PAX West, formally known as PAX Prime has wrapped its 13th year and 25th PAX event to a sold-out crowd. Open to the public, the Penny Arcade Expo is famous for its hands-on video game demos, publisher displays and of course, a whole lot of cosplay. The yearly event brings fans and developers together before the holiday release season and reinforces hype for titles that were announced during E3. Tens of thousands attended the annual event, although exact metrics are not yet available.
Of the many video game attractions, publishers took the opportunity to announce additional content coming to Gears of War 4, Mafia III and Halo 5: Guardians just to name a few, plus additional details for a plethora of upcoming games like Dishonored 2, Forza Motorsports 3, South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Friday the 13th. PAX is the perfect forum for communities to come together and discover new games or get their hands on demos to try for themselves.
The Future Is Virtual
Not surprisingly, virtual reality was a major focus for brands at this year’s show, as it was during E3 and Gamescom. On the main convention floor, brands like Sony, Intel and Nvidia demonstrated their latest virtual reality technologies. A few blocks away, headset makers HTC and Oculus hosted a special “VR Village” at the nearby Westin Hotel. Alienware is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year by introducing its first-ever VR-ready notebooks: the new Alienware 13, Alienware 15, and Alienware 17. A pre-alpha build of Rock Band VR was made available to the press, as well, putting gamers right on stage.
The Future Is Diverse
The video game and tech industries are still largely a “boy’s club,” but are slowly moving toward a more diverse and accepting community. PAX West hosted its third “Diversity Lounge” at the event, which featured booths representing the LGTBQ communities and GeekGirlCon, among others.
“Gaming companies need to recognize the value in embracing diversity and the best way to do that successfully is to make sure your workforce is diverse,” said Diversity Lounge organizer Benjamin Williams. “There is a lot of work to create parity in gender and for racial minorities in the gaming industry profession.”
The Future Is Embracing The Past
Nostalgia plays a major role in purchasing decisions, so it’s no surprise that a number of retro-inspired or remastered games would make an appearance at this year’s PAX West. Gearbox Software announced Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour, a re-release of the original classic with a brand-new, eight-level episode coming to Xbox One, PC, and PS4. The game will be available on October 11, and is available for preorder now.
During the “VR Village” event, players were treated to a remastered version of Rez Infinite, the 2001 music-based rail shooter made originally for Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. Square Enix hosted a celebration of Tomb Raider‘s 20th Anniversary and eccentric game developer, Suda51 announced a remastered PC version of Silver Case.
The folks at Penny Arcade closed out the event with a bang, going “totally wizard” with a recreated set from a 1989 video game film. Penny Arcade director of events Ryan Hartman created a full-sized replica of the “Video Armageddon” tournament finale set from The Wizard, hosting a Super Mario Brothers 3 tournament in keeping with the film’s story. Hartman “had been dreaming of this one for a few years,” he said after the show. “The 25th PAX made the most sense.”
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