If there is one thing I look forward to summer, it’s the Penny Arcade Expo held every year in Seattle Washington. This year is special for me as this is my 10th consecutive year coming to this expo. This is a convention held by the creators of the web comic Penny-Arcade for fans and gamers. I went to the very first PAX back in 2004 when it was just 3,000 attendees taking up a few rooms in a small convention center. Now, it has grown to 64,000+ attendees celebrating everything gaming and geek culture over four days. It has grown so large that it has overflowed out of the largest convention center in the state, taken over the legendary Paramount theatre just down the street, and several conference rooms in the surrounding hotels. This is also a special time for my brother and myself as this is when we get one last weekend to spend time together before he heads back to college.
So since we both had jobs, we skipped Friday and started Saturday. Arriving later than usual, we barely found parking and made it into the convention center. But instead of heading for the main expo hall, we decided to head to one of the smaller halls on the top floor. The crowds there were less and there was some great stuff from smaller, independent developers. One of the more interesting things we saw there was a device called the Oculus Rift. It sounds like some a portal gun that tears through the fabric of space-time. Instead, it’s a set of VR goggles now sold at the consumer level. As much as it did make things more imersive, it’s not for those with motion sickness.
Afterwards, we made our way to the Paramount theatre for Acquisitions Incorporated, a live Dungeons & Dragons game with the creators of Penny Arcade. While waiting in line, I made some new friends and played my first ever game of Cards Against Humanity. In the game, one person reads a “fill in the blank” statement and everyone else plays a card to fill in that blank. LOL, I discovered that in order to play the game well, you had to have a sick and twisted mind. An couple hours of line waiting after, we watched the D&D match. A Dungeons & Dragons match is a lot funnier when held in front of a live audience. Our heroes encountered a tin robot filled with Kool-Aid that had a inappropriately placed spigot to drink from, a forest with tree nymphs who tried to seduce one of the players before strangling him, and a hundred foot statue that was really an ancient robot that they could control.
Finishing off the night was a concert from a group playing at PAX for the first time called The Doubleclicks. They were incredibly good. Their songs covering everything from the disappointment of dating Mr. Darcy who was a jerk, being labeled a “fake nerd”, to the most disturbing lullaby I have heard.
One day complete, tomorrow I’m hitting the main expo hall to see all the latest and greatest games and tech coming out soon.