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The Penny Arcade Expo 2011 (PAX East '11) Experience

PAX East At The Boston Convention Center

For those who don't know, Penny Arcade is a long-running webcomic that focuses squarely on the gaming industry. From game-related hardware, like consoles, to the dirty happenings inside publishers, the comic is a staple for anyone who's serious in games, whether it be on the console or on the desktop.

The webcomic is written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. But besides doing their comics three times a week, both founders have been involved in the Child's Play foundation and PAX. When PAX initially started out, it was a major hub for large groups of people to gather for LAN parties. But these days, PAX is a major show that's quickly becoming the second E3.

We landed in Boston and proceeded to check out PAX East 2011. This is the second time PAX has come to Boston. And if you like games, you'll love PAX!

PAX Gets Packed

The Boston Convention Center is big, and most of the area in the center is consumed by LAN party halls. The main exhibit hall however, is where a lot of the game publisher action takes place. It also happens to be the place with the highest concentration of people.

PAX East isn't as large as PAX West, which happens in Seattle. But given its smaller size, the turn-out of people is quite impressive.

Here you can see people already gathering in large numbers before noon, and by mid-afternoon, there's hardly room to even walk.

"Gabe" And "Tycho"

We spotted these two appearing as the famous Jonathan "Gabe" Gabriel, and Tycho Brahe just as we reached the main area. They were nice enough to give us a quick pose for the camera.

Getting dressed up for PAX isn't something that's really common--yet. At places like Comic-Con and Blizzcon, cosplay is far more common. Still, spotting "Gabe" and "Tycho" at the show like this gave us a few chuckles.

Portal 2

It's still a little early and no one's around the Portal 2 booth yet. Later in the day, though, the area is jam-packed with people.

Duke Nukem Forever, Finally

Well, look who showed up!

The Duke Booth

Without a doubt, Duke's booth was the most popular attraction at PAX.

Interestingly, you had to show your ID in order to actually be let inside the booth area. Those who were not 18 had to stand outside.

We had a chance to play the game a little and found that the original "essence" of what made the original so beloved is largely maintained in Forever. All the humor, violence, and vulgarity is seen liberally throughout the game. The action itself is intense, as are the graphics. Forever has taken so long to develop that, at this point, we believe anything else but perfection would be a disappointment.

Thankfully, we loved the game!

Vindictus

A hack and slash MMORPG, Vindictus is free to play. The game is attracting a lot of attention from the industry, and makes a good statement about what games of this genre should play like. Vindictus is built on Valve's Source engine, but brings impressive new effects to the table.

The game boasts a strong story mode, as well as strong PvP elements. Those who enjoy going after other players will like this game. Unfortunately, the game's customization isn't as extensive as say, World of Warcraft's system. But for something that's free to play, the game boasts a good balance.

Brink

Brink is an FPS that comes out on May 17th of this year. The game play borrows heavily from titles such as Assassin's Creed and Mirror's Edge. It'll also feature a big section devoted to multiplayer with the addition of bots.

Check out the videos on the official site to see how Brink borrows ideas from two great game-play styles.

Alienware Cage

Alienware has a big presence at PAX, right next to the giant Pikachu. The "cage," as everyone calls it, is an area with various PC games that demonstrate the company's case design. We're sure our readers can build gaming rigs with better specs, though.

Mortal Kombat

Nintendo's Area

Nintendo hosts the second busiest area, thanks to a number of stations with 3DS demos.

Out of several stations, only a small few were dedicated to the Wii, which is quite an old system now. Nevertheless, the 3DS attracted visitors, media, and people from other companies.

  • woshitudou
    These slideshows are terrible. Can Toms use ajax or something so we dont have to scroll down 40 times to see 40 new pages.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    woshitudouThese slideshows are terrible. Can Toms use ajax or something so we dont have to scroll down 40 times to see 40 new pages.
    *Sigh* We're working on it. I agree that the current format sucks to navigate through. I've been encouraging the idea of using a different format for more than a year now. There's an AJAX version coming that won't require refreshing the page AND still allow blowing up the images. I think you'll like it a lot better!
    Reply
  • XD_dued
    cangelini*Sigh* We're working on it. I agree that the current format sucks to navigate through. I've been encouraging the idea of using a different format for more than a year now. There's an AJAX version coming that won't require refreshing the page AND still allow blowing up the images. I think you'll like it a lot better!
    Thanks a lot! Keep up the good work. Tom's is my favorite tech site.
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    Pls fix the comment rating system too
    Reply
  • tenaciousleydead
    did you intentionally misspell gabe as game on pic 3 so you could encourage more advertising??
    Reply
  • alexapi32
    "Game"? Correct please.
    Reply
  • cmcghee358
    I guess I'm the first to comment on the snipe at Alienware. Good job Toms. And you're right, we readers absolutely can build a better rig than Alienware and 400-1000 cheaper!
    Reply
  • enzo matrix
    woshitudouThese slideshows are terrible. Can Toms use ajax or something so we dont have to scroll down 40 times to see 40 new pages.I see this every time there are pictures. Go here:
    http://feedbacks.tomshardware.com/forums/14581-site-forum-ideas?lang=en&utm_campaign=Widgets&utm_content=tab-widget&utm_medium=Popin+Widget&utm_source=tomsdev.uservoice.com

    On another note: please fix the feedback forum! Every time I go on, my votes are listed for different ideas than before! Sometimes ones I have taken my votes away from!
    Reply
  • cangelini
    tenaciousleydeaddid you intentionally misspell gabe as game on pic 3 so you could encourage more advertising??
    I've already let the author know he fails at spelling :) Kidding, Tuan, we know you're in a rush over there in Boston to check out the floor!
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Enzo MatrixI see this every time there are pictures. Go here:http://feedbacks.tomshardware.com/ rvoice.comOn another note: please fix the feedback forum! Every time I go on, my votes are listed for different ideas than before! Sometimes ones I have taken my votes away from!
    Didn't realize there was anything wrong with the feedback forum! I'll let folks know!
    Reply