Sorry, blog! I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been busy catching up with everything I missed this week while sick. As a gesture of apology, the next post will focus entirely on scantily clad women. :D
This was the first year for Pennsylvania’s new gaming affair, GameX. Held in the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center near Valley Forge National Park, it was a bit out of the way for convention-goers more accustomed to metropolitan travel, but the expo still managed to attract a large number of attendees. This may be due in part to GameX’s attempt to appeal to multiple crowds within gaming culture.
For the casual gamers who love to play with friends, there was a large Bring Your Own Computer area, the Alienware Arena, a bay of 98 Alienware PCs loaded with games and open to everyone, and as well as a ring of Xbox 360s and Playstation 3 running mostly fighting games hosted by the GXL team.
Competitive PC players had three gauntlets to run in the Alienware Arena in Team Fortress 2, Flash Point: Dragon Rising, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Unreal Tournament 3. Console fans could duke it out in Street Fighter 4, Halo 3, BlazBlue, and more at the GXL booth or try their hands at Smash Brothers and Rock Band 2 on the main stage with the ladies of PMS Clan. Prizes ranged from t-shirts and cases of energy drinks to hundreds of dollars and three real Epiphone guitars!
Just interested in looking around? GameX has you covered there too! Industry panels and exclusive screenings ran all weekend in the theatre room and the Artists’ Alley and Steampunk Gallery both had some amazing and funny pieces on display (and for sale!). Gaming celebrities like The Escapists’ famous fast-talking Aussie critic Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw from Zero Punctuation and several cast members of the popular web show The Guild were on-hand to chat and sign autographs in the red carpet section.
Interactive booths from Ubisoft, MSI, Hi-Rez Studios, Dante’s Inferno and Warhammer Online, Turtle Beach, and more ringed the walls and dotted the showcase floor, offering attendees lots of free swag and exclusive gameplay opportunities. Other companies like RockyBid.com, Dust-Off, Bawls, and Steel Series offered great deals on products and services. There were displays from local robotics teams and local Jedi teams. And just when you thought the day was over, live bands took over the main stage to serenade the attendees with game-inspired ballads and mash-ups of well-known game soundtracks.
As a special treat for industry insiders and the hard-working volunteers, there were several VIP parties once the doors closed on the convention hall each night. While many enjoyed the upscale wine and cheese soiree on Friday night, I loved the bouncing between the GameX and The Escapists’ parties at Arnold’s Family Fun Center on Saturday. Laser tag, bumper cars, beer, and Bawls: everything a gamer could ask for to unwind!
GameX has already posted their 2010 date (October 22nd-24th for those wondering) so I hope it’s safe to say this event will be around to enjoy again. I look forward to seeing how the convention grows, if it changes spaces, and what it has in store for the future!