Sunday, August 26, 2007

PAX, Seattle

So yesterday I went to the Penny Arcade Expo, in downtown Seattle. The Expo, better known as PAX, has grown up around the comic strip that I link over to the right, and has grown by leaps and bounds, from an interesting weekend to near-GenCon levels. Indeed, with the demise of E3 as a consumer show, this particular shindig may step up to the plate and take its place.

My official role was a brief bit on one of the two ArenaNet panels. Guild Wars: Eye of the North has its preview this weekend, and goes fully live this Friday. So with the deadlines either dealt with or hanging overhead, we all looked and felt our best as we took the stage (oh, yeah, there's the little matter of stage fright I always get before talking to large groups). And things went really, really, well. The fans were appreciative and excited about the new game, my co-writer Ree, has revealed herself to be a styling goth doombunny at conventions, and we got a lot of good questions and feedback. So we done good.

But that was but a sliver of time, which gave me a chance to watch other members of the team go through the meet and greet (they did nicely as well), and prowl the floor, which had a lot of hobby gamers and former hobby gamers. It was kind of fun to see my past collide with my present in the form of old game designers now working with much younger companies and young companies that remembered the classic old stuff of pen and paper RPGing. It was a Nerdstock, with a lot of coolness.

In particular, I got excited over the coming Penny Arcade adventure game and Pirates of the Burning Sea, which improves graphically every time I see it (and had queues for playing the demoes). Less excited for me was Warhammer, which suprised me, but the graphics and gameplay just didn't get me charged up (maybe I'm just spoiled). EVE Online looked good (and I grafted for a copy of Monte Cook's World o' Darkness), and I got a small Gleemax brain/stress ball. I was a little disappointed that the Ubisoft booth wasn't showing The Settlers (going for action-adventure in Assassin's Creed and Rainbow Six: Vegas instead). Ah, well.

But the place was packed, but not to an intolerable sense. I hear that they will be taking over the entire top floor of the exhibit hall next year. If they can create a command post for the traditional media, I think they would become the next E3, where people go to hear the next big releases.

Oh, and the cats have discovered the Gleemax brain, decided it was a large and juicy mouse, and are now batting it around the dining room.

More later,