[Event Review] Penny Arcade Expo (West, 2016)

Let’s finish an old draft covering last year’s Penny Arcade Expo, partially to compare against a recent smaller videogame convention, along with preparation for an event this weekend also hosted at Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center. PAX is the industry’s second largest convention. Everyone’s passionate about their newest project and digs what they’re selling. That’s great if you want to play the absolute newest videogames. How about everyone else? Would the casual gamer enjoy attending?

Rating: ★★★★☆ [4/5]

I haven’t played many videogames lately. I’d like to complete Full Throttle prior to its supposed re-release this year and I’ll play puzzle game 2048 while thinking through a problem. I just don’t get around to playing videogames, even if I’m caught up on work, or have a full backlog of posts I can upload. That said, after attending twice, the convention might be inspiring me to get back into the hobby, with one major problem.

The lines! I’d rather not wait in an estimated 40 minute line to play a 5-minute demo! That wasn’t even for a big name title. That was for Pyre, by the studio that made Bastion. You could easily spend hours waiting in lines to do anything interesting or accidentally waiting to do anything mundane. Tickets sell out immediately every year so maybe the venue’s too small? It’s not crowded, just that there’s a healthy scalper’s market, which is terrible, so let’s get back to the positives.

This year’s highlight was chatting with Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions. Chatting with the 2064: Read Only Memories crew, which is finally available, was the runner up. The Friday night concert was worthwhile and the edutainment lecture was thought-provoking. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to see, in part because I was only there for a few hours and there was still so much to see going on simultaneously, still I’ve listed the remaining items below:

  • Videogames
  • Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius – Intro was boring. ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]
  • Chocobo minigame in Final Fantasy XV – Offensively easy after you figured out the obscene controls. ☆☆☆☆☆ [0/5]
  • Pit People – Too long of a line to consider, like Pyre.
  • Secret Legend – Looks good, albeit derivative of Zelda, although it could be vaporware with the limited amount of information online about it.
  • Some RPG Maker game – ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]
  • Some 4-player game – ★★★☆☆ [3/5]
  • Chasm, Duelyst, and Deponia were games that existed there.
  • Mafia III – Advertised heavily, no play booths, mixed reviews… wonder why?
  • The remaining games were Minecraft rip-offs. Lookin’ at you, Dragon Quest Builders.
  • Miscellaneous
  • Take This – New addition. Quiet spaces hosted by a nonprofit encouraging mental well-being? Glad to see!
  • Child’s Play – Another nonprofit receiving more prominence for their good work.
  • Cool LEGO USS Missouri display.
  • I said “you’re doing good work here” to someone handing out deodorant.

PAX is more of a trade show than a flea market, so if you can get tickets and a day to soak it all in, there’s a lot to see. Even if you’re not really into buying new videogames or sensory overloading experiences.

Bonus haul photo:

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.