Hello to our 1UP Infinite readers! This weekend we'll be providing coverage on PAX East this weekend beginning today on Thursday, April 21st through Sunday, April 24th. Our coverage will consist of the general presence on the show floor including the many booths available. They will also include exclusive interviews and hands-on demo experiences of upcoming and recently released titles.
As this is the first major convention of the year that we're working on, updates and articles for the next few days will be different this time around. Taking a break from our usual format of unboxing and previewing games, 1UP Infinite will use this post to update the event as a whole in real-time throughout the day. Please check back for the latest in gaming as New York invades Boston. It's going to be a hectic four days, but it will be a fun one!
Each day will have its own separate posts linked in relevance to that specific day. Whatever fresh thoughts I've had during the day and by the end of the day will be featured as so. Any in-depth posts like a panel or an interview that had taken place during that day will also be featured within that day.
Day 1 - Thursday, April 21st
The first day of the expo is finally here! Upon arrival, the wave of euphoria hit me as well as several other emotions all at once. Excitement and nervousness resonated within me like a cocktail and I drank the draught deep. The moment I entered the convention center I was awe-struck by how massive the space was. Back home in New York, the Javits was known for its renovation so a large chunk of the center would be closed off for conventions. I honestly feel like the size of Boston's convention center trumps Javits. Not only that but each space isn't left unturned.
The basement area is where the action is, featuring many booths with playable demos from many developers. It was here that I met my first "Enforcer," PAX's terms for volunteers. I've seen the red shirts throughout the day but I never knew this was what they called their volunteers. Matter of fact, what I've been used to in other conventions as "Press," is referred to as "Media" here.
Everyone who ranged from content creators to editorial press was all under the same umbrella and the same family. Despite the day being hectic, I always felt an air of calmness whenever I'd "take five" in the media room. Even writing this now in between my next interview and panel coverage, it's serene.
I suppose this was because no matter where you turned, you were always surrounded by gaming. As a news outlet that covers gaming exclusively, it didn't feel like work. It felt like I walked into a...Penny Arcade (I'm so sorry).
But, in all seriousness, seeing different types of games represented equally was a cool sight. Video games were the primary media, but tabletop RPGs were being played at any given time. There was a dedicated Magic The Gathering area that had a few games going on at once. There was even a dedicated PC gaming section, much like any LAN party.
Throughout the weekend I'll section off each location and feature them as I go along. First impressions for PAX East after Day 1? Like a kid at an arcade with a pocket full of quarters in the form of time. Not enough time to try everything all at once, but it won't stop me from doing so!
Day 2 - Friday, April 22nd
- Chromatic Games Spotlight @ PAX East 2022
- Big Blue Bubble Spotlight @ PAX East 2022
- Doinksoft Demon Throttle Spotlight @ PAX East 2022
Second day of PAX East was surprisingly more docile than the first day, which I suppose can be chalked up to everyone purchasing their merch on the first day. It could also have very well been the fact that it was still a weekday. As the day waned on and the steady flow of passage increased, the traffic began to flow. It never became crowded or burdening despite the impressive number of attendees.
This was when I realized how massive the Boston Expo Center is in comparison to the Jacob Javits Center. The Javits may appear large, or maybe it's because I've been there for years, but it never worked as a place to hold panels. The panel rooms were usually basement level and they never appeared grandiose. In Boston however, the panels are on the upper level, with enough space to hold many fans. There are pros and cons for both areas but I never felt packed like a sardine on the floor as I did at Javits.
It was humorous that I caught myself asking "Am I in the back yet?" every time I'd see a booth I hadn't seen before. The main corporate booths are towards the front, the indie booths are in the middle, merch tables are behind that, and lastly, the game area was in the back. PC setups, tabletop games, Magic The Gathering, you name it and it was probably there. At one point there was a tournament with a game I never heard of or seen before ever in my life. It had many players competing so it was a sight to see.
That wasn't all to the convention itself, however. Remember how I said that the space was larger than what I initially thought? Turns out that even when the expo hall closes, there's an entire area in the upper level dedicated to console gaming. Classic consoles and modern consoles are split into two rooms, with the former calling people via ticket number. Many games were played ranging from Marvel vs Capcom 2 and R4 Ridge Racer Type 4. They also hold tournaments here as well.
After I left the expo center, I tried to be bold and check out a place I heard of through word of mouth. There's a barcade in downtown known as VERSUS and I heard it was the place to be. It certainly was a place, but "to be" may be a bit too much. The barcade is a single level and as soon as you enter, there's the bar to your left. There are console setups for players to play each other in. Smash was on one TV and Tekken 7 was on another TV. Further down there was a skeeball setup and some classic games including Crazy Taxi and Cruis'n USA. Unfortunately, the Cruis'n machine was broken...
On the other side, there were classic 80s titles. Dig Dug, Pac-Man, and many other titles one would expect to see were there. There were also some pinball set-ups. If I were to attend on a weekend that wasn't PAX East, I would have enjoyed it more. Unfortunately, it was absolutely impossible to walk through the crowds, much less enjoy the environment. Turns out if you had a PAX East badge, it was free entry. It was a bust, but at least I got to say that I saw the place for myself.
That about wraps up Day 2. There were some ups and downs but we're keeping the high going as we reach the midway point. Stay tuned for the busiest day of the con.
Day 3 - Saturday, April 23rd
Saturday kicked off with an absolute bang, including a panel I've wanted to attend since I've seen it on the schedule. This is enough for its own post and retrospective so I'll keep this brief.
The day started off with a panel featuring two well-known VAs, Casey Mongillo and Kira Buckland showcasing Bloody Roar 2. Bloody Roar 2 was a fighting game released on the PSZ in the late 90s and developed by Hudson Soft. While being the second game in the series, it is often lauded as the best in the series and one of the most important 3D fighters at the time.
I have fond memories of the game as a child through sheer curiosity during my Blockbuster rental days. The concept of humans turning into anthropomorphic beasts and engaging in merciless combat intrigued me. The designs were cool and unique to this day, offering a simple easy-to-learn yet hard-to-master gameplay.
The franchise would run for at least six games before unceremoniously being killed off after the abysmal reception for Bloody Roar 4. How Casey would find out about the game would be through sheer chance, ironically much like my own discovery. Using their knowledge of the Song console, they were able to work something out with many of their friends and acquaintances. Casey would dub Bakuryu, a teenager with a ninja background who transforms into a mole. Kira would dub Uriko, a fellow teen who was used as a test subject for study on the Zoanthropes.
Again, diving deep into the game and the story itself would be an entirely different post. What I found most awesome about the panel was the voice actors' interest in a title I grew up with. For ages, I felt no one knew about the series until I saw people play Bloody Roar 3 at Combo breaker.
While the project had its ups and downs specifically due to the archaic technology originally used, this opened the door for many potential fandubs in the future. If given the chance, they said they would love to do one based on The King Of Fighters.
Specifically, Kira as Athena and Casey as Chris. Both who I say are very good roles for both actors.
The rest of the day consisted of the aforementioned appointments with DotEmu and PQube. I mentioned it in the former's post but I can't stress how much I adore April in Shredder's Revenge. I'm a sucker for attention to detail and the devs really went all out. The cosplayers gave it their A+ Game. The standout cosplay was someone who cosplayed Emet Selch from Final Fantasy 14. As you can tell from the images there were a LOT of FF14 players, but this one took the cake.
Mr. Emet was kind enough to give me his thoughts on PAX as well as spare me from the sundering. Thank you Mr. Emet. For more of his stuff check out his IG @LordKuros17
Day 4 - Sunday, April 24th
I'm writing this as I'm currently on a stuffed bus back to New York and already I'm missing the convention. "Con Depression," or the feeling of having FOMO despite having been there, is definitely real. Strangely enough, I didn't feel sad it was over, but rather I was excited for what the future brought. This was the second convention I've been to after the "national hiatus," the first being Anime NYC 2021. You start to see an appreciation in seeing others enjoy themselves. As this was my first ever convention alone, this was more of a necessity.
Every morning I stumbled into the media room to place my belongings, I felt as if the people surrounding me I've known for years. Some have been going to PAX East for years, others, like myself, are green. Regardless, we were all here for the same reason. Our love of gaming and our jobs that support it. The developers and exhibitors would no doubt feel the same, seeing fans of their work enjoy the hours they put into their passions. This was the common reaction I got when I would see a dev or PR's face light up from mentioning a game of theirs.
While there was a large influx of "indie" titles, I hate using that word. Whether it's a small group of people or an established enterprise, gaming is gaming. We're all united by the same cause and there is no divide. That said, the community makes these conventions worth it. Whether you were the ones who carried your gaming rig for all to see or you played Magic The Gathering for hours, you're valuable. Going to conventions like these reminds me why I love doing what I do. A great example of this was meeting the CEO of PM Studios, Michael Yum.
On Saturday, after my "shift" was over, I had a chance to meet him after gushing about one of my favorite rhythm games, DJMAX. For a more modern example of my love for the company, look no further than my MUSYNX review just before I left for Boston. Our physical talk was brief but I can tell he was happy to know I loved his projects from way back.
This led to meeting the Marketing Director for PM Studios, Paul Hartling. Hartling also manages Bemanistyle, one of, if not the largest rhythm game fansite. This all comes full circle, but as we spoke on Sunday I felt he and I were kindred spirits. It was both of our passions for video games that led to those willing to take a chance on us. In his case, it was PM Studios and in mine, it was 1UP Infinite.
Not to get sentimental, but gaming for more people than one would think has been a key point in their lives. Not just video games, but tabletop RPGs and card games are great ways to meet new people. Strangers become best friends through the simple passing of similar interests. PAX East was a convention where I felt I could be myself around many others who felt the same. As I left the press room for the final time, I felt a bit of sadness that it was over. I knew then and there that I'd come back next year.