The Latinx Lounge and PAX Together Booth Were Fantastic New Additions to PAX

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Image source: Latinx in Gaming

Tucked away in a second floor conference room at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas was an experimental section of PAX South 2020. The Latinx Lounge was a new area of the gaming convention hosted by the Latinx in Gaming community, and dedicated to providing games, panels and events featuring latinx creators, developers, and personalities.

The Latinx Lounge was a fantastic idea, and the organizers did a great job stuffing as many events as possible over the three-day convention, including panels with notable developers and streamers (some entirely in Spanish), a one-shot D&D live show in a world inspired by Latin America, and even Friday night Salsa dancing lessons.

The lounge also held a number of indie game from latinx developers, including Nevegante, Stonebot Studio, and HyperBeard Games. When the conference room wasn’t holding a full-scale event, the room was open for anyone to wander in and check out the games that awkwardly encircled the perimeter.

Unfortunately for those developers, PAX South goers have little reason to explore beyond the first floor of the convention center, which hosts the bright lights and loud noises of the PAX Arena tournament, the always busy hustle of the developers and vendors in the Expo Hall, and the more subdued but popular tabletop freeplay and tournament area.

In fact one of PAX South’s most unique features, the escape room-esque True Dungeon experience, was moved to the first floor next to the Expo Hall. And with the unique way the convention center is laid out, attendees can quickly jump back and forth between the handheld lounge on the 2nd floor above the entrance lobby, or even reach the third floor to access the PC and console freeplay areas, without ever walking past the Latinx Lounge.

At PAX South 2020, the only reason to explore the back end of the second floor (beyond the expo hall) was to attend a panel in one of the smaller theaters. Given the amount of panels and events hosted in the Latinx Lounge, it made sense to utilize a more private conference room. But it also meant the developers who wanted to showcase their games to passersby got the short end of the stick.

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D&D live play at the Latinx Lounge. Image source: Reedpop

I dropped by the Latinx Lounge early Sunday afternoon, having spent two full days in the expo hall demoing games and chatting with developers and publishers. The room was so empty that at first I wasn’t sure I was in the right place. Lining the walls were several friendly developers with demo stations of their upcoming games. I didn’t have to make any appointments to jump on and play several of them in a row – a feat that’s largely impossible on the busy show floor.

I’m glad I made the time to go check it out, as I demoed some of my favorite games of the entire convention, including Stonebot’s 2D tower-defense brawler, The Last Friend, and Nevegante’s party-based platformer, Greak. All the developers were friendly and eager to chat, and some brought along game-branded merchandise to sell or hand out. But these games would have been much better served with a dedicated presence on the expo hall. Judging from this year’s map, the expo hall had plenty of room to spare.

Better Together

A great example of ceding more prominent space to a new initiative was PAX Together. Like the indie-focused PAX Rising and Tabletop Indie Showcase, PAX Together had a dedicated  space on the show floor that highlighted LGBTQ and other marginalized developers. It was hosted by Houston Gaymers and Gay Gaming Professionals and sponsored by Red Bull.

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Garden Story demo in PAX Together booth. Image source: Eric Watson

The games included in the PAX Together booth, like dating sim-meets-dungeon crawler Boyfriend Dungeon and the whimsical Zelda-like Garden Story, were not simply shoved into the Diversity Lounge, a dedicated space for underrepresented communities in gaming that has been an evolving feature of PAX conventions for the last several years. Thanks to Red Bull and the PAX Together organizers, they were given a prominent location in the expo hall with cheerful hosts and colorful banners to draw people in to check out the games.

PAX Together was a great source of relatively unknown (and completely unknown) indie games. Yet it was always a popular area thanks to its welcoming crew, open design, vibrant displays, and central location. I wish the games of the Latinx Lounge had been given the same treatment.

Both PAX Together and the Latinx Lounge brought many more developers – and more diverse developers, to PAX South 2020 than would otherwise have been able to attend. I saw a wider variety of games and met folks from varying backgrounds who enriched my PAX experience. Hopefully Latinx in Gaming can be given a proper booth in the expo hall in addition to hosting fun and insightful panels and events. I hope to see both initiatives become regular staples in all future PAX conventions.

Nintendo’s Full PAX West 2018 Lineup

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Nintendo has announced all the games they’re bringing and events they’re hosting at PAX West 2018. PAX West takes place this weekend, Aug. 31 – Sep. 3.

“Many of our biggest fans descend on Seattle every year to celebrate video games at PAX West,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior VP of Marketing. “It’s the perfect venue for us to interact directly with our fans with fun activities and engaging hands-on demos with some our upcoming games.”

Here is the full list of Switch games that will be playable at Nintendo’s booth on the show floor (#1939, South Hall).

  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Super Mario Party
  • Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!
  • Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection
  • Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
  • SNK Heroines

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the marquee game and one of the most anticipated games of the year. A giant mural at the Nintendo Booth will feature all the announced fighters, and Nintendo is encouraging fans and cosplayers to take pictures in front of it.

On Friday (Aug. 31), fans will get a chance to meet Kit and Krysta from the Nintendo Minute online show. During the event, fans will get to play Super Mario Party with the hosts and be part of an upcoming episode for the first 30 attendees. Details about the time and location of the event will be announced this week.

On Friday and Saturday (Sep. 1), Nintendo is hosting a Trainer Battle scavenger hunt around the convention and surrounding Seattle area. The Nintendo twitter account will tweet clues and photos of locations. There you will find two Nintendo street team members dressed as Pokémon Trainers. You’ll be able to “battle” them by answering a trivia question and receive a special item.

Also on Saturday, the Pkachu and Eevee official costumed characters will make an appearance at the Sheraton Seattle hotel.

Ahead of the convention, Nintendo will release a new Nindies Showcase tomorrow, Aug. 28, that will announce multiple new indie games coming to Switch.

PAX West 2018 takes place Aug. 31 – Sep. 3 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA.

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PAX South 2018 Runs this Weekend in San Antonio

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ReedPop and Penny Arcade will kick off their fourth annual PAX South gaming convention this weekend, January 12-14. That’s about two weeks earlier than previous years.

Three day passes have sold out but single day tickets are still available for all three days. PAX South is hosted at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Like other PAX conventions, PAX South features an expo hall with developers presenting recent and upcoming games, a tabletop hall to check out board games from a massive library, numerous panels from industry veterans, streamers, and academics, nightly concerts, free play arcade, console, VR, and PC areas, and the D&D live adventures of Acquisitions Incorporated. PAX South will also kick off season two of the C Team, Acquisitions Incorporated’s weekly spin-off D&D show.

PAX South is smaller in attendance and scope than big brothers PAX East in Boston and PAX West in Seattle. PAX South was previously known as the board game or Tabletop-focused PAX convention, but last year introduced PAX Unplugged, a tabletop-only PAX convention that took place in Philadelphia in November.

The True Dungeon experience will return to PAX South, greatly expanded from last year’s sample offering. Tickets much be purchased separately for 2-hour time slots to experience the live-action role-playing adventure. This year the models and story will be inspired by best-selling author (and Acquisitions Incorporated member) Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy series (image above). A free 24-minute demo will also be available to provide a sample of the adventure.

PAX South takes place January 12-14 in San Antonio, Texas.

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PAX West 2017 Takes Place this Weekend

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The Penny Arcade Expo includes five big gaming conventions every year (not including the developer-only mini-PAX Dev), but PAX West is always the biggest. Formerly called PAX Prime, PAX West is the original expo from the explosive web comic team of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik back when it was just a single annual convention.

PAX West 2017 is the 13th PAX West event. It’s taking place this weekend at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington. Tickets for PAX West sell out notoriously quickly and this year wasn’t any different.

The keynote speaker is Luke Smith, Bungie’s Game Director for Destiny 2. Holkins will interview him on stage this morning to kick off the four day convention. Click here for a full list of the PAX West 2017 schedule, including board game tournaments and Omegathon tournament.

For the full list of exhibitors at the expo hall, you’ll need to download the PAX Guidebook app. It’s available on iOS and Android. Exhibitors include the usual big name publishers such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and Bethesda, as well as dozens of hopeful indies. Both PAX Rising and PAX 10 include curated groups of indie games in prominent booths on the expo hall.

The main PAX website has also been recently updated and given a nice makeover.

If you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to PAX West this year, you can still watch many of the panels and shows via Twitch.tv. Three different channels will broadcast shows and panels throughout the four-day weekend, while a fourth will broadcast the PAXArena.

Tickets are still on sale for PAX AUS (Oct), PAX Unplugged (Nov) and PAX South (Jan 2018). PAX West 2017 starts today and ends Monday, September 4.

 

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PAX South 2018 Tickets on Sale Next Week

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Tickets for the fourth annual PAX South gaming convention will begin going on sale next Tuesday, July 18 at 12 pm Pacific/3 pm Eastern. PAX South 2018 takes place January 12-14 in San Antonio, Texas.

“It’s been incredible to see how quickly PAX South has grown and solidified its place in the PAX lineup, cultivating a culture all its own in beautiful downtown San Antonio,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder, Penny Arcade. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of attendees and exhibitors at every PAX South, and this coming show will continue to up the ante.”

Single tickets can be purchased for $40 each, while a three-day badge will run $80. Special Sunday Kids Badges are available for 6-12 year olds at a discounted $10. If you want to bring your own PC for LAN gaming you’ll need to purchase a special pass for another $40.

PAX South 2018 will include exclusive branded merchandise.  A set of dice can be had for $40, a pair of socks for $20, and a pack of drink coasters for $20.

The Penny Arcade Expos are among the largest gaming conventions of the year. Each PAX show features industry panels, esports tournaments, gaming booths, upcoming games, concerts, and live shows.

Earlier this year Penny Arcade announced their next annualized PAX show, PAX Unplugged. It will focus on tabletop gaming. PAX Unplugged will take place November 17-19 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tickets are now available.

PAX shows are produced by ReedPOP with Penny Arcade. The next scheduled PAX show will be PAX West (formerly PAX Prime), the original as well as the biggest of the PAX events. It takes place September 1-4 in Seattle, Washington. As usual with PAX West tickets sold out very quickly.

Media registration will be available three months before the show. PAX South 2018 takes place next year, January 12-14.

 

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PAX West Tickets Go On Sale, Begin Selling Out Within Minutes

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Tickets for PAX West 2017 went on sale a few hours ago. Within minutes they began selling out, because it’s PAX West. As of right now (2:15 Pacific) the only remaining tickets are for Monday, and the quantity is listed as “Low.”

PAX West 2017 returns to the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. It takes place during Labor Day Weekend, September 1-4. Tickets are only available in Single Day formats for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for $48 each.

“The PAX we’re building for the next Seattle show will have hottest upcoming games, panels with industry luminaries, and all the things you associate with the premiere gaming culture show in this hemisphere,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder, Penny Arcade. “I have a soft spot for PAX West, because the show started up here, but also because it’s like fifteen minutes from my house.”

Journalists and media influencers can apply for a Media Badge here.

The Penny Arcade Expos are among the biggest gaming conventions in the world, and PAX West is the original and the biggest of the PAX events. Ticket availability has been a concern for years with different measures being taken to give a fair chance for people to buy tickets. The elimination of bulk weekend passes has helped. But buying tickets remains a stressful first come first serve race every year.

Earlier this year Penny Arcade and ReedPOP announced PAX Unplugged, a new PAX Show that will focus on tabletop gaming. The first PAX Unplugged will take place in Philadelphia this November. Tickets are still on sale, $25 for single day or $60 for 3-day.