It was very foggy out and raining a bit, but when we looked outside the window around 8AM, there was already a long line formed outside the the BCEC. Glad that our hotel was CONNECTED to the BCEC.
We walked over to the BCEC, and along the loooong line for the keynote.
Keynote: Jane McGonigal, 10:30am – 11:30am
Jane McGonigal is a game designer, games researcher and also has a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in performance studies. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I had never heard of her name before. I saw her photo and bio, and just thought that she was a very pretty lady who’s in the game industry. I went to the Keynote because it just feels like the keynote is the beginning of PAX.
Soon I understood why they had her for the keynote. Her story, theory and mission to make games into something positive was very insightful. Unlike many arguments I hear about “how video games make you violent,” her theory was backed up with statistics and research. Very easy to understand and so much fun.
While she was talking about how video games can help people solve/cope real life problems, it reminded me of the extra on the “Inception” blu-ray when the scientists talked about lucid dreams. The scientists say that according to the research, people who play scary or violent video games handle nightmare better because their minds are trained to face a similar situation from the video games. Interesting, huh?
The hour went by very quickly, and at the end of the keynote, everyone in the main hall did a MMTW, massive multi-player thumb war. You had to hold hands of two different group of people, and one thumb war had to have more than three hands. Everyone was connected with someone, and It was a bizarre yet awesome experience.
You can read more about her study in her new book, “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World”! (Available from Amazon.com, for Kindle, and from Barnes & Noble) Here is her site: Jane McGonigal.com
Mega64: Panel 2 the Grave, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Crazy intro, new Mega64 clips, and a surprisingly informative Q&A, just like the last time.
For those who don’t know who Mega 64 is… They are bunch of guys who re-enact video games in public candid camera style. The people around them have no idea what they’re doing until the end so the reaction is real and hilarious. I don’t like regular candid camera, but they create great spoofs of video games and it just makes me laugh my butt off. (Just so you know, the Mega64 guys later explain to the people what it’s about and ask them to sign the paper after each shoot.) Their new clips were Heavy Rain (PS3) and Limbo (XBLA). Derek has played the demo of Heavy Rain, and we both played Limbo and we just couldn’t stop laughing.
I’ll post the Heavy Rain clip here. But if you don’t know or never played Heavy Rain, it’s probably not very funny.
After the Mega64 panel, we had a couple of hours until the next panel, so we walked around the exhibitor’s floor.
And there they were! The Behemoth! They had FOUR 2-player BattleBlock Theater arcade machines, ONE 1~4 player Castle Crashers arcade machine AND a halo hanging sign with a new wall. Awesome how their booth is completely different each time I see them.
I bought their new figure the Pink Knight, and some other juicy Behemoth merch. Dan Paladin and Tom Fulp were signing stuff so I had my figures signed as well. Everyone at the Behemoth booth was super nice as usual. There were sooo many people lined up to play the arcade machines. (We played it the last day, and I’ll write about it.) Hooray for the Behemoth!
Because the game is almost out, the Duke Nukem Forever booth wasn’t covered up and didn’t have a 4-hour long line like PAX Prime last year, and you can take a photo with girls dressed up like school girls. PAX has a “no booth babe” rule but girls dressed up in the costume from the game is allowed. I didn’t really care much for the girls since they were inside the booth, and you had to get in the line to have a photo taken. But I seriously think having a guy dressed up like Duke Nukem instead of the school girls would make the fanboys happier. I can’t wait to see “hover hands” photos from their booth though.
The Mega64 guys were back at their merch table, doing what they’re good at.
From Background To Center Stage: Building Game Worlds As Main Characters, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
This was a panel the creators of BioShock, Ken Levine, Nate Wells, Shawn Robertson and Stephen Alexander. They talked about the process of building the world in a game, using the floating city “Columbia” from their upcoming game BioShock Infinite as an example. The game won’t come out anytime soon, so they didn’t really give us spoilers but Ken Levine was funny as usual.
After the panel, we walked around in the exhibitor’s floor a bit before it closed for the day.
We decided to go back to our room to have a quick dinner before the last panel for the day.
Giant Bombcast, Live! Feat. Da East Coast Family, 9:30pm – 10:30pm
Their panel was okay, I guess. The thing was that there was a part in the middle where two guys from Giant Bomb (not going to mention who) talked about some Nintendo stuff (which wasn’t either funny or interesting) and it went on FOREVER. Another thing was that since it was the last panel for the room, they had the room longer than what the schedule said, yet, for the Q&A they could only answer a handful of Q’s because for each Q, their A was like 5 minutes long. Then they’d get sidetracked during an A, and it’d end up nothing about the initial Q in the end. This was sad and bad because there were soooo many people in the line for a Q. Frankly I thought Mega64 panel handled their Q&A WAAAY MORE PROFESSIONALLY than them.
We got back to our room pretty late. We were tired but I was already excited for the next day, because I was planning to finally meet “him”!! (Not “Him” from BioShock Infinite, but kinda close…)
For more pictures of PAX East 2011, visit PAX East 2011 set!