The Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX for short, is like a mini-E3 that’s open to the public. It was this past Labor Day holiday weekend in Seattle, and I got to attend it again! So for the next four days here at GamerDad, we’ll look at everything I did! Now keep in mind that I’m only ONE person, so I couldn’t see it all, but I got to see and do a lot of stuff anyway! So let’s begin!
On the first day, I missed the first couple of hours of the show because our flight arrived that morning. But that’s OK because PAX was four days this year instead of three, so I still got to do everything I wanted to do. When I first entered the convention center where PAX was held, I was greeted by a friendly cactus in a pot. Turns out this was the location for my first meeting of the day: to check out Hello Hero!
Hello Hero is an upcoming iPad free-to-play card battle game featuring colorful graphics and cute characters like the aforementioned cactus, a pink-haired succubus, a knight on a toy horse, a pink frog, and many more! It has elements of Pokemon and looks really easy to figure out and play. Hopefully I’ll be able to review it when it comes out here. Hello Hero is a huge hit overseas right now.
My next game to check out was an upcoming downloadable PS4 four player co-op game called Tiny Brains. In it, you play one of four genetically enhanced lab animals as you work together to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. I played as a green rabbity thing who could attract objects toward it. Other animals included one who could repel objects and one who could make ice blocks. Teamwork is a must in this game. It took us a while to figure things out, but as soon as we got the hang of things, we were working together to solve puzzles in a laboratory maze as well as protecting smaller critters from enemies. At the end of the demo, the Tiny Brains animals escaped from the lab and jumped out a window, to have adventures out in the real world, presumably. Hopefully the makers of Tiny Brains will consider releasing this on other consoles as well, because I probably won’t get a PS4 right away and I sure would enjoy reviewing it!
So when your kids are playing video games all day and you send them OUTSIDE to play, what do they do? They pretend to be ninjas and pirates and build forts and play war with each other. That’s the idea behind Backyard Battles, an upcoming game I played on the iPad at PAX. In it, you have a selection of kids to choose from, each one pretending to be something like a pirate or ninja or fairy or knight riding a wagon, so they all have special powers, too. Place them on a grid in a backyard setting to defend your fort and whittle down the opponents’ team and fort. Defeated kids pretend to ‘die’ and then run back into their hideout. In a way, it reminds me of the hit downloadable RPG Costume Quest mixed with a cleverly disguised card battle game, very similar to something like Card Fighters Clash. At their booth at PAX, there was this one little kid playing it that couldn’t be torn away from it! Hopefully when it comes out, I’ll get to review it, too!
Romans From Mars
Another iPad game I checked out at PAX was called Romans from Mars by Majesco. In it, you view the action from a first person perspective as you defend your station from waves of charging alien Roman soldiers on Mars! Tap on an enemy and you’ll fire an arrow from your crossbow. Kind of reminded me of the Arrow mini-game from Game & Wario. When you are overwhelmed, hold down on the touch screen or swipe one, two, or three fingers to summon the power of the gods with elemental attacks such as lightning bolts, ice, lava, or earth blockades to slow the wave down. The action gets pretty arcade-like and frantic later on. I played another iOS game from Majesco but it’s embargoed so I can’t talk about it yet. But I will say that fans of the franchise should love it, and I hope to review it when it comes out, too!
Seattle Tourist Stuff
Since the first day was a little slow since I just arrived, I’ll just fill the rest of this article with pictures of other things I did around Seattle on the trip. During the afternoons and evenings when I needed a break from the sensory overload that is PAX, we did other things around downtown. We were on the 43rd floor of our hotel, and got a GREAT view of the Space Needle and coast. That’s why we didn’t actually go do the Space Needle because we were already so high up in our hotel room that we had a good enough view anyway. Here’s a view from our hotel room in the afternoon.
And here it is again at night.
Out walking at Pike’s Market (which was really crowded since it was Labor Day weekend, I saw a big Ferris wheel on the coast. I don’t remember it being there last time. Any Seattle folks know if it is new or not? Probably would’ve been fun to ride since it’s right by the water. Where I live near Dallas, we have a pretty big Ferris wheel, too, called the Texas Star that runs during the Texas State Fair, which is coming up soon!
Every year when I go to PAX, I make it a tradition to eat from a certain hot dog stand which sells gourmet hot dogs featuring Japanese food ingredients as toppings. It sounds strange, but it’s really good. This year was different, though. The hot dog stand is still there, but they also have a food truck now. The old Japanese guy who we saw working there every year was gone. In his place were two younger people who wouldn’t even acknowledge that we were there. So I didn’t get a hot dog this year. I wonder if that old dude sold out to the food trucks, which are gaining popularity. I have to say that this year; I didn’t have much look with good restaurant and food service in Seattle. That doesn’t mean that Seattle doesn’t have good restaurants and service, it just means that on this one particular trip, I just wasn’t as lucky in that regard. Oh well. I do like the happy cow on the side of the food truck, though.
Another place we ate at was an Irish pub called Kells. It’s been there since 1916 and is supposedly haunted. It’s even been on TV on one of those ghost investigation shows. Yeah, those kinds of dumb shows are one of my guilty pleasures. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any ghosts there on my visit. Oh well.
And that’s all for Day 1 of PAX Prime 2013. Tomorrow on Day 2, we’ll kick it into high gear with some showings from big name game companies! –Cary