The sights you’ll see at PAX Prime 2013

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That’s PAX Prime 2013 summed up with one image. It’s kid-friendly Donkey Kong right next to Bayonetta 2’s bad posture. There’s your thousand words right there. It’s cosplayers rubbing shoulders with salespeople in suits. It’s techno music blaring out of speakers right by the restrooms. It’s 15-foot tall TV screens showing pre-recorded gameplay on a 30-second loop. It’s card floppers and dice chuckers sitting near kids trading virtual pocket monsters. It’s thousands of gamers packed into one convention center jockeying to play what the marketing folks will allow them to see. It’s chaos and it’s awesome.

Let’s take a tour through PAX after the jump!

Here is a typical sight from PAX Prime:

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Get used to this view if you go to PAX Prime, because it’s what you’ll be looking at for most of the visit. Every game display has a line and the more popular or hyped a title, the longer the line will be. Want to see Titanfall? That’s going to be a two hour wait. Want to check out Watch Dogs? That’s going to be a two hour wait. Want to play some Battlefield 4? That’s going to be a two hour wait. Are you detecting a pattern yet? Bring your iPod, your PS Vita, or your 3DS because you’ll find that a good chunk of your visit will be spent in a line.

You won’t get this from Youtube videos of PAX gameplay. Leave it to Quarter to Three to give you the true PAX experience!

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Here’s Chris Hecker manning his SpyParty booth. The Spy versus Sniper gameplay sometimes requires his oversight. The SpyParty booth is the only one at PAX that gives gamers a 4-page instruction manual before they can play the game. I’m not kidding. It’s a handout with four pages of tiny text instructing Spy players on how to blend in at a posh social event and not do anything that gives the opposing player, the Sniper, any clues to the Spy’s identity.

“If the Spy is holding a drink, he or she can’t accomplish any tasks that require the left hand, including holding books, statues, or bugging the Ambassador on the left, so Spies don’t want drinks, but it does provide cover since Spies don’t want drinks! Drinks take 3 sips to finish, but drinks at the start of the match have only one sip left.”

Chris looks tired but happy. More power to you Chris! You’re making the odd gem that might just teach people a thing or two about being James Bond.

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There’s the Xbox One. That was right in front of a guy demonstrating how to create a dancing troll in Project Spark. He pulled a troll out of a character set, danced for a few seconds in front of the Kinect sensor, and pasted the animation onto the troll. Just like that, the troll was ready to set down onto the fantasy landscape he had created minutes ago, to battle his knight! Kids and adults were impressed.

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That’s the PC area. Hundreds of GPU fans whirring into service to bring Blacklight: Retribution, Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, and other free-to-play games to life. For some reason, the crowd wasn’t as restless in here. The people in this area were mostly silent while sitting at the desks.

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Maybe the people in the PC area were happy because they were playing games, unlike most of the people in the upper area that were just standing in more lines?

That’s Battlefield 4 in the background, by the way. That’s as close as I got while I was standing in the line to see the live demo of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed in the Watch Dogs mini-theater, but I can say that Ubisoft’s second-screen gameplay vision for Watch Dogs was captivating. One player using a tablet linked into a console player’s game and offered a timed challenge. The console player could use any of his character’s abilities to get to the finish line, like jacking cars, hacking security systems, or shooting his gun, while the other player used the tablet to interface with virtual Chicago’s web to call cops, manipulate traffic, and spring traps to delay the runner. The wrinkle was that when the console player killed civilians or broke the law, he generated more power for the tablet player to call for reinforcements. It was hectic and a good showcase of the game’s vision.

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Since every news site has a cosplayer gallery, here’s my contribution. It’s a dark elf from Skyrim playing Pokemon. Enjoy!

Check out part two here.

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