The east coast edition of the Penny Arcade Expo is upon us, and there is a lot of cool stuff to check out this year! PAX serves as the bastion for people who love gaming. Video games, tabletop games, card games, VR, it’s all here! This week thousands descend upon Boston to meet and game with like-minded individuals. I had the pleasure of walking the floor today and saw some great stuff that you don’t want to miss.
Blizzard Entertainment Booth
As soon as you walk in you are met by the booming sounds from the video screens at the Blizzard Booth. With a giant screen playing constant trailers, youtube shorts, and game clips set over the booth it’s a must-see for any Blizzard fan. Blizzard is the company behind mega-hits like World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and most recently Overwatch. A cornerstone of the MMO and competitive gaming field they made sure to make their presence felt. With product demos and merch galore the most passive Blizzard fan can find something they like there. As a player of both Overwatch and Starcraft, I found the experience pretty impressive.
For anyone who hasn’t been playing the recently exploding genre that is Battle Royal games, you are missing out. The premise is simple but compelling. You are essentially playing the video game version of the movie Battle Royal–a bunch of people walk into an area with nothing, find weapons, and eliminate each other. The two most prominent members of this realm right now are Fortnite or Player Unknown Battle Grounds (known by fans as Pub-G). PUBG has a massive presence at PAX East. They have a giant pit of PC’s for massive groups of 100 people at a time to play together as well as another section for XBox players. Whether you are a fan or not I highly suggest checking it out, the simple but precise game style makes for a fun experience. And it’s an entirely different experience to be surrounded by the people you’re actually playing.
Square-Enix and more specifically Final Fantasy has a crazy presence at this year’s PAX East. Upon entering today, we were immediately handed lanyards brandished with Final Fantasy characters to hold our badges. The expo was a sea of foam Final Fantasy swords that people received as a giveaway. On top of that, the expo floor had large banners promoting Square-Enix’s own MMO game Final Fantasy XIV. The gaming company controls a large corner near the front of the expo’s floor with a myriad of information on games surrounding the Final Fantasy world. The booth is a must stop for any Final Fantasy fan.
Table Top Games
When you make your way to the back of the floor, there is an entire area devoted to tabletop and card games. Hundreds of people can take a place at the long tables and join fellow fans of their favorite games in adventures of their choosing. Some vendors sell specialty dice for the most avid fans of the table-top world. Major players such as Magic the Gathering and Star Wars have booths to entice fans as well as small independent games. It is a treasure trove for anyone looking to expand their table-top, card, or board game repertoire. For this D&D and Star Wars RPG player, it was heaven.
The Panels and Tournaments!
There are a plethora of ways to network, interact, and play with your fellow PAX East attendees! A list of panels packs the schedule, from seminars on how to network even if you’re “awkward as heck” to a panel debating what constitutes a “core” Mario game, means there’s something to enjoy for everyone. Add in tournaments from a massive list of games including Super Smash Bros., Pokemon, Mario Kart, and Diddy Kong Racing among many others, gives the people of PAX East a fun and competitive way to interact with their fellow gamers.
This was my first PAX East, and I didn’t know what to expect, but I am pleasantly surprised. It gives a fun, inclusive, and in-depth place for fans of gaming in all capacities to come together and celebrate their love. Even if you are a casual fan of gaming in any form, I highly suggest giving one of the interactions of PAX a go.