PAX Prime 2013: Day One

Good morning everyone, from Sunny Seattle! It’s currently 59 with a light breeze as I type this, after a long first day at PAX Prime. We spent some time out here before the show, so our internal clocks are already adjusted, but some of my friends who were out at Gamescom flew in from Germany direct to Seattle. They have no idea what time it is or should be.

Yesterday was Day 1 of PAX Prime 2013, bringing tens of thousands of people to the Seattle Convention Center to see the latest games, hardware, and events. There are also plenty of panels and the League of Legends North American Finals here this weekend. Let’s get started!

So far, the focus of the expo hall seems to be on some of the new AAA titles: Watchdogs, Titanfall, the new Wolfenstein remake, and new games for the XBOX One and PS4. I had a chance to sit down and play LocoCycle on the XBOX One: the controller feels familiar, and the hardware is certainly nice, but I want to see how far the system can be pushed before I decide whether to buy one. Today I plan on sitting down in the PS4 booth and getting my hands on one of them, and seeing what’s playable there.

As always, the Indie Mega Booth blew me away. If you have ever been to a PAX show, you know that Jerry and Mike have a soft spot for indie companies. At PAX East 2013, Disruptor Beam was part of the Indie Mega Booth, and we plan on going to more indie game festivals in the future. For PAX Prime yesterday, I spent some time playing Analogue: A Hate Story, re-igniting my love for Guns of Icarus, and checking out some cool platformers and runners. I picked up a complete copy of Runner 2 with the soundtracks from BIT.TRIP, which I’ll have to fire up in Steam after I get home. The other half of today will probably be spent playing games in there.

Outside of the Expo Hall, I attended a panel on the trials and tribulations of localizing games, either into English or from English into other languages. In a previous life I spent some time working with localization, and this was a good chance to swap stories and laugh at how difficult it is. For instance, one of the problems localizing games from Japanese to English is that Japanese doesn’t contain a subject; titles and sentences rely on context to infer a subject. This can make translating from Japanese to English doubly hard, because you have to explicitly break out the subject, and you may run out of room for the text! It was very interesting and more technical than I expected, which was nice.

Last night, I attended the Valve Loves Indies dinner, with a bunch of other representatives from indie game studios and Valve employees. Held at the Palace Ballroom downtown, it was a good chance to do some networking and socializing of the show floor. Ichiro Lambe, another Boston game developer, set it up, and a lot of other local Boston game devs like Cygnus Games and Dejobaan were present.

It’s now Saturday morning, and I’m ready to hit the convention again. Saturday is usually the busiest and craziest day for the convention, so I expect some serious lines. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to pay Titanfall, but I may spend time in the tabletop section to avoid the worst of the crowds.

My panel, “The Worst of the Worst: Hacking, Exploitation, and Abuse within Online Games,” is still scheduled for Sunday at 10:00pm. If anyone is in Seattle for PAX. I highly encourage you to stop by and check it out! It should be an interesting discussion, filled with stories and profanity, and I’m very much looking forward to sharing it with other PAX Attendees.