Fri Sep 4 14:38:43 EDT 2009

Liveblog: PAX 2009, Day 1

So I'm at PAX 2009. It's great, but I hope you bought tickets ahead of time, because they sold out a week ago, and scalpers are selling PAX tickets for $150 and up, for a ticket that's $30 face value.

This is unsurprising. People Are Idiots, after all. But.

What are ticket prices going to be like next year? PAX 09 takes up the entire WSCC, so there's no way to expand. And, of course, there's no upper bound on expo ticket prices. Doubling it would be easy enough. $60 is the price of just one console game, after all. A even hundred dollars is still fairly reasonable, if you're a leech bound to gouge the last dollar out of every gamer.

Something I just found out is that PAX opened up BYOC registration to forum members a full week before they sent the e-mails to people who asked to be notified when they opened, which is some real bullshit. Angry face.

Live updates follow.

1055 hours: Computer set up at BYOC, (Tycho I-4) swag assessed.

PAX swag

(terrible photography courtesy of my cell-phone.)

There's a promo copy of the D&D MMO, (it's a trap!) a t-shirt for the Ventrilo knockoff, a six-card Magic booster pack, the PAX guide, and a real actual CPU magazine, the only worthwhile piece of loot. Heading out to the expo floor.

1131 hours: At the new new video games journalism panel. Gus says his name far too quickly. Having a hell of a time connecting to PAXnet. So far Chris' speech has been about how his field sucks, and how everyone hates it.

1150 hours: Gus says that networking is important. Okay, Gus! Will do. PAXnet keeps fucking dropping out.

1153 hours: Karen Chu points out that games journalism has become more personality based, and less about institutions. Less "G4 said this about this game" and more "Kieron said this about this game." And then she admits she's reading directly from a script, whoops.

1244 hours: Starcraft 2 looks exactly like it did last year, but with more maps, and Diablo 3 looks like the previews. That is, both games look be exactly like their 2D predecessors, but in 3D, and prettier. L4D2 looks like L4D, but new weapons and characters, and considering the bitching and moaning online, I expected to see a protest line, but apparently $30 is too much for people who wanted L4D2 for free.

Something interesting that I haven't seen anyone mention: melee weapons replace the pistols in L4D2. I didn't see anyone with a melee weapon get incapacitated, so I don't know what happens then.

I have yet to see anything new and weird, well, like L4D1 last year. The theme of PAX 09 seems to be "uninspired sequels".

The PAX HVAC crew, hearing that it is September in Seattle, and thus 65 and cloudy, made the executive decision to crank the cooling in the exhibit hall waaay up, and freeze to death certain underdressed bloggers. The Pyro cosplayers are happy, though.

1430 hours: I'm misusing a handheld lounge to blog, using their terribly overloaded wifi.

Something new and weird: Borderlands it turning out to be a lot more RPG than FPS, with all sorts of inventory management and item collecting. Quite interesting.

Darksiders had a mechanical bull, which was actually a horse. The game itself was pretty generic, but the horse was an excellent gimmick.

PAX horse

PAX horse 2

The BYOC enforcers made a big deal of the Intel prize patrol badges, but I have yet to see hide nor hair of one in four hours, which presumably means I've just been suckered into advertising them for free all day, which is great.

1517 hours: The "Legal Issues In Contemporary Gaming" panel is one part exteremely nerdy to one part fairly depressing. Apparently patent trolling is on the rise, something that is apparently fairly new to the gaming industry.

1521 hours: There have been a dozen states that have passed laws attempting to regulate free speech relating to games (viz. violent ones) and every one have been struck down by state supreme courts as violating the first amendment. The point made by the (unknown) panelist (the stage isn't elevated, and I'm pretty far back) is that this is fairly reasonable if you're one of the first states to pass these laws, but if you're the fourteenth, the question becomes one of a waste of taxpayer money; since the state is obliged to both defend against the lawsuits, and then to pay the legal costs of the platiff when they inevitably lose.

1528 hours: Someone just refered to Jack Thomsons as "He who shall not be named".

1602 hours: At the BYOC hall again. Apparently there's a Fallen Empires: Legions tourney about to start.

1720 hours: Got my ass kicked, which is going to be a post all by itself. Going to go get something to eat outside the expo hall in vain attempt to save money.

1750 hours: Ended up eating at a Subway at the IBM building, even though there's a Subway at the WSCC. Whatever, I do what I want!

2221 hours: Oh shit, I forgot about the Friday Night Concerts.

2226 hours: Oh shit, I forgot about how stupidly loud the Friday Night Concerts are.

2241 hours: Failed to get a game of Genesis Bomberman going in the retro console gaming area. How about a nice game of TF2?

2301 hours: BYOC paper airplane contest. The prize: A quad core processor. Oh PAX. Taking some time off from TF2 with a bit of CS:S deathrun with kyonko.

0039 hours: Kicked ass at koth_viaduct, time to take the late bus home. If I don't get shanked by a hobo, I'll put this up with the Day 2 post.

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