Monday Sep 08, 2008
Friday, August 29th, 2008
So today is the first actual day of the convention, we got got up early and grabbed some grub on our way to the convention center. As I predicted, even hours before the doors officially opened, there was a sense of anxious energy on the streets surrounding the convention center as i adjusted my eyes to the dawn. I walked in the main entrance of the hall and headed up the elevator to the 4th floor. Walking into the registration area I saw a massive line of a few hundred people already sitting patiently awaiting the showroom doors to open in a few hours. Since I was lucky enough to be working the show I found one of the many ‘ENFORCERS’ on duty to help manage the event to escort me to the showroom where i could prepare for what I can only assume at this point will be the massive ‘Hard Days Night‘ scene that was about to explode through the doors.
The showroom itself was pretty massive, although only exhibitors were inside, so the spaciousness may have added to the perception of space. We did get a chance to run around a little bit to check out other peoples booths. We even swung by the Harmonix booth to see a couple folks starting their day off, not with Folgers or Eggos, but rather a little ‘Pinball Wizard’ on Rock Band 2. We were pretty impressed with their overall skill and asked if we could maybe jump up on stage later to represent our inner SEGA rockness — they were more than overjoyed at this idea, and the seed was planted.
So once we got our chance to kind of scour the layout a bit before the show opened, we headed back to our booth. Once there myself and my fellow SEGA folks got a few moments to collect ourselves preparing for the big first day madness. At this particular show we brought a couple cool games to demo and allow the fans to get their hands on. In addition to Sonic Chronicles, which I would be demoing, we had playable versions of Valkyria, Yakuza 2, Bleach: Dark Souls, and Dinosaur King. Since PAX is a huge consumer show, it essentially means that tickets are open to purchase to the public in advance of the show. This allows for a pretty good time as the fans get to actually see and play a lot of the stuff we have only read about on blogs, or that publishers have been keeping behind closed doors. I took a couple shots around the floor of some of thereally cool or creative booths, as well as some of the more highly anticipated games coming out in the next few months.
This was the shortest day the 3, starting at 2pm, so we were able to blaze through the hours on the floor with our games. Christopher Kaminski, the producer for Valkyria and MadWorld was a champ delivering what seemed like a nonstop barrage of interviews with various websites, bloggers, and other media folks who had made contact with him to talk about Valkyria. Just from the first day I could tell this game was going to be very popular amongst the fans by the amount of attention it was getting. Rightfully so, the game both plays and looks fantastic. When I got my first hands-on with it, being an RPG fan, I found it incredibly intuitive, which im sure made Chris’ job of demoing and discussing the game much easier in the long run.
At the end of the day we were all pretty tired, but there was a Meet and Greet event being held in the main exhibit hall where we all were for exhibitors to get together, have some food and drinks and hang out after the hall had closed for the day. We bolted over to where the food and drinks were, which was, conveniently, by the Rock Band 2 stage setup we had been loitering by earlier in the day. The three of us had be excited to get up on stage and rock, but now we had a CROWD! How could we pass this up? We divided up the duties, I was playing guitar, Mabel would rock the bass, and Chris would be fronting our little group. Of course, we were one short of a drummer, so I talked one of the Harmonix guys we had hung out with earlier into jamming with us. Our excitement was overheard and shared by one of the guys from SouthPeak. After a little friendly discussion we decided it would be fun to have a SEGA vs. SouthPeak battle of the bands. We had our crew assembled, and they put theirs together.
They took the stage first performing an amazing rendition of the Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ that had me in stitches. The bar had been set high, but little did they know, we had the human equivelant of ‘God Mode’ on our team with our newly acquired drummer. We selected ‘Give it Away’ by the Chili Peppers thinking it was a good tune to get the audience on our side. Unfortunately, the guitar work on that song was a bit trickier than i had anticipated, but Mabel held it down, and Chris summoned the rockstar in him to evoke a good amount of cheers and whistles from the crowd. After we had finished, the TRUE ringer band went on stage (all the Harmonix guys) and made both us and SouthPeak feel ashamed for even attempting such a feat with their SPOT ON rendition of Cheap Trick’s ‘Hello There’. All in all it was good fun and a great way to wrap up the first day of festivities.
More on the rest soon: Pt. 3
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