PAX East 2012: Day Two

8:00 AM – Got a (much) later start this morning. The last panel I want to hit is at 9:00 PM, so I thought a bit of extra sleep would be nice. It’s also tough not to take the opportunity to sleep in when your toddler and newborn happen to be in another state.

10:36 AM – Briefly hit the expo floor before the next panel. Highlight was playing an upcoming XBLA title Hell Yeah!, a tongue-in-cheek Metroidvania game about a demonic rabbit and his Hellish minions.

I spent the first few minutes of gameplay trying to dodge all of the flames, until I realized that (a) fire is pretty much everywhere in Hell, and (b) as a skeletal demonic rabbit overlord, it doesn’t hurt you.

1:24 PM – Great Irrational Games panel about the monster design process for the upcoming Bioshock Infinite game. Sounded like these guys really work from the bottom up, continually thinking about the narrative and each character’s integration into the game world. They even talked about some of the early 20th century period research they did, touching on topic ranging from automatons to photography to antiseptics.

Concept art for one of the “Boys of Silence”. They also played the sound effect for his “scream attack” at a high volume. It’s not a sound you want to hear more than once.

2:16 PM – Met up with with a friend from Red 5 Studios who is here promoting FireFall, an upcoming massive multiplayer online shooter. We chatted while I followed her around the massive convention center on her quest to deliver swag to the other promo stations.

FireFall had one of the more impressive booths on the expo floor.

4:06 PM – Phenomenal panel on legal issues in the gaming industry, featuring lawyers from Take-Two and Gearbox (among others). The discussion covered a range of great topics, from last year’s video games first amendment case in the Supreme Court, to data privacy (regarding the PSN hack), to always-on DRM, to banning sex offenders from online services. Also covered was the landmark case of Pac-Man vs K .C. Munchkin.

4:48 PM – They’re having a promotion at the Far Cry 3 booth where they promise you a free copy of the game if you let them shave your head. How about a deal instead where I pay you $60 and I get to keep my hair? Or even better, one where I pay you $0, I keep my hair, and I don’t have to play Far Cry 3?

Could be worse… yesterday they were giving out tattoos. (No joke.) I hear tomorrow they’re doing free dental work.

6:02 PM – Decided take a walk during my dinner break to ditch my gear. While the stereotype that gamers are unkempt and malodorous is often overstated, I have to admit that Boston’s dismal spring air did seem a bit more refreshing than usual.

6:45 PM – Considering all the Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering I’ve seen here, I was astonished to end up in line next to a group of people playing actual cards. Further inquiry revealed the game to be an arcane Vietnamese variant of Asshole called “Killer“.

7:45 PM – Attended a panel on freelance video game journalism, featuring Susan Arendt, managing editor of The Escapist (who was on yesterday’s panel about game criticism). Heard some good tips in case I ever take this little hobby of mine to the next level.

10:00 PM – Giant Bomb Safe and Sane Family Funfest 2012. Panel topics included the site’s recent acquisition by CBS Interactive, the crew’s list of PAX must-see games, StreetPassing, Cards Against Humanity, prestidigitation and Hank Lee’s Magic Factory.

11:36 PM – Giant Bomb post-party at J. J. Foley’s. Got a chance to meet a bunch of great users, as well as talk with Brad Shoemaker and Patrick Klepek from the site. Also there was beer.

2:24 AM – It’s been a long time since I was in a bar late enough to be herded out at closing time. Tomorrow morning might be a rough start.

What Do You Think?