My Day At PAX Prime

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On September 2nd I had the pleasure of attending PAX Prime aka the largest video game convention outside of Japan.

I came in thinking I would get to play a few video games and maybe score some cool schwag. What I actually experienced was so much greater. Below I will discuss the outcome of the console wars, indie games to keep an eye on, and the future of gaming.

 

The Console Wars:
Winner: Playstation 4
(Disclosure – I own a PS3, Xbox 360, and a Wii, and this had no affect on my decision)

Playstation 4

  • Playstation had a pretty massive section which had plenty of PS4, PS3, and Vita consoles. I was sold on the controller alone, the first time you hold one you will be blown by the way it just molds into your hand. In the past Playstation has received complaints about its controller and I have to say, they really knocked it out of the park with the way they listened and delivered. Played Drive Club and I really enjoyed it even though I was pretty bad and the ghost cars of everyone who played before me were lapping me. Also played a game I had never heard of called Divekick where you literally just dive and kick using the L1 and R1 buttons against an opponent in a Mortal Combat style platform, it was fun but button smashing isn’t my thing. Was going to try Watch Dogs but the line was massive.

Xbox One

  • This section was pretty closed off with an egregious line to try Call of Duty Ghosts. They also had signs all over the place banning pictures and video of anything in their section, with their hired goons yelling at poor curious gamers who tried to take pictures. So having not been able to try the Xbox One myself since the line was so massive and I was put off by the security I can’t really comment on the console or the controller themselves.

Wii U

  • If there is something Nintendo is great at, it’s consistency. We get year after year of our favorite classics revamped and restructured. They had a really great open set up at PAX where you could just walk up and play with plenty of their new releases. Tried my hand at the new Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Best Indie Games:
Winners: Super Time Force, Sportsfriends, Contrast, and PixelJunk Inc

Super Time Force

  • In Super Time Force you can play a variety of characters and if you are killed you can simply jump back in time, choose another character or the same one, and play with yourself in the past. Imagine Super Meat Boy after you defeat a level, only the attempts where you die play alongside of you. I know it’s hard to understand but it’s a pretty cool game that warrants a buy if not at the very least a try. It will be available from Xbox Live Arcade.

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Sportsfriends

  • Originally started and funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sportsfriends drew up a crowd of observers as 4 players dueled it on with jousting sticks to see who could get the ball on the other team’s side. The games look simple but trust me they are highly addictive and prove their worth among the other massive blockbuster games that surrounded them at PAX. Can’t wait to buy and play with my friends. This will be available for the Playstation 3 and PC this year.

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Contrast 

  • Contrast is a puzzle game where you can take over your shadow to go through certain obstacles. Basically if you need to climb to the roof of a building you can jump on and climb onto the shadows of things on the streets that are casting shadows onto the wall you’re on. It’s pretty cool stuff and I can’t wait to get my hands on this. Availble for the PS4 in Q4 2013. 

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PixelJunk Inc

  • PixelJunk does it again with Pixeljunk Inc. In this game you and another player play robots who can destroy matter around them and pick up bits and parts. These parts are then used to construct different components and structures that help you achieve certain tasks. This game actually follows the laws of physics in the sense that if you destroy material under a hill, the hill will collapse on you. As a fan of other PixelJunk games in the past, I will continue to be a loyal fan and get this as soon as it comes out. This game will be available through Steam.

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Future of Gaming:
If I was a betting man (I am), I would be all in on the fact that the Oculus is going to lead the future of gaming and computing. You may be thinking, well duh its virtual reality, but virtual reality devices have been around for a while. I remember in middle school over 10 years ago in math camp (yeah I went to math camp..) we went on a trip to the University of Central Florida and they put a virtual reality helmet on me and I was able to walk around this virtual office. It was impressive at the time but the Oculus has gone leaps and bounds from the clunky device I wore as an awkward teenager.

I tried on the Oculus for two different games. Aztez, a sword slashing game against tough opponents with the pressure of time, and Wander where you are either a tree or a bird and you walk or fly around the forest and oceans looking for upgrades. In both games you feel incredibly immersed once you put the Oculus on and it really adds to the experience. If they adapted Grand Theft Auto 5 for the Oculus I wouldn’t even hesitate to shell out hundreds for the beta. The only thing it’s missing is built in headphone so you don’t have to put an additional thing on your head.

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Pax Prime proved itself to be one of the best experiences I have had in a long time. I fell in love with a number of indie games, decided the Playstation 4 is going to be my console of choice, and tried on the Oculus. I am leaving so many things out that make Pax Prime truly amazing, but I don’t have enough time or space to write it all. Do yourselves a favor and attend PAX next year, buy a PS4, check out those indie games, and an Oculus if you have any money left over. You won’t regret it.

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Author: David Roa View all posts by
University of Florida graduate. Worked for Google, NYSE, and run a music company embr.fm ORL / SEA / NYC

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