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06 September 09 - 15:16PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) 2009 Review

Brian here, just wanted to review my thoughts on PAX this year. My Wife & I only went for Fri/Sat as we have a wedding to attend on Sunday, so bear that in mind.

BORDER - Easiest border crossing ever. The guard even saw Miss 1up in the back and didn't say a word.
PARKING - Didn't expect the lot to be full, but there was better/cheaper parking right across the street, put the party van in a great visible spot.
LINES - It helped that we have friends who get into lines early. There was also a "game" on some later lines with texting, etc. Really interested in this.
KEYNOTE - Had no idea who the guy was beforehand, but he was great.
PA Q&A - Good as always, but a bit redundant after seeing it for many previous years. Lots of the same questions.
EXPO HALL - While full of awesome stuff, I didn't enjoy it as much as previous years because of the fact that I went to E3 this year. I've already played/seen these games, without the long lines, in a more comfortable environment. That said, I finished the expo hall in a few hours and it freed me up to see more panels & check out other things. Other people I talked to (that didn't go to E3) loved the expo hall.
FOOD - Johnny Rocket's kind of sucked.
GAMEDEALS PARTY - We had our party at the Sheraton, and it was good. Miss 1up was there, as well as a large number of our regulars (you guys) and some new people we met on Twitter & at PAX. We had 1 noise complaint (our only warning) from security, at one point it was standing room only (shoulder to shoulder), and we had some Guitar Hero 5 going from some new friends that brought their PS3. They also brought a GIANT bottle of Crown Royal that everyone was dipping into, and one guy (let's call him "OnLive Hat" because I can't remember his name right now) threw up (mostly in the bathroom) and eventually passed out on the floor... good times. His friends returned him to his room and the party continued until about 3am with some new Mexican/American friends and talk of politics, piracy, Comic Con, Poutine, and much more. All went well... but this is probably the last year we will be able to host the party on a budget. Next year we either go to someone else's party, or we spend lots of money and make it BIGGER.
WiFi - In the main hallway it was good, in the lines it was great until 2.5 rows were filled, then there were too many people and it just died. But 1 block away there is a Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks in it... free Wifi, lightning fast, worth the walk if you need your Internets.
PA Make a Strip - Very good. Lots of Improv going on as Tycho was late (busy having a baby - curious about the conversation with his wife presumably still in the hospital). Some technical issues, but overall much better than the day 1 Q&A.
XBOX LIVE ENFORCEMENT PANEL - Surprisingly great. Went into the ins/outs of dealing with idiots on Xbox Live, inc. "Naked Uno", "PoonHunter" & more hilarity.
PITCH YOUR GAME PANEL - Some very funny ideas, some really bad. Wil Wheaton was a judge, he made it great. "Zombie Car Wash" took first place, but I really liked this idea a guy had about a Very Powerful Gun your player has and when your player gets killed, the NPC that kills you picks up the gun and you begin to play as THAT character (rinse/repeat). The story follows the gun, regardless of who's in possession of it.
THE MAKING OF A HIT WEB SERIES PANEL - I really wanted to like this panel (seeing that we have a webseries & all) but it was really boring and the questions sucked... so much so that we left halfway through. The panelists were good funny people, but it just goes to show that the panel is only as good as the questions people ask.
FOOD COURT FOOD - Great Mexican place at the nearby mall.. also a GameStop / Hot Topic (where I picked up a Little Big Planet Shirt).
OMEGATHON ROUND 4 - They played Beatles Rock Band... Twist & Shout... Woohoo (sense the sarcasm). We should have left earlier and not spent an hour in line for THAT. Although it did make my Wife want to get Beatles Rock Band (since she knows the songs - as opposed to regular Rock Band 2 which we have but never play). Win?
HOME - Somehow we managed to get home in 2.5 hours (took us 3-4 to get there). Maybe I drove too fast, can't tell because the party van dashboard/speedometer light doesn't work.
SWAG - I got some cool stuff, some T-shirts & "No More Heroes 2" Toilet Paper. Not much because I didn't spend much time in the Expo hall, but I saw some awesome stuff if you spent more time there & stood in line to play stuff.
OVERALL - PAX is awesome. There is so much stuff that even if we had all weekend we could not have seen it all. Will be back next year.

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