It’s 12:33am as I begin writing this, so technically we’ve already passed Day One, and I should probably be going to sleep, but damnit I’ll do it! I don’t want to make this article very long, but I’d like to highlight what stuck with me the most — my experience as a first-time attendee.
Today was my first ever PAX, let alone my first experience of the convention as part of the ‘media’. Being the first day, the press were given entry to the booths an hour before the general public. I can speak for myself when I say that whilst I was incredibly excited, there was a lingering sense of dread. I had appointments, I had goals, and I had a group of enthusiastic colleagues by my side. But that all began to slip away when I was faced with the one thing I didn’t factor in. Choice. Too much choice. I was clueless, I had no idea where to go first and what to sink my time into between appointments. This endeavour was made even more difficult by the fact that major publishers like Ubisoft didn’t even open their booth until the general public was let loose. So what was the point? Fortunately, we did manage to slip into the Horizon Zero Dawn demo, which took up enough time before the rest was released, and settled me into the mood of the show.
After my first appointment, things weren’t so scary anymore. I stopped trying to think about how much I needed to do, and just took it step-by-step. I focussed in on games I really wanted to play, and it turned out great! All the developers I’ve met are incredibly friendly, have a real passion for their games, and it’s wonderful to talk to them about it and feel their energy projected into their work.
While I enjoyed everything about the Friday (minus ruined knee cartilage), the most interesting step I took was towards VR. It was the first time I had ever immersed myself in the scene, and it was fitting I started with a very well presented demo of Kept. I realise it’s hard for me to make a critical assessment of the demo, as I have nothing to compare it to (I’m still very much a VR baby), but I’m fine with jumping on the train relatively late. What struck me was my overwhelming desire to keep going; I knew there was a boundary but I just wanted to keep walking. I was immersed: “But David, there isn’t anything in the distance! The interaction is what’s directly in your viscinity”, I said to myself as I tried to stop bashing into spectators. There’s also a bit of a jolt, but I’ll refrain from spoiling it here. If you’d like to see a video of myself trying this game out, click here. I look a bit foolish…
This is only meant to be a short piece, so I’ll cut it off now. Today was great, and I’m incredibly excited for the next two, even if it puts me in crutches by the end of it.