In short, it was awesome.
I took the train up last Thursday, from Maryland to Boston. It was my first time on Amtrak in a few years (since BrickFest 2006) and it was a pretty good experience. Longer than flying, but less of a hassle than dealing with airports or driving all the way up. It was about seven hours, and thanks to free Wi-Fi I was even able to be somewhat productive.
Once in Boston I checked into the hotel and then waited for John (Watashi Wa) to show up. We enjoyed a little taste of what Boston has to offer before meeting up with my friend AJ. At that point we headed to Cambridge for a screening of Scott Pilgrim at the Brattle Theater hosted by Harmonix, the guys that make Rock Band. I love that movie, and it was awesome seeing it on the big screen again. We then had some dinner at Bertucci's, which was quite good. Then it was time for Rock Band Night back at the theater. People went up on stage to play the game to be voted on by a panel of judges for their skill and showmanship. Our dinner ran long so we didn't get a chance to participate, unfortunately, but it was still fun.
Friday was the official start of the event. There were lots of panels and such to see. I'm going to list off some of the highlights:
- Rooster Teeth Panel - we got to see some of RvB Season 10 and listen to some hilarious commentary. These guys do not disappoint.
- BioWare and Mass Effect Panel - there was a BioWare Dragon Age panel at 3PM, the Mass Effect panel was in the same theater at 4:30PM. We walked by at 2:30PM and there was already a line forming for the ME one, so we queued up. The panel was well worth it. They talked about ME3 and the end so many people complained about, and I even got to ask them a question about the testing process!
- From Lurker to Leader: A Frags to Riches Story - this was by far the smallest panel we went to, but it was still great. A bunch of prominent people from the Halo community talked about what it was like to go from being a fan to working in the gaming industry or for fan sites. I found it very insightful.
Then came Saturday:
- Irrational Games: Making a Monster - the guys making Bioshock: Infinite held a panel about the creation process of enemies in the game. I envy the creativity of Ken Levine.
- Major Nelson Podcast - Major Nelson, e, and lollip0p joined by special guests Stepto and Felicia Day! It's great to look behind the scenes of the people who keep Xbox Live running. Also, Felicia Day is hilarious and even funnier than I thought she could be.
- Saturday Night Concerts - oh man they were so awesome. Video Game Orchestra, Paul & Storm, Jonathan Coulton, and MC Frontalot. These are always a highlight of the event. Paul & Storm and JoCo especially put on amazing shows, and I look forward to seeing them each year. If you have the chance to see them, don't miss it!
And last, but not least, Sunday:
- Inside Gearbox Software - I'm not going to admit to how long we had to wait in line for this panel, but we got free pizza and some codes to give us a chance to make an easter egg for either Borderlands 2 or Aliens: Colonial Marines. Both games look pretty amazing and reminded me that I need to play Borderlands 1 and actually make an effort to see the Aliens movies in their entirety.
Obviously we spent a lot of time on the show floor too. We saw some gameplay for Assassin's Creed 3, played Rock Band Blitz, waited in line but never saw Aliens: Colonial Marines, played the new Kid Icarus (you're welcome Kohaku), visited the Rooster Teeth guys, and many others I can't remember.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend with some good friends. PAX East is always a ton of fun and I'm already looking forward to next year.