Was PAX East really over two months ago? Feels like I was there just yesterday.
With E3 nipping at our heels, now’s the perfect time for the final entry of my in depth review of the event.
No concerts tonight, but OC Remix University did a set in the Jam Space. I almost missed it, but someone was at the door shouting out “CHRONO TRIGGER!” as I walked by, so I went right in. Incredible set.
Immediately after, they had a panel and previewed a lot of their upcoming projects. One of which is out now, Milky Way Wishes: A Kirby Super Star Tribute. They also previewed Bad Ass 2, a sequel to their first villain theme remix album, Bad Ass. This album is a must-listen. And I can’t wait for BA2. My friends and I spent a lot of time in the hotel listening to the Baby Bowser boss theme from Yoshi’s Island and I was thrilled to see that a remix to that will be on this album.
Back in the Jam Space, just enjoying the music. At one point Amanda Lepre (Crusader from Those Who Fight) joined the jam. Also there was a kid who played a killer Song of Storms arrangement on his Ocarina.
Suddenly I’m very inspired to attend MAGFest next year. And also, I’m ready to play some games.
Got a better look at Ducktails Remastered. Meh. The returning voice actors from the cartoon is great, but those high-res remastered sprites don’t move their beaks when the characters are talking. It’s weird. Plus, it looks so much better than the original, but not quite the same as a cartoon. Something is off, something is missing. It’s the uncanny valley between game sprites and cell drawn cartoons. Creeps me out.
Finally got to try the two best indie games at the convention. The first is Soda Drinker Pro, a soda drinking simulator that challenges gamers to drink a cup of soda. To up the challenge, you are given a variety of environments to drink in, such as a pack, a game convention, outer space, and even inside a giant month. Game of the Year is here. Sorry, Bioshock.
The second is Dive Kick, the most challenging and strategic fighting game you’ll ever play. The game controller has two buttons: Dive and Kick. The combat is visceral and cerebral at the same time as fighters try to dive kick each other to score that one hit K.O. One wrong move. One early kick or late dive and you’re dead.
I’m not being sarcastic, this game is intense. You know that feeling when both you and your foe are down to a sliver of health and one wrong move can mean defeat? Every round feels exactly like that.
You pick from a assortment of fun parody characters, each with their own style and advantages. Choose carefully. And heed the advice of Master, who inspires you during the loading screens with such words of wisdom as “Buy this game.”
I saw a sexy Sonic cosplay, accompanied by a Knuckles who looked like he’d beat the gold rings out of me if he saw how I was looking at Sonic. Sunday seemed to be cross-play day, because I also saw an all male Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers team. Morphinominal!
Made another attempt at finding Cards Against Humanity Pack C. No success. I give up. I try my luck at the bar.
The bar is out of Guinness. This convention is officially over.
Final Grade: B+
Overall PAX East Grade: 95%
In the year 200X, a robot named The Megas was created by Dr. Light to stop the mysterious evil genius Dr. Wily’s ambition to conquer the world. In the year 2008, a video game cover band named The Megas was created by Rev. Breeding and E to rearrange the music from the Mega Man game series, adding lyrics that would breathe new depth into the Blue Bomber, the 8 Robot Masters, and even their creators.
The Megas’s first album, Get Equipped, is a collection of ballads based on the songs from Mega Man 2. Each song endows one of the 8-bit sprites with very human characteristics and explores them. Bubble Man’s insecurity. Metal Man’s arrogance. Air Man’s isolation-fueled rage. In “Lamentations of a War Machine” Mega Man is conflicted after his victory, wrestling with the concept of destroying his fellow robots in the name of “everlasting peace.”
History Repeating is a larger, more ambitious project than Get Equipped. So large that it had to be split into two parts. In the first installment, History Repeating: Blue, The Megas continue to narrate the very human aspirations and motivations of the next generation of robotic bosses and even their human creators. Magnet Man has a forbidden attraction to Roll, Snake Man urges Mega Man to turn on Dr. Light and join the other side of the human/robot war, and Dr. Wily’s jealousy of Dr. Light drives him insane. Again. And in “(I Want to be The One) To Watch You Die,” the unofficial sequel to the band’s very first song “I Want to be the One”, Dr. Light has had enough of Wily’s betrayal and urges Mega Man to put a permanent end to his machinations.
I’m eagerly awaiting the second part of this project, History Repeating: Red. The Megas has released a small previous of their work in the form of Fly on a Dog. Again, Mega Man questions his place, but this time in the eyes of his “father” Dr. Light. Is he the scientist’s beloved son or just his favorite weapon?
Normally I prefer music that is available for free, but so far I’ve purchased all of The Megas albums. It’s worth it. But if you prefer, the band has all of the tracks from History Repeating: Blue and Fly on a Dog available on their YouTube page.
Once you start to feel the same urge to own it that I felt after listening to the freebies for a week, you can purchase it at their Band Camp page here.
Surprise, more buttons from FanGamer! Non-sarcastic surprise, one of those buttons was a special Triforce button, which got me a free t-shirt from their booth! The power to make wishes come true, indeed.
I raided the queue room a few times for swag bags, in an attempt to get all three sets of the PAX exclusive Cards Against Humanity booster cards. Unfortunately, half the extra bags I took had already been looted for their bounty and returned to the pile. Karma sucks.
You know what doesn’t suck? Legends of the Cipher. It is a deck building card game that takes you through the life of a budding MC, struggling to climb up the ladder from local rapper to hip hop legend. And it’s a lot of fun. I sat down with the lead game designer and rapper Seth Brown, also known as Ham-STAR, and played a quick round. Simple, easy to set up and get into, and a lot of fun. Especially the free-styling part, which you can actually have fun with and make up on the spot, or recite a favorite rhyme from memory, or just use the ones printed on the cards.
I also sat down to watch a demo of Saints Row IV. I was worried that this wondrously ridiculous game would die now that THQ was finished, but Deep Silver picked up the ball and kept running. Somehow this manages to be even more ludicrous than the last installment. The demo showcased a few weapons, such as the Inflato-Ray and the Dubstep Gun. Both are exactly what you think they are. Also, mech suits, aliens, and super powers are involved. Oh, and I forgot to mention that your character is now inexplicably the President of the United States. Hail to the Chief!
And hail to the cosplayers on Saturday. It seems people saved their A-Game for Day Two. There was a great family cosplay of Glados, some random Aperture Science employee, and the portrait of Cave Johnson. I also ran into a steampunk Sailor Moon and a GIANT Pikachu with working ears. It’d be terrifying if it weren’t so adorable.
I also spotted an old favorite of mine, Mr. T with his giant box of Mr. T cereal. He rocks!
“Double Johnny Walker Black on the rocks, please.” After a long day of wandering the convention hall, I decided to kill time before the concert by getting wrecked at the bar. The bartenders there take forever to get to you, but at a event that might as well be called “Queue-topia” what’s one more line.
Two drinks later, it was time for the show.
It was impossible to tell that this was Sam Hart’s first time performing at PAX East. His set was fantastic and he had the crowd eating out of his hand with his Mario Kart song. The Adele sample he threw in was a great touch.
MC Frontalot had an good set. No new songs and no surprise feature from Mega Ran this year (he was busy doing his own show elsewhere), but his remix of the Penny Arcade Theme with the Game of Thrones theme sample was mind blowing.
No new songs from Coulton either, but his set was hilarious. He seemed to have learned from his previous two PAX East performances that the crowd goes wild whenever he drinks water, so he trolled us by drinking refreshing applesauce instead.
Paul and Storm Storm and Paul headlined PAX this year! Zealous Arrr! They started with an ad for their web series, Learning Town. Looks hilarious. Then they opened with a completely original song, Baby Got Back. They followed that with a list of favorites, closing of course with the crowd rousing The Pirate’s Wife’s Lament. Also, Storm put on a Utilikilt that was thrown on stage during the show. Also, they had the crowd of something thousand geeks tweet an ASCII penis to Wil Whedon.
A good day and a great night. PAX East can really drain the life out of you and at this point I was definitely feeling it. Sunday is going to be a very lazy day.
Final Grade: 9.5 out of 10.
Cosplay: Nothing exceptional in this category today. The most impressive costume I saw was a group that mashed up Pikachu and Tron. Pokétron? PikaCLU? There was also a creative Knuckles cosplay I spotted at the hotel. Haven’t seen her at the convention yet, so I’m not counting it. That could just be how she dresses everyday.
There was the usually scattering of Harley Quinns and Fionnas. I thought I saw an impressive Avengers group cosplay, but turned out they were just promoting the Marvel Heroes game. Speaking of which…
Games: Only went hands on with one game on the first day: Marvel Heroes, because the line was short. Once I played it, I could see why. Remember everything that was fun about Marvel Ultimate Alliance? Well, Marvel Heroes doesn’t. There are no variations or combos with the melee attacks or special power attacks, which makes combat very boring.
On the plus side, I got a free poster from their booth. Speaking of which…
Swag: I won the aforementioned poster for knowing what Wundergore was. Won some free buttons from FanGamer.net, which will go well with the free buttons they gave me with my last order. They love to give away buttons. It’s also suspicious how willing they are to give away those buttons.
Also got some CAH cards and a slap bracelet. The fact that they didn’t give out any Luigi themed Swag for his big anniversary was a disappointment. Speaking of which…
Concert: The concert nights never disappoint. Metroid Metal wasn’t there, unfortunately, but VGO rocked extra hard this year to restore the balance of the evening. Especially their insane paced F-Zero arrangement. The Video Game Choir was with them and they sounded amazing in One Winged Angel and Still Alive. VGO had a new vocalist for Snake eater. She wasn’t as mind blowing at the vocalist they had last year, but she was still great.
I didn’t stay for Those Who Kill and The Protomen. I had beers to drink. Speaking of Guinness…
Alcohol: One of my favorite parts of the BECC is the big bar near the center. The had Guinness Draught in the bottle, which is a major win. Next best thing, if they don’t have it on tap. And the bar is right around the corner from the Rock Band freeplay stage, so I could take a little break from Con-Crawling by drinking a beer and watching a 12 year old crush the drums in an Avenged Sevenfold song.
All and all, this hasn’t been as amazing as previous years. It’s still been great, but the other years just set an outstanding standard.
Final Grade: B+