As I sit here typing about what to expect at Boston's first Penny Arcade Expo (March 26th-28th at the Hynes Convention Center) I start to feel a tingle of excitement. Sure I've been to a couple cons before (from baseball card conventions when I was younger to Anime Boston now), but this is the first time myself and Blueonic will be attending a convention as people of the press. The thought of that both scares and entices me.
This is Beantown's chance of having an E3 of their own, and dammit the crew and companies there are going to be working their asses off to make sure that PAX East is a large success. So far signs of triumph are good, thanks in part to three-day passes already being sold out. However quantity does not equal quality, and if PAX wants the Bostonians to return to this con each and every year they're going to have to up the ante when it comes to guests and panels. Fortunately it appears that Boston will have plenty of those.
We have Mr. "Code Monkey" himself Jonathan Coulton showing up to perform what could be a fun and silly set, as well as the critically-acclaimed Video Game Orchestra playing some of our favorite video game classics. We also have game-based artists the Protomen and Metroid Metal, along with some Chiptune performers (who I hope are as good as Japan's Omodaka, who has practically taken Chiptune and transformed it into a Pop Art form). With panels thus far we've got the folks from CollegeHumor, NVIDIA, Terminal Reality and Machinima just to name a few. Granted there may not be the star power that graced last year's E3 (i.e.: Wu-Tang Clan, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, Eminem & Jay-Z), but if this is successful some A-list celebrities and other big-named honchos could make a PAX East appearance in the not-too-distant future. The key term is "baby steps."
However, we cannot forget the most important part of PAX East: the video games. For its first trek in Boston the folks at Penny Arcade have indeed grabbed themselves some huge-named companies. I am eager to ask Harmonix about its thoughts on Epicenter's Rock of the Dead; I am curious to inquire Sega about whether or not a MadWorld sequel is on the horizon; and I'm kinda nervous to ask Nintendo if they have had any change of heart in regards to not releasing Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse in the States. However I am most curious to check out some of the more unknown and indie developers, and see if whether or not what they have up their sleeves will bring them close to the front-runners of the video gaming industry. Most of all, I am getting revved up for having the chance to go hands-on with some of this year's most hotly-anticipated games. Will Microsoft and Bungie have a demo of Halo Reach ready for gamer's eyes? What boundaries will RockStar Games push in their next video game? But more importantly, will developers give the Wii a little bit more love that it rightfully deserves? (Okay, maybe I'm the only one who cares about that, but it's the only system I've got. So sue me :P!)
But as of now I can only expect three things from going to PAX East 2010: a fun weekend with a chance to try out some new and exciting video games, a kick-ass two-part Podcast show with the girls of the ElectricSistaHood and a massive sing-along to Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive." Those, my friends, are reasons enough to be excited about going to Boston's inaugural video gaming convention.