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There’s really no way to fully digest, then subsequently regurgitate, what happened at PAX East this year. The offering was simply too large; the portions served up in overabundant quantities. Maybe the other three members of Lunar Giant could offer up a better summary for you, but since I run this blog, what follows is my own account:

We arrived in Boston on Thursday. Basically got off the plane and headed straight to a cab, and from there to the hotel. The cab ride to the hotel, and subsequent walks around town confirmed something I’d been told: Boston is nothing like Chicago. It’s haphazard, it’s confusing, but it’s also so much more charming in many ways than my hometown. Also, the selection of locally brewed IPAs in Boston is simply overwhelming, but that discussion is for another time.
The Park Plaza Hotel was a pretty great place, despite their (now infamous, for Scott Kurtz’s effort) small bathrooms.

That’s the lobby of the Park Plaza. Many of us spent several nights down there gaming and sobering up into the wee morning hours. And then we woke up and started it all over again.

Anyway, Thursday was mostly spent wandering around downtown Boston, sampling the beers, and checking out the Boston Convention Center (where PAX would be hosted the next day). It was a good time. I took a snap of what the Convention Center looked like the day before, but alas, don’t have an after pic:

The rest of the weekend pretty much blends together, so I’m going to skip giving a day-by-day breakdown. I went to some really great panels, met some fantastic people, talked to some promising indie game companies, did an interview for Delve Deeper (and scored a few more), gamed, drank beers, and hung out with friends and family who all came with for PAX.

The Panels (or, at least, the notable ones that I most enjoyed):
- How to Fund Your Game Development Project with Kickstarter!
- Whose Banhammer Is It Anyway?
- The Rat Bastard’s Guide to a Long Campaign (a D&D panel, but had very relevant tips to story creation)
- Penny Arcade (Make a Strip!)
- After Hours with Kris and Scott (Scott and Kris)

All of these panels were great, but I most notably learned a lot at the Kickstarter and D&D panels. As some of you may know, Delve Deeper 2 was accepted onto Kickstarter a while back, and while we haven’t started developing the game yet, are increasingly interested in how to make our Kickstarter project work not just for us, but the people who invest their money in our game. This panel talked about what made a successful Kickstarter campaign, and more interestingly, featured some people with really great stories about how they got their games off the ground using it.

The D&D panel, on the other hand, just had some really great advice on how to engineer an interesting story that had room to breathe. It also rekindled my D&D group’s interest in getting our game back up and running, which is pretty fantastic. Oh yeah, and the panelists were hilarious.

Finally, the Make a Strip! panel with the guys from Penny Arcade was expectedly great, but in my opinion, was overshadowed by PvP’s After Hours schtick. Of course, trying to convince my wife that the most hilarious moment of PAX was when Scott Kurtz announced that he just pooped over a megaphone is another challenge.

The Indies (or, the ones we met who were showcasing in indie alley and the Boston Indie Showcase):
- Tin Man Games has a very interesting little idea going for them with interactive, choose-your-own-adventure-like books for the iPad, iPhone, etc. Think skill-ups, beautiful art, and the books you used to love as a kid.
- Tap City is a fantastic little game for the iPhone that’s a lot like Foursquare, but with actual compelling strategy game elements (build on top of locations you visit, defend them from other players, stuff like that).
- Snapshot was just an incredibly innovative game with some pretty nice art to boot.

The People (whose names I can’t remember all of, but whose company I enjoyed tremendously, and some of whom I’d like to think I became friends with):
It’s really hard to say where to start. I spent Thursday into Friday morning at maybe 4am talking with someone I’d met in the hotel lobby about how game pricing models were rapidly becoming outdated. Brian, you’re awesome man! I spent all of Friday and Saturday in line for panels, talking with really great people about video games, board games, how to break out in the game industry, and so many other things. I hung out with the guys from Lunar Giant and my brother; people who I consider some of my greatest friends. The people, all around, were great.

Oh! And The Stig & I also had a really great interview with Steve Burke of Gamer’s Nexus about our game on Sunday. Go check their blog out, and I’ll edit this post to include a link once it’s up!

So now that that’s all out of the way, there’s one other thing you should know about PAX. The thing that makes PAX so special, the reason why it gets bigger every year, is that as a gamer, there are few other places I’ve felt more welcome and at home at than the community that sprang up around PAX. I could strike up a conversation about games, technology, or whatever else with anyone I was standing in line with, and we’d each know what the hell the other person was talking about. I could sit in a ritzy hotel lobby, with suits walking in and out, but have a dozen people right next to me dishing out Magic cards, and look at that suit and not feel out of place. I could play Team Fortress 2 on LAN in the PC room with my younger brother, and have everyone on the server be totally cool to play with.

By next year’s PAX East, Lunar Giant should have a few more games under its belt. I have no idea if I speak for everyone in the company, but I’d love to have a booth on the exhibition floor by then. I wouldn’t even mind throwing together a panel based on everything I’ve learned about video game marketing, and inviting a lot of the game marketing and journalist people who I know and have become friends with to join me.

Until then, it’s nose back to the grindstone. Get Delve Deeper on Steam, and soon for XBLIG! :)

Ad astra.