Games (TAG), two of the Piki Geek staff face off in a no-holds-bar chat conversation. Beliefs are challenged, points are exclaimed, hype is harnessed, and video games are dissected like insects. Enjoy a look into the discussions that plague the Piki Geek chat day after day.
Chris: I’d consider it more like a spirit journey. You stand in line until you’ve caught a hard enough wiff of BO and con funk, and it sends you on this psychedelic trip of colored lights and sounds. And also there are video games.
Dan: Video games are secondary to a true PAX experience. For instance, the best thing I saw was Michael Jackson playing Star Wars Kinect.
Chris: Do you recall which song he was dancing to?
Dan: I think it had something to do with the Cantina. Living La Cantina Loca?
Chris: That’s…. if that is a real song in that game, I’m going to dump my head in a vat of sulfuric acid.
Dan: I’ll get the acid ready. But back to PAX. It truly is a unifying experience. I don’t think there was a single sour apple in that building.
Chris: Yeah, I’ll have to agree with you. With only one notable exception early in the show, I can’t really say I was truly disappointed with anything I saw in Boston.
Dan: Everyone I talked to was so excited and enthusiastic as if it was an honor to just be in that building.
Chris: Absolutely. There was some real passion from these people about what they had made or were showing off. It was downright infectious.
Dan: So, what impressed you most at PAX?
Chris: I’m going to have to go with Hi-Rez studios on this one. The very first thing you saw coming into the show was a giant diorama of Tribes: Ascend statues hovering over the entrance, locked in battle. On the show floor, they had rows upon rows of PCs set up, running constant matches of Tribes and their new game, Smite. But what really sold it was that they brought in high-quality shoutcasters to officiate the proceedings. When you sat down to play, your match was being announced just as if you were a pro playing on a tournament stream. It was an awesome feeling.
Dan: That shout casting is magnetic! I spent an embarrassing amount of time just watching this guy scream out color commentary for a game I’ve never played before. They know how to treat the community right. Plus, they gave you all those Tribes masks.
Chris: Yeah, that was really fun. They’ve been a company that has been incredibly receptive to player feedback throughout Tribes’s beta – they know what their community wants. Top marks, Hi-Rez.
Dan: Some of my favorite booths to visit were the booths on the outskirts of the show that almost no one wandered towards.I was able to spend almost twenty minutes playing Bit.Trip Runner 2 and I wasn’t disturbed by anyone!
Chris: Nice. That’s must’ve been fun.
Dan: It really was. That’s something about PAX though. Standing in lines for games is so inconvenient. A few times I stood in line to play Theatrhythm, but after 15 minutes I couldn’t stand it. Then I just peaced.
Chris: Yeah. You kind of have to pick and choose your battles. Chances are at an event like this that you’ll only have enough time to burn on seeing one, maybe two huge AAA titles, tops. There’s just so much to see and do, you don’t want to waste all your time standing in line to play a fifteen minute demo of a game coming out in a few months anyway.
Dan: There are more important events to attend. Like a Kid Icarus: Uprising tournament.
Chris: Absolutely. A game which, I might add, I am blazing a trail for in the competitive scene with my fifth place finish.
Dan: As your manager, I thought you could do better.
Chris: When Kid Icarus: Uprising becomes the world’s new greatest e-sport, you’ll have me to thank. Well, managers don’t typically abandon their players when they reach the finals. But it’s okay, I understand you had an amazing World of Tanks party to attend.
Dan: I didn’t want to admit that, but that’s why you’ll no longer see any World of Tanks coverage on the site coming from me. I have been totally biased thanks to the open bar I was given. Also, you know how awkward it is to bring a bunch of nerds into a club full of loud music and women who are paid to dance on a stage?
Chris: I wouldn’t know from personal experience, but I’ll hazard a guess: Very.
Dan: It was a toxic level of awkwardness. Thankfully there was a corner of the club you could go to get dog tags personally engraved which helped alleviate some of that anxiety.
Chris: And just think, Dan. While you were doing that, I was playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons with a group of total strangers! Until two in the morning!
Dan: On the surface level PAX is about video games and giant booths bought by the advent of Online Pass. But really, PAX is about seedy clubs and late-night D&D!
Chris: Absolutely. But in all seriousness, it really is a celebration of gaming in all of its forms. It’s a really strong reminder that this is so much more than just an idle passion. Strike that … more than just an idle hobby. It’s a real, shared passion.
Dan: Shared! Absolutely. It was awesome to talk with the creator of Lawnmower Challenge about Chip’s Challenge, and the creators of Super TIME force about Cursor 10 and Dark Souls. There was such a unifying thread bonding everyone in that convention. It’s something hard to put in words, but it needs to be experienced at least once.
Chris: That’s what I think is lost a lot in the conversations had online. It’s easy to forget when you’re complaining about a game imbalance or throwing a tantrum over a release date change that these people making these games are no different than you. They’re incredibly passionate gamers, just like we are. Just listening to the pride in the voice of one of the Exis developers as I used a weapon and he gushed about his inspiration for it, or laughing along with one of the artists for The Showdown Effect as we gleefully blasted each other to kingdom-come – it’s one hell of an experience.
Dan: Man, we gotta go back to PAX right now.
Chris: Why did we leave?
Dan: This is the worst mistake we’ve ever made! Well Chris, I’m officially depressed.
Chris: The worst mistake besides your pizza misadventure.
Dan: We don’t need to talk about that here.
Chris: The only pizza I enjoyed on that entire trip, Dan, was the boiled cardboard that Sbarro’s sells in the airport terminal leaving Boston.
Dan: This is the most depressing end to a TAG ever. I’ll make it up to you by finding a way to email you a pizza.
Chris: I certainly hope you do, Dan. I certainly hope you do. So, to get this on a more positive track, what’s your best PAX moment?
Dan: Best PAX Moment (besides World of Tanks Party): Completely forgetting where I was while playing this puzzle game that explores the fourth dimension. I literally snapped out of this game coma and remembered I was in PAX.
Chris: Oh man, I watched that being played. My mind couldn’t process it.
Dan: What was your best moment?
Chris: There were so many… but probably being ushered by Square Enix representatives into this pitch-black, fully-locked hotel room so they could show me Hitman. I felt like I was about to get whacked.
Dan: Man, you are a straight baller. We can only dream of being ushered into a dark hotel room by Square-Enix employees.
Chris: But do you know what I’ll cherish the most, Dan?
Dan: What’s that?
Chris: A nice evening in the comfort of our hotel room after a night out at an Irish pub, playing match after match of Kid Icarus: Uprising with you and Zach.
Dan: Oh man, I’m bubbling over with sentimental feelings. We better end this before I start crying.
Chris: Yes, perhaps we should. Closing thoughts, Dan?
Dan: You need to go to PAX. It will make you fall in love with video games all over again.
Chris: I echo those sentiments. Same time next year, Dan?
Dan: I’ll see you then!
Chris: I’ll bring Fortune Street next time.
Dan: YES. PAX TO THE MAX.