Friday Apr 13, 2012
We spent last weekend in Boston, Massachusetts at the PAX East convention. We showed off lots of great games, had a fun time, ate some great food, and met so many awesome fans. We’ll have a separate wrap-up for all things Aliens: Colonial Marines (where Julian spent most of his weekend), but here’s some photos and behind-the-scenes stories on everything else that went down in Boston.
Tour & Setup
We actually had two booths at PAX east this year — one for Aliens: Colonial Marines, and the other for more games that we were showing. We had Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II, Jet Set Radio, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing for iPad, Virtua Tennis Challenge, Hell Yeah!, The House of the Dead 4, Total War Battles, and Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown available for everyone to play.
This is the outside of the lounge for Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II, which also had a statue of Sonic for people to get their photos taken with. It was quite busy all weekend as kids of all ages lined up for a photo with the speedy blue hedgehog.
Around the corner to the from the Sonic lounge was this wall of games. We were still setting up when I took this photo (note Jeff (who works on most of the games seen above) and Rey (who works in our mastering lab and also handles our hardware setup at events) working on Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown in the left corner), but soon these kiosks would be full of people and activity.
Rounding the corner again, on the opposite side of the booth from the Sonic lounge, were more games — Virtua Tennis Challenge, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing on iPad, and Jet Set Radio. Ben (in the lower left corner), who works on Jet Set Radio and Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, is working to get these games set up in time for the show.
Jeff (mentioned above) is getting the sharp shooters ready for The House of the Dead 4.
One of the favorite bef0re-show activities was to get a few rounds of Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown in. Jeff is playing Dustin (from one of our PR agencies) above while Ryan (also from the PR agency) and Frank (producer for VF5:FS) look on. I believe that by the end of the show, Dustin was declared the winner in his rivalry with Jeff.
During the Show
Lots of stuff goes on during the show. Games quickly fill up, lines are formed, free stuff is passed out, and a good time is had by all. As you can see, our games were busily being played the entire weekend.
One of the hottest items we gave out this PAX were hats that celebrated Hell Yeah!. Yes, you’re seeing that right — that’s a pile of poop with a chainsaw on top of it. It’s one of the monsters that you get to kill in the game, and I thought it would make a spectacular and attention-grabbing hat. Elvin, one of our PR managers, is all smiles while wearing his.
We got a little creative when passing out the hats, and Mia (pictured above with a fan) decided to fashion a belt out of them for one lucky fan.
Some of our interviewers also got in on the hat-wearing fun. There are some things at PAX that just happen in front of you and all you can do is take a photo to capture the absurdity of the moment. This was one of those times.
Not to be outdone, the zombies from Plants vs. Zombies came by and made both necklaces and belts out of our hats. Well done!
Since everyone was stepping up their game, Ben decided he needed to step his up too. In addition to making hats for people, we started making what we dubbed “mega-hats” to be worn as sashes, as modeled by Ben himself above. He also took to wearing his hat upside down.
But once the absurdity of the mega-hat was worn off, we started making super-mega-hats for the janitors that were helping keep the convention show floor clean for everyone.
It wasn’t all just about the giveaways though. We had some amazing Jet Set Radio cosplayers come to the booth, and we couldn’t help but get some photos with them. Well done, guys!
Last year, we started including wrap-ups of some of the amazing local food and drink that we encounter on our trips. Boston has so much rich history and such awesome seafood (oh, so much seafood) that we wanted to share some of our culinary adventures with you as well.
I loved the whimsy of this salt and pepper airplane that I had on the Virgin America flight from San Francisco to Boston. Plane on a plane — it’s PLANECEPTION!
The first of many great seafood dishes we had were these oysters, which came on a giant boat filled with ice and various sauces to put on them. I’m a bit of a purist, so I didn’t try too many, but they sure looked good.
Lobster Roll – you basically have to have one of these if you visit Boston and it did not disappoint. This one is from the amazing Barking Crab restaurant.
One of the rare non-seafood meals I had was this beef wellington, which was served to me at Marliave, Boston’s 4th oldest restaurant. (Everything in Boston is about history and being the oldest at something.) I know that it doesn’t look like much, but if you’re familiar with the wellington, you know that layers of beef, mushrooms, and other treasures await inside the flaky pastry crust. It’s a total pain to make at home, and I like to order things that are difficult to make on my own, so I got this. Needless to say, it was very yummy.
It wouldn’t be Boston without some lobster, and while Mia and I were out picking up some lobster rolls at James Hook & Co for lunch one day, we saw this tub of seriously GIGANTIC lobsters. Mia’s got her hand in the photo just so you can tell how big these things were. They had to be 5 pounds minimum and could feed at least two people easily. I’ll bet they were super tasty, but man. That’s a lot of lobster.
I didn’t have one of those giant lobsters, but I did have a much smaller version at the Union Oyster House, Boston’s oldest restaurant. I really love lobster, and having it in such a seafood-oriented town was such a treat.
We also had some delicious fish in Boston, here is Julian’s Haddock from the same restaurant as the lobster – he confirmed it was really tasty.
Dessert! Of course we had to sample the local favorites and ended up with a Boston Cream Pie – a mix of custard, chocolate, and … cake? Yes, the Boston Cream Pie is actually closer to a cake, but it is still fantastically delicious. Interesting fact – the dessert was created in the very hotel we were staying in – the Omni Parker House!
Our final stop of the weekend was at Cheers. The bar is actually called the Bull & Finch, and was the inspiration for the bar on the 80′s sitcom Cheers, as well as the place where they shot all the external shots of the bar for the show. The interior looks nothing like it did on the show (and was obviously not a real bar), but it’s still really cool. I guess somewhere along the way, they changed their signs to just say Cheers, and here we are today. We stopped in for a beer before going back to San Francisco, and it was a great way to cap off a great PAX East weekend.
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