Descending into the madness that was PAX East 2013:
I had a great time at this year's PAX East. For those who don't know, PAX East is a growing yearly convention in Boston centered on gamer culture - mostly video games, but also board games, card games and podcasts/media. It's tens of thousands of people in the Boston Convention Center, geeking out and having a fun time. It really is great!
|Riot's League of Legends was massive this year, which makes sense, |
since it's currently the most popular game in the world.
|My man Tryndamere!|
I did see quite a few good games at this year's show. Per usual, the big players brought out their big guns: huge promotional displays for upcoming games, tie-ins with streaming web sites that included interviews, competitions, giveaways, and more. Gamer tech was well represented this year as well, with Sennheiser showing off some truly great-sounding and great-looking headphones and headsets, along with Turtle Beach, who have really, really good-looking headsets (albeit totally overpriced.)
One of the best things about PAX East is its support for "indie" game development. There were dozens of small game developers looking to get their big break. This year, in my opinion, was the year of the Indie: there were tons of creative and good-looking titles, many for iPad, iPhone, and the Playstation Vita (a personal interest of mine.)
Here are three that I wanted to talk about in particular:
Legend of Dungeon virtually screams "retro gamers unite!" This game does a few things that set it apart from the ever-growing field of nostalgia-based platformers and puzzlers. It's a four player online co-op game that plays a bit like the classic dungeon-crawler Gauntlet. The game's dungeons and music are randomly-generated, so every time you play it, things are a bit different. The randomly-generated music is a really cool idea, in particular.
Tengami is a casual puzzle game where you explore Japanese papercraft-inspired environments and interact with various creatures. It's a very unique, meditative, and slow-paced experience, with great music. This was one of the highlights of PAX East for me.
|You interact with the environment by pulling paper|
tabs, flipping pages, and tapping to move the character.
The game is developed by the small UK-based development team called Nyamyam. You can find their web site, which includes some cool blog posts about developing the game, here. Tengami is expected to be released later this summer.
I have to admit that I didn't get the chance to sit down and play this game due to the length of the lines, but it seems to be part of a growing niche of adventure/puzzle games in which the lighting becomes a physical part of the environment. Similar in some ways to games like Lost in Shadow, Limbo, and Closure, you manipulate the environment to provide the means for the character to progress through the story. The visuals and sound really set this one apart: It didn't look like anything I'd ever seen before, and was really cool.
|Me! Circa 2013.|
Since the company I work for wasn't showing anything this year, it gave me the chance to explore a bit more than usual, which was nice. Still, it's really fun to show there, so hopefully next year!
Did you go to PAX East this year? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below!