PAX Prime 2011!

The annual Seattle get together of all things geeky and nerdy in the gaming realm. For the last 4 years I’ve made my pilgrimage across the water of Lake Washington to the gaming mecca held in the heart of Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center. Here, drawn together by comics of two of our culture’s heroes, Jerry “Tycho” Holkins and Mike “Gabe” Krahulik, we make our way each year to tease, win, and lose to each other to restock our hit and magic points for the year. An MMIRL Game, there is nothing like it in the world. Which is probably why I found out today that in addition to PAX Prime and PAX East, a new third PAX in an undisclosed location has been announced.

But enough of that. I know there are people waiting for pics, so here’s the gallery. I’ll continue my PAX Prime experience below.


After breakfast and coffee, I walked to the bus stop on the other side of 520 and hopped on the bus. It was a nice quick bus ride downtown, but Friday night at 11, the 520 bridge was closing for the entire weekend. Fortunately I have a great wife who was patient and willing to drop me off or pick me up at the south Bellevue Park and Ride for other bus trips over the weekend.

I got to the convention center a bit earlier then I expected and headed for the Queue Room on the 4th floor. To my surprise, it was only half full. I ended up standing in the front of my line for about 90 minutes, talking to other geeks and watching the cosplay contest on the stage right in front of me. At 10 am, the gates opened and people started streaming into the Expo hall.

I originally had a schedule of panels I wanted to attend. It turns out I only made one panel all weekend. There so much to look at and do, I just didn’t have time to hit many panels.

After wandering around for a bit, I came across the Rocksmith booth. It’s like RockBand, except you plug a real guitar into the machine. It starts out easy with 2 strings and measures how good you ar doing. If you are doing good, it gets harder and adds strings. Seems like a great way to learn how to really play songs on a guitar. I complained to the guy showing me the game about it lacking bass and he said it’s expected 6 months after the launch of the game. If they come out with a bass version, I’m buying!

My first task on Friday is to wander around the Expo hall and get a mental map of the area. I then headed to bandland to see when Wil Wheaton would be making a signing appearance. I checked twitter and found that he would be in the area in about 15 minutes. I jumped in line about the 8th person and waited for him to arrive. I got a USB drive with almost all of his written and audio work as well as some silly videos he made. It was number 1 of 10.

Feeling a little overwhelmed I headed out for lunch. After getting back to PAX, I decided to head across the street to the table top and Halo Fest areas. While I’m not as steeped in Halo lore as some, the full size, working Warthog was something to behold! I then wandered down stairs and got sucked into a table top D&D board game called “The Legend of Drizzt”. While I had a good time, I didn’t think it was something I could convince Amy to play with me.

I walked around for a while, playing a few games, and came across Orcs Must Die! I’ve seen a preview online, but it didn’t do the game justice. This looks like a great game. You setup traps and heroes to stop a horde of orcs. Looks like it should have good replay value in different maps, traps, and horde size.


Saturday morning I got to the queue line a bit later then Friday, but ended up only one line back from where I was Friday. I guess a lot of people were partying a little too hard Friday night 🙂

I decided to head for the OnLive booth first thing in the morning. They have a new type of console about the size of  a full wallet. All the processing of data and video for the game happens on a server that is streamed over the internet to the OnLive console. I’m glad I headed right over there. OnLive had tweeted the night before that they had limited free consoles to give out, so the line was twice as long as the day before when I got in it. A few minutes later and I couldn’t see the end from where I was standing.

An hour and a half later I got my free console. I didn’t mind the wait. I got to see a neat laser projector that connects to iPhones that one of my friends later bought. I also got to talk to a lot of nice people in line.

After getting my console, I headed over to the Skyrim booth. I never got to play Skyrim. The short line had a wait of 2 1/2 hours. Oh well. I’m not convinced I’ll like Skyrim anyway. I had issues with it’s predecessor Oblivion.

Later, I met with a friend and got sucked into a game of Smallworld Underground. It was fun, but I think the originall Smallworld might have been a better place to start. It’s a little bit simpler.

I then wandered around the Expo Hall and managed to snap some pics of dancing Zombies and other cosplayers. It was starting to get late and I was getting hungry and tired so I headed home for the evening. I was originally planning on staying downtown, but I love being able to go to PAX and sleep in my own bed.


Sunday morning I got to PAX about an hour before the doors opened. I was way further up in the line. Too may PAX party hang overs 🙂 I checked my schedule and saw that a friend’s panel called Testers vs The Game started at 10:30 upstairs. Just then, an OnLive person was handing out Sonic the Hedgehog lanyards. I grabbed one and jumped out of the main queue line and headed up the escalator. There was almost no line for the panel, so I sat down and waited for the doors to open. The panel seemed like a success, although I expected more people. I found out later that many of the panels where lightly attended. I’ll try to remember that for next year. I then gave the Sonic lanyard to my friend on the panel, as she is a huge Sonic fan.

I then headed downstairs to learn how to play “Lord of the Rings the Card Game”. It’s fairly complex to learn, but once you understand the rules it’s pretty fun. I think I can get Amy to play with me. It’s also possible to play alone, so even if she doesn’t, I can still play.

I continued to wonder around and play games. Space Marine looks awesome, but the game was alpha. It didn’t have keyboard and mouse support yet or reversible X axis. It made the game almost impossible for me to play. Once the game gets these added, I think I’ll love it.

I’m also thinking about getting into Rift a bit more. I like the idea of rifts opening up in the game and everyone joining together to defeat them. I’m also interested in Lord of the Rings online. It’s free to play and I like the idea of following a quest in the world.

As the day wore on and my feet continued to ache, I decided to call it quits and head home. One more walk around the Expo hall and off I went. My hp full. My mana recharged. Now for a year of adventure and tales to bring back to share at PAX next year.

– Beowuff

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One Response to PAX Prime 2011!

  1. Mom says:

    Wow!!! Sounds like quite an adventure. So glad you had a great time!

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