PAX Prime 2010

This last weekend, I attended PAX for the first time along with my wife and brother.  Overall, it was a great weekend filled with fun and games.  Here are a few notable highlights:

Super Dungeon Explore

While walking through PAX’s Hidden Level, my brother and I spotted two pieces of dungeon terrain with some great looking, anime-inspired miniatures.  While we took a closer look, one of the booth workers asked if we’d like to play a demo.  The game was designed to model video game mechanics where monsters appear at spawn points, heroes quickly cut through them causing hearts, potions, and loot to appear.  It was a lot of fun to play, and we stopped by to try out another demo with different heroes the next day.  It sounded like the actual game wouldn’t be released until next summer, but it’s already on my wish list.

Castle Ravenloft

The new Castle Ravenloft board game was on sale at the Cardhaus booth, so I decided to pick it up on Friday as we were leaving the convention center.  My first impression, other than the box being huge, was that there were a lot of tokens and cards inside and I got a little worried that it was going to be over-complicated.  My brother and I tried out one of the adventures that night, and discovered that most of the tokens and pieces were only used in certain adventures.  The actual game moved pretty fast once we got used to the turn sequence.  I’m looking forward to playing this more and to picking up the next D&D board game, Wrath of Ashardalon.

Star Wars Games Revealed

We only managed to attend one session, but we made it a good one.  The session started with a look at The Force Unleashed II.  The gameplay demo on the big screen definitely looked pretty.  After that, there was a great presentation on The Old Republic.  They showed off some higher-level gameplay and hinted at some story elements such as ties to the Knights of the Old Republic games.  I know that my brother is really looking forward to The Old Republic’s release, and I think the presentation and being able to try out the game in the exhibition hall just got him more excited for it.

Microsoft Kinect

I managed to play two different Kinect games in the exhibition hall.  On Friday, my brother and I played a boxing game.  It didn’t look much different than the Wii Sports boxing game, but it seemed to definitely pick up more body movements.  The only bad part was that the demo unit didn’t want to pick up my brother at all.  After a few attempts, it managed to detect him and then worked pretty good for the rest of our game.  Then on Saturday, my wife and I played one of the Kinect Adventures mini games where we had to steer and jump a raft down a river while collecting coins.  In order to get the coins, we had to lean to our sides and then jump to bounce the raft.  Overall, I think the Kinect looks like a fun thing for party games, but I don’t see it replacing controllers completely any time soon.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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