I did a writeup about PAX East last year, and I've found it helpful to occasionally refer back to my notes, so I wanted to do the same thing again! We went to a ton of sessions, so I'm going to break it up by day.
Storytime with Jordan Mechner - The PAX keynote, Jordan Mechner shared his career path starting with skipping his computer science classes in college to program on his Apple 2, to creating Karetaka and Prince of Persia, to going to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. Some highlights:
- One of his first games ever was Deathbounce. Apparently he received so many emails and tweets after the keynote about doing a kickstarter, he released it!: http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2012/04/deathbounce/
- After Prince of Persia, he left for Hollywood to pursue a screen writing career. He was a couple of years into his 5 year plan when he got the idea to work on The Last Express - which is going to be re-released on iOS!
- Following Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, he went back to Hollywood, and worked on the screenplay for the Prince of Persia live action film!
- Key Takeaway: Don't worry too hard about planning your future! Do what you're interested in doing, and the things you make out of passion will end up taking you to interesting places.
Vox Games - New gaming news, features and reviews site Polygon was revealed! The idea is to build a sort of Avengers of talented journalists, and create an incredibly high caliber gaming site that people can take seriously. I am definitely excited. :) I've been following http://www.theverge.com/gaming which is where they are currently posting articles, and it's wonderful so far.
Gamespot Presents Escape from Mount Stupid - Video Journalism - Danny O'Dwyer talked about his show on Gamespot and the idea behind it (educate - but do it in a way that's entertaining), as well as how he got into game journalism. Mostly, he just did his own stuff and built up his experience over time, and eventually got a job at Gamespot in London. He also premiered his latest episode of the show about religion:
Penny Arcade Report and Long-Form Journalism - Ben Kuchera is actually the first person I've 'discovered' exclusively through Twitter. :) Issam came across his Twitter because he posted something about Skylanders (at the time, Issam was obsessively combing Twitter for Skylander's comments since it had just come out and he worked on the 3DS game). We quickly realized that Ben Kuchera is an awesome, down to earth, intelligent guy that posts interesting things.
He runs the Penny Arcade Report, which is currently just him - which is an excellent news site that everyone should read! The idea is to not be as focused on 'getting the latest story out as fast as posssible' in order to keep people coming back regularly (a la Kotaku), but to take a little more time and craft longer-form articles that tell real stories. As he puts it, there is an individual person behind every single detail that goes into a game, and so there are thousands of interesting stories that don't get told in the gaming industry (although really I think it's unrealistic to come at it that way, since most people in the games industry are simply not allowed to talk to the press...) - but I get the idea, and I think it's cool.
The Takedown Tribunal - Nels Anderson (Game Designer, Klei Entertainment - Mark of the Ninja) , Andy Schatz (CEO, Pocketwatch Games - Monaco), and Dan Silvers (Resident Game Designer, Lantana Games - Children of Liberty), all got together to talk about their respective stealth games. My main takeway was that they all decided to make their games 2D because they wanted it to be absolutely clear what AI could see and not see, which is a problem 3D stealth games generally have.
- Primal Carnage: Indie multiplayer third person shooter where you can play as a dinosaur (you can play as a person as well)! Link here: http://www.primalcarnage.com/ We didn't spend too much time looking at it, but the concept caught my eye.
- Indie Megabooth: There's a great article explaining it here, but basically, 16 indie developers pooled their resources and rented out a big booth space in the center of the expo (usually indies are sort of spread along the sides of the expo hall in little booths). We got a good look at Super T.I.M.E. Force by CAPY and now I finally understand it (the trailer is like 'waht?')
- Pond 5 - At some point, someone handed me a flier for http://www.pond5.com - which is a pretty cool stock media marketplace. We always have a hard time finding audio when we make games, so this seems like a neat solution for music and SFX.
- Holly Tatnall - We know Holly from when she worked at VV, and we ran into her on the show floor! She just moved to the Boston area, and is doing freelance music. If you're looking for music or a sound designer for your project, check out her site!: http://www.hollytatnall.com/
Concerts - Metroid Metal - We were trying to kill time before Robert Khoo's midnight panel, so we checked out the main stage where Metroid Metal was playing (we ended up not actually making it to Robert's panel... I decided at 11:50 that there was no way I could possibly survive until 1am). Anyway, I'm not particularly into metal, but I Metroid Metal put on a good show. :) I particularly liked some of the visuals that were happening - lots of gameplay footage intercut with like, hand drawn artwork, or footage of lava and whatnot. Here's a youtube link to one of their songs (although I honestly liked them live a lot more):