The PAX Files: Day 1

PAX, or Penny Arcade Expo, is a gaming convention for the public started by the guys who created the Penny Arcade Web comic. Gamers get together to share their favorite hobby with others, and video game companies show off their upcoming releases. Join me on the first day of PAX as I round up some games and even look for ghosts in Seattle!

Now keep in mind that I’m only one person, and there are SO MANY games shown at PAX that I just can’t cover them all! So please forgive me if I didn’t cover your favorite game at PAX. Luckily, I didn’t make the trip alone. I brought along some of my family members with me: one of my brothers, Jeff and our mom. Jeff is a great help when I’m reviewing games as he knows more about certain kinds of games that I’m not as familiar with, like online PC games. Plus I enjoy playing games with Jeff and he’s really one of my best friends (he’d KILL me if he knew I was talking about him like that). And since Seattle is such a pretty and safe city, with lots of shopping and things to do, I like to bring my mom along as well as there is stuff she can enjoy, too. Since I’m blind in my left eye, sometimes it’s nice to have family around these conventions to help me get around if I need it. And I just flat out love having my family around me anyway. Plus, what better way to cover PAX for a family gaming Web site than to bring mine with me!

Since we flew in on Friday, we didn’t do as much on the first day of PAX. I only had two meetings that afternoon, so we just farted around at nearby booths between meetings.

TellTale Games

The very first meeting I had at PAX was with one of my favorite gaming companies: TellTale Games. They make episodic point and click adventures, similar to the ones I enjoyed as a kid. Some of the games TellTale has done include the Sam & Max series, Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures, and Tales of Monkey Island.

At this year’s PAX, TellTale was showcasing two of their upcoming games. One was Poker Night at the Inventory. It’s a humorous poker game featuring stars of past TellTale gems, like Strong Bad and Max, as well as the Heavy from Team Fortress 2 and one of the characters from the Penny Arcade comic.

While a poker game may seem like a departure for TellTale, it actually isn’t. One of their very first games was a poker one, and it helped them learn about dialogue in games, which aided them in their future adventures. At the show they handed out authentic poker chips with the characters on them, as well as a cool poster that I think I may frame. Normally I wouldn’t have any interest in a poker game, but if you put Max in there, I’ll definitely want to play it! Well, I’d also play a poker video game if it had Pac-Man, Kirby, or Ulala in it. Hey, TellTale, I have an idea for your next poker title! Ha ha! Anyway, Poker Night at the Inventory will be out in the next month or so. I suggest checking out their web site for all their cool games and how to download them.

The other game TellTale was touting was an episodic point and click adventure game based on the Back to the Future movies. They even had a real DeLorean on display at PAX. The game starts right after the events of the third movie left off, so it’s probably the closest thing we’ll get to a Back to the Future 4. Christopher Lloyd is even going to provide the voice of Doc Brown! TellTale’s Back to the Future game will be released this winter, so start warming up your flux capacitors now!

After Back to the Future, TellTale will have one other game based on a popular Universal movie: Jurassic Park. It’s a ways off, so not much is known about it, other than the fact that programmers say it may be a departure from what TellTale usually does. But we’ll see. At any rate, I had a lot of fun meeting with TellTale at PAX.


The next company I met with at PAX was Nexon. They make all sorts of free-to-play online PC games. Even though I’m not as into online PC games as my brother Jeff is, if I could quit my job and play video games ALL day, I would definitely have time to check out Nexon’s games more. And they would be the first online games I would try, as Nexon’s titles interest me more than any other online PC games. For instance, Maple Story is a cute, 2-D platformer styled game, while Dungeon Fighter Online looks like a 16-bit side scrolling beat ‘em up. I also like Nexon’s games as they are free to play, have cool art styles, are very inviting, not too complicated, and they have something for everyone. Younger players can enjoy stuff like Maple Story while older players can have fun with Dungeon Fighter or their newest upcoming game they showed at PAX: Vindictus.

Nexon didn’t have a booth at the show this year, instead we met with them at a hotel across the street. They were showing off their newest upcoming online game: Vindictus, which looks more like a 3-D hack and slash. You’ll be able to customize your character in many ways in the final game, but for the PAX demo, you could choose between a quick dual sword wielding male fighter or a female warrior with a sword and shield. Vindictus has a strong physics engine which means lots of destructible environments and things to throw around. You could even aim and toss a limited number of spears, too. Graphics were great and we even teamed up online to fight a boss monster swinging around a big hammer and he was just tearing up the place. And after the demo they even gave us a neat little cat hood, just like the ones the booth ladies wore at E3!

After PAX, all three days we went down to the Seattle Marketplace to grab a bite to eat and shop around. It was only about a ten minute walk down the street, and the food there was much more reasonably priced than near the hotel. If you go to PAX in Seattle next year, I recommend visiting the Market at least once. There’s all sorts of stuff to buy there, souvenirs, jewelry, fresh produce, fish, and even huge bouquets of flowers that were really inexpensive!

Greeting market goers is this famous pig statue. I forgot the name of it, but the statue is 200 pounds lighter than the real pig it’s based on.

At one of the chocolate shops, they had this creepy bear sitting on a bench, so I had to take a picture of it, too.

The Market is near the piers and waterfronts, and you can see all the harbor cranes off in the distance. They’re really big and cool, so I took a pic of that, too. No wonder the residents of Seattle value the Market area so much. It’s a neat place.

Market Ghost Tour

One of my guilty pleasures is watching ghost shows on TV. You know, like Ghost Hunters and such. I think most of that stuff on TV isn’t real, but it’s fun to watch anyway. Plus, I think ghosts are really cool. Maybe that’s why I like Pac-Man so much! Anyway, whenever we visit a new city, we like to see if they have a ghost tour around. You won’t find any ghosts on these tours, but you’ll learn some interesting history about the city! When we went on a ghost tour in San Antonio, I learned more about the city on the tour than I did walking through the Alamo.

So this time in Seattle we did the Market Ghost Tour. We met at the Gum Wall, which is a wall of an old theater where people used to stick their gum before going inside. They got tired of cleaning it off the wall, so now it’s the second germiest tourist attraction in the world (first is the Blarney Stone).

On the tour, the guide encouraged us to take pictures at certain places where people have caught ‘spirit orbs’ on camera. I didn’t catch any on my film, but it was fun to take pictures anyway.

Where do these stairs go? They go up.

Many restaurants set up shop in this place, but failed because it was too haunted! It’s closed now.

Don’t go up there! It’s dark!

Back in the old days, buildings near the harbor would have big signs painted on them so the ships can see them. The one on the left used to say “Butterworth Undertakers” and now it’s a haunted building!

Supposedly at the tip of this statue, there’s a lot of spiritual energy or something.

And that’s all we did on the first day of PAX!

Click here to read about the second day.

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