I have no idea why I have been waiting so long to talk about PAX in Boston. Hell, that was almost a month ago. It was a fun time, to sum it up quickly. Tiring though, really tiring. The odd thing about this whole event was that I did not check out a lot of games coming out. I saw the people playing Ducktales and it looked like the NES game I was fond of as a child, but with smoother graphics. In retrospect, I wish I tried it, but the line was too long. After seeing that, I was wondering what sorcery had to happen for this game to come together. This is a game, originally from a time when American licenses were given to Japanese developers, in this case Capcom, because at the time that’s all there was for consoles. It had no voice acting, great music, and a core-mechanic that never appeared in the cartoon show as far as I remember. I don’t think ever Scrooge McDuck was hopping around on a pogo-cane; as really…he needed a cane. Pogo-ing would be impractical at best, dangerous at worst. But this is 2013, and Capcom as far as I know, has not made a Disney game in a long time. As far as I can tell 2003’s “Disney’s Hide and Sneak” was their last title. But that is honestly done with very little research. It actually seems a lot of their later games were absolute garbage, which no doubt soured the relationship. Shovelware can do that, to a degree. But for Capcom and Disney to get back into bed with this well-remembered game is surprising. Granted, Disney has announced they are halting all internal game development, so it makes sense that an outside company would be doing this. However, a Japanese company to take on this task is the surprising part. It actually makes me wonder where the rights to the title were, at the very least when it comes to the actual NES game Ducktales. However, it looks great, really, really great, sounds great. I am not sure about their intention to use the voices from the cartoon, not like the NES game needed voices. I know I will buy it though, and inevitably be disappointed that the difficulty will not be up there with an NES title.
While not watching a line of people play Ducktales, I spent a lot of time at the League of Legends booth. Now when I went to PAX East 2012, I had not yet gotten into LoL, but their massive bunker of computers allowing people to play was unavoidable. It was this odd sequestered area with what was easily 100 computers, allowing people to play the online game in closer proximity to others than they are generally used to. 2013 went in a new direction. Instead of imitating some LAN party, Riot games decided on more of a spectacle-focused event, featuring a collegiate tournament, complete with live commentary. They also had booths based on showing off different roles people play, and they were giving away a ton of swag, but that stuff really didn’t matter to me.
The tournament however was my favorite part of PAX in general. While not getting to see as much of it as I wanted, everything I did see of these colleges facing off was absolutely amazing. The announcers were so into what they were doing, and the level of play was at least as far as I could tell, top-notch. This is really what I want to see out of an e-sports scene, and Riot’s idea to make a collegiate tournament scene is a great idea. It adds the odd 2-tier setup you already see in the traditional sports out there. Watching football, we always have to see in a player’s description where he went to college, we hear the same in baseball, and basketball. While the pro-gaming scene is getting bigger, and the money is getting more lucrative, you see the rampant advertisements and such that insert themselves into any scene, traditional and e-sports. However, setting up this collegiate league system succeeds in making that second tier, where although money may still be there, it is not the huge drive for the players involved. Many are probably also pro-players, I really don’t know; but while teams in things like LoL and Starcraft 2 are known to fans of the game, everyone knows the name of major American colleges. While someone may not know who Team Dignatas is, they will inevitably recognize Penn State and NYU. It adds a level of recognition to people not immediately familiar with LoL, let alone those familiar with the pro-scene, which is an obvious positive.
I did some other stuff at PAX, mainly panels, and going to a pathetic party. I spoke to some Indie developers, who are always eager to show off their product. I was honestly extremely happy with what I saw, and cannot wait for games like Telepath Tactics and Tempus Chronicle. Maybe next year I could actually try to interview these people, upload a Sound Cloud file of what I talk to them about. I always have these big plans, which never seem to pan out, we will see.