The inaugural PAX South occurred this weekend in San Antonio. And it was awesome!
It’s events like these that remind me why I switched careers to work in the gaming industry. While most of our time is spent working, we try to find some time to go participate in some of the panels and play some games.
This is the point where Noelle will be shaking her head. She never leaves the booth. She is a one-woman sales force behind that table and, as one guy put it this weekend, “a machine”. If you ever have a chance to swing by, please say hello to her. No matter how much she works a convention, she’s always energetic and friendly with everyone that comes by.
So now let me tell you about all the fun stuff...
I had my eye on this game from the minute we walked in the door. I’ve honestly never heard of GreyBox before, but they definitely made their presence known at this show. There were two games, Dreadnought and Grey Goo. Grey Goo looked like an RTS similar to Command and Conquer.
On the third day, I finally snuck over just before the convention floor opened to play a round and it was as good as I had hoped. For ten minutes I basically cycled through a bunch of different starships in the middle of a space battle, taking each one for a test spin. The graphics were amazing, and the more I learned from the devs as they walked by giving pointers, the more I appreciated the tactical nature of the game.
You have energy that powers your shields, weapons, and movement. You can choose to divert power to any of these three to boost them. Over time, you will also gain access to special ‘moves’ like missiles that you can use during battle.
Some ships are huge and lumbering, like the dreadnaught, while others are smaller and more nimble, but easier to destroy.
Overall, it looks to be a very fun game. I just hope it comes out for the Mac on release this Spring.
This is currently on Kickstarter as a “Real time trading card game”. It plays a lot like other digital card games where you build your deck and cast spells/summon creatures with energy that you acquire during play. The twist is that you only have five seconds to do it.
The idea is that once you know what the cards do, you can play many games quickly. While this sounds great in theory, I found myself just playing the first card I could read quickly enough to figure out what it was going to do. The five seconds seemed too short a time frame to come up with any real strategies or combos. I also have some concerns about how lag, etc. will be handled.
It’s still in development, so some of this may change during beta testing (I played an alpha), but it looked good enough that I backed the Kickstarter and figured it was worth watching. Everyone at the booth was really friendly and the art was great, so I hope this one pans out.
Fortified was the first game that I played at PAX, probably because it was the one that was next to our booth. It didn’t hurt that it was an interesting looking game that was really fun to play.
The basic idea is that you have a home base that you are protecting from aliens that attack you in waves. You play one of four character classes, building traps and armaments between each wave and then shooting the aliens that attack. Oh, and it has a classic 1950s sci-fi feel to it.
I played the female rocketeer that can fly around with her jet pack and just carpet bomb things with her bazooka. Between that and her charging ray gun, it was pretty much the perfect character class for me and we narrowly beat the four wave demo that Clapfoot was running during the show.
These guys were cool booth neighbors and we look forward to seeing them again at future shows. We’ll be looking to buy the game on Xbox One (also available on a couple other platforms) later this year.
Easily the highlight of my weekend and the majority of the panels that I attended. Gearbox is only a few hours away so they combined their Community Day with PAX South on Sunday and had a ton of content to show off.
Between the sneak peeks of the next telltale games Tales from the Borderlands, the new Lady Hammerlock DLC, the Handsome Collection, the Homeworld Remastered Collection, and all of the new Battleborn characters, I was in overload. Can’t wait to play all the things!
For a better look at these, check out Gearbox Software’s site.
There was a ton more, but these were some of the highlights for me.
It’s an exciting time to be in the industry and to be able to watch it continually evolve.
PAX South was easily one of our favorite shows and we hope to participate again next year. Everyone we met was super chill and it’s great to be around great people that are having fun.
Who knows, maybe next year we’ll have something of our own to show off.
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