Posted on April 5th, 2012 No comments
Posted on April 5th, 2012 1 comment
This weekend marks the 3rd annual Penny Arcade Exposition East (better known as PAX East) at the Boston Exhibition and Conference Center (BCEC) on the Boston, MA waterfront. There are some basic guideline’s to think about before traveling to such an event. First off, tickets are sold out. Don’t expect to buy a ticket at the door. 70,000 (or so) tickets are sold for this event on an annual basis.
For those going to PAX East this weekend, I’d like to give a few tips to help you stay safe, comfortable, and avoid the highly toxic PAX flu (which generally invades your body 2-4 days after closing day of PAX).
- Wear comfortable shoes. The BCEC is huge, and you will walk several miles throughout the weekend just traveling around the convention center.
- Have cash on hand. Not for the muggers, but for cabs (if you want to explore the real side of Boston, which is about a 2 mile walk), and food. Credit cards are welcome just about everywhere, but cash will be handy for those times when it’s the only accepted option.
- Dress in layers. It will get warm indoors, but outside will likely be windy and cool as the BCEC is right on the waterfront.
- Bring a backpack. To carry your layers, and all the swag you will pick up each day. Trust me, you will get a ton of swag, like it or not.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on April 9th, 2010 No comments
Here’s another video from the Harmonix Lounge at PAX East. So, what’s different about this one? First, I did not record it. Second, it features the first RBN track in Spanish (Arigato by Gandhi). Third, I’m on the drums.
Yep, Just a few minutes after arriving in the Harmonix Lounge on day 1 of PAX East, I hopped in line to play a song. I met up with a few folks that I’ve chatted online with, and other cool cats in the lounge. We got up to the stage to play, and then Eric Pope changed the freeplay up and featured only RBN songs for a while. So, the video here is the first time I’ve heard this song in its entirety, and the first time playing it.
(source: Samanthics on YouTube)
Posted on April 8th, 2010 2 comments
EXCLUSIVE! As I continue to empty out the SD card on the good old Kodak Zi8 from PAX East 2010, I continue to stumble on some gems from that weekend. Of course, many of those gems come from the Harmonix Lounge. This one features a brief 26 seconds of Hamonix’ own Eric Pope (@MrPope) on vocals, doing justice to the Queen classic, Somebody to Love. Eric was also the MC for the entire weekend, who I recall mentioning “if someone comes up and plays Blackened by Metallica one more time, I will punch them in the dick.” His words, not mine.
Side note: Eric, another group came up and played that song again, and there were zero dick punches. I’m just sayin’.
Sorry I didn’t get the whole thing…battery was getting low.
Posted on March 30th, 2010 No comments
PAX East is over and I have lot’s of news to share. First up, let’s dive into what I learned about the two upcoming Harmonix games, Green Day: Rock Band and Rock Band 3. Fortunately, due to my decision not to get a “Media” badge for PAX East, I acted as a typical gamer schlep. That also means I didn’t have to sign any non-disclosure agreements to get sneak peak access. I just got access through various means, and get to share what I know. So, here we go…
Green Day: Rock Band
Harmonix had a 5 song demo of the game setup in the Harmonix Lounge, which they would turn on a once or twice a day for no more than 30 minutes. Basically, the people waiting in line to play Rock Band songs got an opportunity to play Green Day songs, instead of the regular Rock Band 2 and downloadable songs. Fortunately, I was in the lounge twice when Green Day: Rock Band was turned on.
The demo that Harmonix brought contained 5 complete songs. American Idiot, Hitchin’ A Ride, Brain Stew/Jaded, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and one other.
Look and Feel
The instrument lanes, vocal lane, and colors looked very close (if not identical) to The Beatles: Rock Band. The characters in game, are obviously Green Day members. The song selection screen looks exactly like TB:RB, with Green Day colors swapped in. You get to see your instrument difficulty at the instrument screen, and get to change lefty/righty there as well. During song loading, we get to see some very basic 2-3 frame animations (like dancing bears or falling bombs), though now we get some sound effects added (again similar to TB:RB). I recall seeing a dancing bear with a snare drum march playing while a song was loading.
I Played the Game
I was waiting in line with my brother, planning to play System Of The Down’s Toxicity, when Eric Pope (the Harmonix MC for the weekend) gave us the good news that it was Green Day time. Xbox’s were swapped, and the system with GD:RB loaded to the hard drive was turned on. We watched (and I have video) Harmonix folks play Brain Stew/Jaded (a little better than they did at GDC), plus a group of people waiting in line play Hitchin’ A Ride. From what I saw, these songs are not easy. Although there’s quite a bit of repetition, there are lightning fast guitar and bass notes, and GD drums are nothing to scoff at.
Two other groups waiting in line opted to wait until the GD songs were over so they could do Limelight and Don’t Stop Believing, respectfully. I jumped on the opportunity to get up there with my brother to do my absolute favorite karaoke song, American Idiot. We grabbed two others to join us on stage to round out our band. I didn’t pay much attention to the monitors when we were on stage, since I needed to bring out my inner Billy Joe Armstrong essence. I can say, it was fun. Listening to the audio while we played American Idiot, and others playing the other songs, I believe I could here crowd sounds and additional sounds effects (like explosions) from the Bullet In A Bible album. I’m quite certain of that, which will make this game even more fun, and feeling like a real live GD performance.
Achievements are already in the game.
The so called demo of the game we witnessed, was much more than a demo. We witnessed two achievements unlock during gameplay at PAX. One for drumming and one for guitar, though they were not for 100% or FCing. I didn’t get close enough to see what they were, but they were new names, specifically related to Green Day and not generic rock Band achievements. Eric Pope, quickly came on stage saying, “Those aren’t achievements, there’s nothing to see here.”
Not an Easy FC
The Green Day Rock Band game will be much harder than most people expect. With machine gun speed of guitar, bass, and drum notes, the songs will be challenging to just about any player. For vocals, I got to sing American Idiot. If you like Billy Joe Armstongs voice, you will love singing Green Day in the game. The vocal charting to American Idiot is very accurate. I scored 98% on Expert on my first pass.
Rock Band 3
As for Rock Band 3 leaks, we learned that vocal harmonies will be in the game. To me, that’s not much of a leak since harmonies are already in Beatles and the upcoming Green Day. But the leak, during the PAX panel “An Awkward Hour with Harmonix’ Game Designers” was enough for boss man John Drake to come running into the room and keep a very close watch on the Harmonix panel to make sure their traps remained shut on other Rock Band 3 details.
Posted on March 28th, 2010 2 comments
I’ve spent the last three days experiencing so many great things and people. Not going to type it all on this here BlackBerry. But as a tease, next week, I will bring you, photos, audio, video, and so much more. It will be the most content www.MyGGGo.com has ever broughten. And it will be broughten.
Posted on March 25th, 2010 No comments
I’m typing this on the BlackBerry, so it will be quick and dirty.
PAX East officially begins tomorrow in Boston. Unofficially, the nerds are already taking over the city. Keep an open ear for PAX related events around the city. They are beginning today (Thursday). There will be unofficial events throughout the weekend. Look at my earlier PAX posts highlighting some of these events.
Now, about Boston weather. It’s beautiful right now (but in the low 40s). Looks like this is the best it’s going to get this weekend. Expect cold rain, snow flakes, and high 30s. Sorry newcomers, it was in the 70s just a couple days ago. That’s Boston weather.
Let me know if you are attending PAX East and your thoughts of our city, so far.
Posted on March 9th, 2010 2 comments
The Penny Arcade Expo East 2010 is rapidly approaching, the weekend of March 26-28. We are letting you know that MyGGGo (basically just Shawn) will be there with friends and family enjoying as much as possible.
More importantly for you, I will be doing everything I can to get you the best view of the entire show. While at the panels, demos, competitions, concerts, and all around, I will be Live Tweeting as much as I can (assuming AT&T doesn’t crap out on my BlackBerry Bold). I will also be sporting a Kodak Zi8 HD 1080p for video captures, which I will blast up here to the site as soon as I can. Once the show winds down, I will put together some more insightful blog posts about what it was like.
Some things to know ahead of time.
- I’ve never been to a gaming conference before, so I will be a kid in a candy store.
- More than 60,000 tickets have been sold and many of the Hynes Convention Center rooms only hold 400 people. Lines will be long, and I can’t promise I will get to see much.
- The schedule is overwhelming, and there will be no possible way for me to see every event.
- I’ve never video blogged before, so this should be fun.
- I am a Harmonix fanboy, and will most likely spend every second I can hanging with the Rock Band developer, other fanboys, and the like.
If there is something specifically you’d like to see covered at PAX East from a panel, a concert, or a personal interview…let me know.
In preparation for PAX East, what should you do?
- Follow @MyGGGo on Twitter.
- Leave comments to this post, so I know what to cover for you.
- Subscribe to my sites RSS feed, so you can get regular blog updates.
Posted on February 24th, 2010 4 comments
PAX East is coming up soon. If you missed my earlier post on “What Is PAX East and Who Is Going?“, just read the post for an intro. Since the official PAX East site still does not have an official schedule posted (plus there will be many unofficial events), I’m starting to organize events in (and around PAX East). I will continue to update this as we get closer to the event, which is in Boston, MA March 26-28 twenty-ten.
UPDATE: Events in red are confirmed. Events in black are 90% accurate, and I ‘m in process of confirming with various schedules.
Friday March 26
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Journalists vs. Developers: The Ultimate Grudge Match– Manticore Theatre
Game developers can’t stand those damned journalists, the way they pick apart your three years of hard work with a review they wrote in an afternoon. And journalists don’t understand why game developers won’t listen to all of their great ideas! What happens when we force some of the industry’s most opinionated writers and developers to hash out their issues in front of an audience? Will they finally see eye-to-eye, or kill each other in public? Watch as writers Chris Kohler (Wired.com) and Patrick Klepek (G4) square off against game creators John Drake (Harmonix) and another guest from the industry.
Panelists Include: Chris Kohler [Editor, Games, Wired.com], John Drake [Publicist, Harmonix Music Systems], Patrick Klepek [News Editor, G4] SOURCE
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Grassroots: Why Gamers are Getting Involved and Why You Should Too– Naga Theatre
Over the years we as a community of gamers have had our fair share of nemeses ranging from politicians, activists, and…ahem…lawyers. And make no mistake, as one discredited opponent fades away there will be more to fill the void. Find out how we’ve been fighting back, where we’ve found success (and failure), and how you can help the cause. SOURCE
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Radio Free Nintendo: A Live Nintendo Podcast for Grown-Ups– Wyvern Theatre
Radio Free Nintendo has delivered a weekly discussion on all things Nintendo since mid-2006, in a convenient podcast format. This outspoken and funny group of Nintendo experts comes from the oldest and largest independent Nintendo website in the world, Nintendo World Report. We love Nintendo games, except when we don’t, and we appreciate/criticize Wii and DS games in the context of multi-platform gaming. We know the best Metroid upgrades, the worst Zelda dungeons, and what makes Sin & Punishment sublime. We own more WiiWare games than you knew existed. And we’re not afraid to compare Mario with Ratchet & Clank or Prince of Persia.
Panelists Include: Jonathan Metts [Contributing Editor, Nintendo World Report], Karl Castaneda [Contributing Editor, Nintendo World Report], James Jones [Features Editor, Nintendo World Report], Jon Lindemann [Director, Nintendo World Report], Karl Castaneda [Contributor, Nintendo World Report] SOURCE
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – PAX East 2010 Keynote – Main Theatre
Best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek The Next Generation and Gordie in Stand by Me, Wil Wheaton has since become one of the most prominent and vocal bloggers of our culture with topics ranging from his personal growth as a geek, to Star Trek, to naturally gaming. We are super excited to have Wil present the very first PAX East keynote. It’s going to be awesome.
Speaker: Wil Wheaton SOURCE
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM – It’s Got A Good Beat, And I Can Kill Zombies To It – JamspaceSince the first kid heard the four-note Space Invaders theme blasting out the arcade doors, music has played a powerful role in the history of digital games. Join panelists Aubrey Hodges (Doom, King’s Quest, Spy Hunter, Madden NFL), Jim Bonney (Mortal Kombat, John Woo’s Stranglehold), Tom Salta (H.A.W.X, GRAW 1 & 2, Red Steel), Gene Rozenberg (Henry Hatsworth, Madden NFL) and Duncan Watt (League Of Legends, Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway, Need For Speed: Undercover), for an audiovisual trip celebrating great videogame music – from the past, to the present… and into the future. Audience discussion encouraged.
Panelists Include: Duncan Watt [Founder/Creative Director, Fastestmanintheworld], Tom Salta [Composer], Gene Rozenberg [Composer, 38 Studios (Maynard, MA)], Aubrey Hodges [Audio Director/Composer, 38 Studios (Maynard, MA)], Jim Bonney [Audio Director/Composer, Irrational Games] SOURCE
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM – Online Gaming Communities and “Real Life” Relationships– Manticore Theater
Are you are a member of one or more online gaming website communities? Perhaps the friendships and relationships you formed online have made their way into your everyday “real life”. You are certainly not alone. We will discuss the communities we have created and support, and how they impact real life relationships for gamers of all types.Panelists Include: Derek “DSmooth” Nolan [Co-Founder / Host, 2old2play.com / 2old2type Radio Podcast] Stewart “Wombat” Nacht [Co-Host, CAGCast], Derrick “Codemonkey” Schommer [Co-Host, 2old2type Radio Podcast], Dane “Waterborn” Tullock [Community Manager, 2old2play.com], Kareem “Daigoji Gai” Harper [Social Media & Online Marketing Manager, UGO.com] SOURCE
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM – Puppet Masters – The not so Invisible Hands of Video Game PR– Naga Theater
Four masters of video game PR talk about the role of public relations in the video game industry. They’ll cover the buying and selling of souls, crafting and controlling messages, the rise of community, and how social media is changing how they do business.
Panelists Include: Charles Husemann [Editor in Chief, Gaming Nexus], Arne Meyer [Senior Manager, Marketing Communications, Naughty Dog], Aram Jabbari [Manager of Public Relations, Atlus], Stephanie Tinsley Schopp [Owner, Tinsley PR], Chris Paladino [Promethium Marketing, Director of Community Relations] SOURCE
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Penny Arcade Panel #1 – Main Theater
Make sure to get there early for this one, as its one of the most well attended panels of the show. Two mics on stage, two mics in the crowd. Line up for your questions and Gabe and Tycho will do their best to accommodate! And god, please no “who would win in a fight” questions. If you can’t make this particular Q&A, be sure to catch the second Penny Arcade Panel. SOURCE
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Design an RPG in an Hour – Wyvern Theater
We’re making a pen and paper RPG, and you’re invited to the design meeting! During the panel, you’ll address the problem-solving and analytical questions required to design a successful game. During the discussion, we’ll cover the basics of game theory and how to outline, centered around an example you’re participating in.
Panelists Include: David Hill [Game Designer, Machine Age Productions], Filamena Young [Game Writer, Machine Age Productions] SOURCE
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM – IWADON: A Tribute to an Unsung Hero of Game Music– Jamspace
Game composer Hiroyuki Iwatsuki (Iwadon on Twitter) has been writing game music for 20 years, but now for the first time his work is gaining international recognition. Game Music 4 All, a videogame-inspired music and nerdcore news site, is collaborating with artists from all over the world in arranging Iwatsuki’s remarkable and often overlooked music for the 8-bit Nintendo, Game Boy, Super Nintendo and Xbox Live Arcade in assorted musical styles. The tribute compilation will be made available online for free in time for PAX East, along with lengthy liner notes in English and Japanese. In this panel you’ll learn all about Iwatsuki’s unique history in games and the making of the IWADON tribute from site founder Genoboost (Anthony Ruybalid) and research organizer Jeriaska.
Panelists Include: Anthony Ruybalid [Founder, Game Music 4 All] Jeriaska [Correspondent, GameSetWatch] SOURCE
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM – Storytelling in the world of interactive fiction– Wyvern Theater
Text adventures have been quietly experimenting with narrative gaming for thirty years. Five authors from the amateur interactive fiction community discuss the design ideas in their games — reordered storylines, unreliable narrators, deeply responsive NPCs — and how they apply to other kinds of games. (Rob Wheeler (mod.), Robb Sherwin, Aaron Reed, Emily Short, Andrew Plotkin) SOURCE
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – NVIDIA Presentation – Main Theater
Come see NVIDIA unveil the next generation of PC gaming. Want to see what’s hot and what’s next? If you’re even vaguely a fan of PC games and miss this special event, you’ll likely be spending the next few months kicking yourself. Line up early as seating is limited. ‘Nuff said. SOURCE
9:30 PM – 11:00 PM – GET LAMP Panel/Screening– Naga Theatre
Premiere of Get Lamp!
The current plan as approved by the PAX organizers is the showing of the main GET LAMP episode at 9:30, followed by a panel on stage of people interviewed for the film, and then some showings of a few more features of the DVD after that, including the Infocom and Bedquilt episodes.
Saturday March 27
8:00 AM – 8:45 AM – The First Annual Joystiq Blueberry Muffin Tops Breakfast BAND PICK-UP – location not announced
Due to the overwhelming number of people coming to PAX East and the fact that the room can only hold 300 people at a time, we’ve decided to implement a bracelet system for entry. To obtain the bracelet, we’ll post Alexander Sliwinski’s location and picture here at Joystiq.com on Facebook and on Twitter @JoystiqBBMTat 6 a.m. on Saturday morning. He’ll be in very close proximity to the convention center. To obtain a bracelet you’ll need to show your PAX East badge to him when he arrives at 8 a.m., as the breakfast will occur within the convention center. (Alexander Sliwinski) SOURCE
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – The First Annual Joystiq Blueberry Muffin Tops Breakfast SOURCE
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM– Memes, Microcultures, and 2D Chicks: Our Future in the Otaku Gamer – Wyvern Theatre
Alex Leavitt (Comparative Media Studies, MIT) explains how a new generation of entertainment is succeeding in a market which chooses to de-emphasize the games in favor of the characters. And as the Japanese fans influence the industry through their own amateur initiatives, what will the future of American gaming hold when online fandoms adopt similar appetites? ( ) SOURCE
8:00 PM – 1:00 AM – Gamers Gone Wildhosted by SFX-360 & 2old2play – Lir, 903 Boylston Street
Rock Band tournament, Cosplay contest, Xbox 360 raffle, prizes. 21+ and no cover charge.
9:30 PM – 11:00 PM – The Joystiq Podcast LIVE! – Manticore Theatre
Alexander Sliwinski & Justin McElroy gaming journalists of Joystiq.com.
UPDATED!! 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Major Nelson Radio Podcast LIVE!– Wyvern Theatre
Larry Hryb (Xbox Live’s Major Nelson) and the podcast team (e, Stepto, and Laura L0llipop) will record their regular podcast, in front of a live audience.
Sunday March 28
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Panel on security for Xbox Live– Stephen Toulouse, Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox LIVE, location not announced
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM – Game Journalism Panel – location not announced
Kyle Orland of Crispy Gamer, Gus Mastrapa (Wired, Crispy Gamer, The Onion AV Club, Past, X-Play, Edge), Susan Arendt of The Escapist, Chris Grant of Joystiq (Editor in Chief), Lev Grossman of Techland and Time Magazine SOURCE
More Announcements, not yet dated/timed/located:
- day/time not announced – Bringing Up the Next Generation of Geeks – location not announced
- (Dave Banks, Natania Barron, John Booth, Doug Cornelius, Michael Harrison, and Corrina Lawson) SOURCE
- Music acts:
- Jonathan Coulton
- MC Frontalot
- Metroid Metal
- Paul and Storm
- The Video Game Orchestra
- 2K Games
- Rockstar Games
- Ska Studios
- The Behemoth
- Twisted Pixel Games
- Wizards of the Coast SOURCE
- day/time not announced – Bringing Up the Next Generation of Geeks – location not announced
Posted on February 9th, 2010 No comments
The PAX Expo Organizers announce that “Gamer Geek Icon” Wil Wheaton will deliver the Keynote address at PAX East, the east coast edition of the Penny Arcade Expo coming to Boston, MA next month. “We’ve always considered Wil as the keynote speaker for PAX, so it’s only appropriate he kick off the first PAX East,” said Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade. “Wil is one of us. We accept him. Wil speaks to all gamers, from the console jock to the keyboard fanatic to the pen-and-paper devotees.” You can register for the event on this page, but at this point only day passes for Friday and Sunday remain. SOURCE
My Gadget, Game & Gizmo Obsession …blogging about mobile stuff, gamer stuff, and other stuff since 2007 (MyGGGo.com)