Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 7 News List

PAX Prime gaming expo expects 85,000 in Seattle


The Penny Arcade Expo is in full swing in downtown Seattle.

The fan-centric celebration of gaming began on Friday at the Washington State Convention Center. The four-day-long event is expected to be attended by 85,000 gamers and has scheduled concerts, game tournaments, freebies and previews of upcoming titles. Tickets to this year’s 10th annual PAX Prime event sold out in less than two hours in May.

The first PAX, named after founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik’s Penny Arcade online comic series, was held in 2004 in Bellevue, Washington, and attended by about 3,300 fans. Since then, the event has spawned similar events in Boston and Australia, as well as the upcoming PAX South event in San Antonio, Texas.

“If you live, breathe and eat gaming, it’s really the only place to be this weekend,” said Jonathan MacPherson, who traveled from Vancouver, British Columbia, for his third convention.

He said he was most excited to try out Evolve, an upcoming four-versus-one multiplayer shooter from Turtle Rock Studios.

Several publishers are giving PAX Prime attendees hands-on time with upcoming games, like Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4, Insomniac Games’ Sunset Overdrive and Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. On the show floor, a space called the Indie Megabooth is showcasing titles from independent developers, such as the space shooter Galak-Z from 17-Bit.

“There’s an interesting personal element here that you can’t get online,” said Zach Aikman, an engineer at 17-Bit who also organizes the Seattle Indies Expo a few blocks away at the Melrose Market Studios. “You’re able to meet the developers and find out how their actual personalities carry over into the games they make.”

The gaming industry could use camaraderie now, following several reports of developers and other personalities in the gaming community being harassed online. PAX Prime has posted policies against violence, harassment and illegal drug use.

The convention’s organizers declined to be interviewed for this story.

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