Arts & Entertainment

PAX Prime delivers, with plenty of swag

PAX Prime (Penny Arcade Expo) is one of the largest yearly gaming conventions in existence. Passes sold out almost immediately after they went on sale and acquiring one after the fact could cost a small fortune. On Labor Day weekend, the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle was packed from wall to wall with fans from around the world.

Though most of the major publishers were there displaying their upcoming titles, picking and choosing which ones to play was a real problem. I outright skipped several games just because of the massive lines bordering their booths. To name a few, “Dishonored,” “Resident Evil 6,” and “Borderlands 2,” are games I was genuinely excited to see, but not enough to spend hours waiting to play.

On the plus side, skipping the more popular booths did give me time to find a few diamonds in the rough. One of which was “State of Decay,” a game being published by Microsoft, but being developed by just a small team of 20 known as Undead Labs. The game was one of the most well rounded zombie-apocalypse themed titles I’d heard of in a long time, and I can’t wait to see it on store shelves.

I also had the pleasure of strolling through the official Indie Megabooth, where I saw displays for games like “Toki Tori 2,” “Airmech,” and “Octodad.” It was way easier to snag play time with the indie games than their triple-A competitors, which made them all the more worthy of visiting.

The games weren’t the only things on display at the booths, however, swag was being handed out at every corner. For nonconvention- goers, “swag” is the term used to describe the free loot dished out to convention participants.

I also spent a great deal of time watching the “League of Legends Regional Championship,” which rivaled the “Dota 2 International” across the street. The championship was a four day event in which competitors played for a combined prize of over $150,000. The atmosphere was high energy, and I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite streamers going head-to-head for cash.

Last but not least, after-parties for PAX Prime are huge, and I attended a party thrown by ArenaNet to celebrate the launch of “Guild Wars 2.” Free food and drinks were provided, and I managed to get a poster signed by many of the developers. It was great to meet the faces behind a great game that I’ve been playing the heck out of since release.

PAX Prime 2012 was a total blast and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the cash for a pass and has the patience to snag one before they sell out. Three day passes cost $65 this year with individual days costing $35, though there is no guarantee that