PAX South 2018

The Penny Arcade Expo, or PAX for short, is one of the largest video game conventions open to the public in the US.  It started out in Seattle, then expanded to another show out East in Boston, and for the past four years, they’ve also had a show in San Antonio with PAX South.  Since that’s only a few hours’ drive from where I live, I decided to go again this year along with my dad.  It felt like a smaller show this year, but I still had a lot of fun, so let’s check out what I saw.

First off, here’s a bigger picture of the big sign greeting you before going in.

Most of what I do at these shows is set up meetings with PR professionals and developers to check out their games.  But keep in mind there is no way I can see everything at these shows.  Luckily it was a smaller show and the only really ‘big’ company at this event was Capcom.  They showed off Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition as well as new Resident Evil and Dead Rising games.  They also had their big display for Monster Hunter World here.  Even though I already took a picture of it at PAX West, it’s cool enough to see again here.

Ysbyrd Games

They had two main games on display. Masquerada: Songs and Shadows was described as a linear Baldur’s Gate with a deep storyline and prolific voice actors.  The plot involves masks that give the wearer special powers, but if that person dies with the mask on, the mask disappears, too.  These relics end up causing a civil war and it sounds like you’ll be in the midst of it.  The other game they had, YIIK: A  Post-Modern RPG, looks more up my alley as it takes elements from 16-bit RPGs I loved back in the day.  It also looks like it may please fans of RPGs like Undertale and Earthbound.  One thing to note about all the games I checked out is that while they may have gotten their start on PC, they are all coming to consoles by the end of the year, if not before then.  I was surprised how many games I checked out are coming to the Switch as well, which is a testament to the popularity of the console.

At the convention center you can take an escalator to get a bird’s eye view of the main show floor.  I like to do that every year and take pictures, so here they are.

And here’s the view from the other side.


They were showing off a game called The Messenger about a ninja in an 8-bit world.  Clearly inspired from titles like Ninja Gaiden, The Messenger also has exploration elements from games like Metroid.  Later on, you’ll be able to tromp around in 16-bit levels as well, and revisit old stages with new powers to find even more goodies.  The game looked difficult, but the developers said it wasn’t “NES Hard.”  It has the potential to be as fun as Shovel Knight.

We Are Fuzzy

Their new game, Sleep Tight, has two parts.  During the daytime, you must outfit your bedroom with pillow forts and other defense mechanisms and traps.  Then at night it turns into a single player twin stick shooter as you fire silly weapons at monsters coming from the closets and other things that go bump in the night.  It looked very charming.

Goat Sink

They had two games.  The first was an 8-bit looking air hockey game called ClusterPuck 99.  The other game was a 2.5-D platformer called Shu.  Both looked like a lot of fun.


On the second day of the show I met with a developer in a hotel lobby to check out an upcoming mobile game called Chronoblade.  It plays like a 2-D side scrolling beat ‘em up similar to games like Golden Axe.  It was made by the same folks who did a recent popular Power Rangers mobile game, and Chronoblade had excellent touch screen controls, neat characters, two-player battles, and bite-sized levels perfect for the format.  It looks like a free-to-play game done right and I hope I can review it.


Stack-Up is a charity organization that sends games and consoles to the military.  I always like to stop by their booth and give a little donation and participate in their push-up contest.  I have to brag a bit and say that I got second place in that contest on the first day.  Speaking of the military, the Air Force had a big mac truck and trailer there, and inside was a ride!  So yeah, PAX South had games and rides!  Here is a picture of that.

Super Cane Magic Zero

At the PAX Rising Booth, where they had a bunch of games all in one place, I met to play Super Cane Magic Zero.  It’s a top down 2-D action game with a unique cartoony art style.  Four players can run around, picking up items and either throwing them or eating them.  It was very frantic, but it also had a single player story mode as well.  One interesting thing is that all the multiplayer games I played also included a single player mode, which is good.  Who says single player games are dead?

Sprint Vector

VR games still draw a crowd at PAX, and I played one of them this time, too.  It’s called Sprint Vector.  It’s a racing game where you make a futuristic avatar run, jump, and collect and use items.  Kind of like Mario Kart.  Controls were WAY too complicated, though.  To run, you would swing your arms like you were running or holding ski poles, but you also had to press a button and release it on the way down.  Why couldn’t you just move without having to worry about buttons?  The demo host said it was to register movement, but with expensive VR equipment, you can’t tell me they couldn’t do that otherwise?  Oh well.  To change direction, you could move your head or flick the analog sticks to turn quicker and sharper.  I forget what you had to do to jump and use items.  It was either way too complicated or I’m just not used to VR controls.  The game did look good visually, though.

Lumosity Mobile

I played two cool games here.  One was The Painter’s Apprentice.  It’s a 2-D platform action game where you use a paintbrush to attack enemies and change the color of your paint so it’ll be effective against them.  The backgrounds and levels are based on art history time periods, like Impressionism, Cubism, etc.  It’ll be out on PC soon and consoles later.  Another was a mobile game called Tortuga Racing.  It’s a math-based racing game for kids that lets them practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  The cool thing is I got to talk to the developers and the one that composed the music for the games is also a school band director!  He even knew the band and director I was in when I was in high school long ago and even guessed the instrument I played.  That’s how you know he was a REAL band director.  Or as we used to say when I was in band, “It’s a band thing.”  I hope I get to review these games so I can hear the music he composed for them!


They developed a game I reviewed on the Switch called Slime-san, but they’re also publishing games now, too.  Like SpiritSpheres DX.  It’s a cross between tennis and air hockey with 8-bit graphics and while it has a multiplayer mode, there’s also a single player story mode as well.

At PAX they also have board games and merchandise you can buy.  I’m not much into board games so I didn’t check those out very much, and most of the merchandise was way too expensive.  I’m sorry but I’m not paying 25-30 bucks for a T-shirt.  But this booth had a cool inflatable dog on top, so I took a picture of that.

I did buy one thing, though, because it was relatively inexpensive and very cool.  There is a company called Pixel Pals and they make little sprite models that also act as lamps!  I got a Mega Man one and took a picture of their booth, too.

Fantasy Fight

I didn’t meet with them, but one game that caught my eye was Fantasy Fight.  It’s a 2-D fighter, but the characters looked interesting and they said the controls were simple to learn, so I liked that.  It’ll be out on PC soon and consoles later.  Hope I can check it out and maybe review it then.

Headup Games

But I think my favorite game at this year’s PAX South came from Headup Games.  One of their recent titles is Bridge Constructor.  I didn’t review it when it came out, as it didn’t look interesting to me, but I probably should have.  You make bridges so that cars can cross safely, like a Lemmings style puzzler.  They did give me a copy of it at the show, so I will be reviewing it soon, though!  Anyway, they’re making a new version of it featuring characters and themes from Portal!  I love Portal, so now I’m suddenly interested in Bridge Constructor!  You’ll build bridges and use portals to avoid turrets and get your test vehicles safely across.  All the while GlaDOS taunts you.  Yes, they did get the lady who voices GlaDOS to be in this game.  Ah, I should’ve asked them if Wheatley’s in it, too!  Anyway, I think this game will be huge for Headup.  It’s out on PC now and will be on consoles later, and I hope I can review it!

Cosplay Conclusions

At these conventions, people like to dress up as their favorite characters in a practice called cosplay.  I took pictures of a few of them.  There were a lot more, but I didn’t recognize a lot of them or I couldn’t take a pic of them at the time.  But we’ll close with what I did get.

Is this Gex the Gecko?  No, it’s the Geico mascot having fun with showgoers.  They usually have a booth at PAX, too.

And here’s a pretty Pauline and a super cool Builder Mario from Super Mario Odyssey.  But this Mario has a beard, so maybe he’s Foreman Spike from Wrecking Crew?

It’s Cuphead and…Mrs. Cuphead?  Is there a female Cuphead in the game?  I didn’t think there was, but I don’t know now.

And finally is a neat Zero costume from Mega Man X.

And that’s all I did at the show!  Hope you enjoyed my article and pictures!  Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions.  Later!  –Cary

One Response to “PAX South 2018”

  1. Painter’s Apprentice sounds interesting.

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