Of Chicken Horse

More Friends

After crashing extremely early last night, I ended up getting up fairly early.  From about 5 pm onwards I didn’t really get proper sleep, and mostly just laid there quietly until shortly after 6 pm.  The result was me getting to PAX and parked at around 8 am.  The parking situation was much improved, and that at least took one worry off of my mind.  By the time I got through the random bag fondling that they have been doing upon entering this year… Dallian was milling around in the Coffee Shop area.  So we sat there for a good while fiddling with street passes while waiting on others to show up.  I am not sure why I have been obsessing about street passes, but that has really felt like my overarching goal.  I guess part of it is the fact that I realize I will not have access to this many in one place… until I end up going to PAX next year.  So I spent pretty much any free time clearing out one batch of streetpasses and playing the picture puzzle and find mii game.  I am up to 392 Mii characters on my 3DS which is a significant boost to the 90 or so I had before coming this year.  Before coming this year I had completed zero of the slides… and after this year I have seven fully unlocked.

While hanging out there and chatting… and waiting on the rest of the folks to show up we had a random encounter with a couple of awesome folks.  The two of us were sitting at a table for four, and a couple came up and asked if we minded them joining us.  When you play board games there is a convention of playing with the box lid standing up, to signal you are open to letting other people join your game.  I wish there was something like that for tables, because I felt bad commandeering a table…. but I also wanted a nice place to sit while we waited.  What followed was an awesome conversation about Destiny and the Division, and a bunch of other console and PC games rolled together.  The funny thing is… we had this lengthy conversation all without introducing ourselves, and it took a fifth person joining the conversation to actually make that happen.  Now I hope to actually keep tabs on Hatti and Rabbit over twitter, and maybe even interact more between now and next year.

Everyone Must Play

As the day went on we managed to catch up with Tick, Damai, Thalen, Paragon, Ashgar, Rae and her brother John… and eventually Rowan, Sctrz, and Genda and his wife.  I believe when we were playing several rousing games of Code Names, we had ten around a table in the gaming area.  I believe the game was chosen in part because it scaled nicely regardless of how many people happened to be playing it.  While playing a rapidly snuck a few blurry pictures which I am totally using on my blog without talking to the individuals first.  However of the several photos I have… I picked the one with the people in it that I didn’t think would actually care.  I am also not naming anyone by name….  so hopefully no one gets cross with me.  Today was a lot of trying to sort out what to do, after we played a half dozen rounds we ended up breaking up into smaller groups and never quite joining back together.  I spent a lot of time circling like a shark trying to decide what to do… and alternately spending time with Exale and Maovis, who were cosplaying Venom Snake and Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China.  Lo Pan was an insane hit, and we ended up spending a lot of time stopping so folks could take photos.

I think the highlight of the day was dragging people to the Ultimate Chicken Horse booth just like I had done to me.  I cannot adequately elaborate on just how fun that game really is to play.  It takes a few rounds to get into it… but before long folks are cheering at the screen or groaning when they fail to complete a level.  There is something so deceptively simple about the game… and the iterative gameplay of each person adding a piece to the greater level keeps it fun and engaging.  I think the best feature is the fact that there is a fixed number of attempts that everyone can make, and regardless of the outcome someone will be crowned a winner.  I am already extremely partial to the chameleon who does this silly rainbow dance when you manage to win with him.  I also do not mind at all the Raccoon, and my lanyard now sports a button since they apparently ran out of Chameleons.  This is definitely going to be one of those games that I pick up immediately, and probably start buying for all of my friends so that they can join in the multiplayer madness.  I forsee us talking about this game a lot on the coming AggroChat.

Parking Debacle

Pax Day One

The first day of pax was interesting, mostly because it started off on a bad foot.  I wrote about yesterday how I failed to charge my cell phone over the course of the previous night.  The positive of that however is that I learned my power bank does a phenomenal job of charging phones, and by the time it took me to drive from the hotel to the convention center it was sitting around 63% from the previous 15%.  Last year there was a plethora of parking options up and down Commerce and Market streets, but unfortunately yesterday every single lot had a full sign.  I finally ended up parking in a surface lot, having to pay $20 for 8 hours.  On the way to the convention I stopped and chatted with one of the attendants at the garage I parked in last year, just to find out what time of the day it actually filled up.  Turns out that some other corporate event is going on downtown, and that a company had booked pretty much all of the city run garages, greatly reducing the amount of available parking space.  She said that today they would be open again, so here is hoping that I can get into the garage I am used to.

As far as the day itself, it took a little while to connect with everyone.  I met up with Dallian in this coffee shop area near a giant Pax South sign, where we milled around until we joined up with Paragon and Damai… and eventually Ashgar.  Since we had not heard anything from Thalen yet, we wandered into the con and around the floor.  All the while I was on lookout for trying to sort out where exactly my first appointment was.  Turns out it was downstairs at the river level…. which is not something I even knew existed.  The rooms down there were super nice however, and in truth I liked them better than the area the Motiga suite was last year.  When I went to scope the place out I got nabbed by Deanna from Perfect World, and ushered into their room to hang out while waiting on time for my appointment.  They had this really great spread of brownies and other pastries, but unfortunately… I had just eaten a large breakfast at the hotel thinking it might be awhile before I found food on the con floor.



I will of course be writing a proper piece for MMOGames.com once I have more stable internet, but I still wanted to talk a little bit about it this morning.  I have to admit I was not really sure what to expect from all of the press announcements leading up to me actually getting to test it.  I had a basic idea that it would be a top down shooter, but I was not really certain past that.  I turns out that the game as a whole is a love letter to the twin stick shooters of the past, updated and infused with modern gameplay mechanics.  So in my head it feels like Ikari Warriors meets Diablo meets some almost MMO mechanics.  When the game is finished it will include three mechs that have specific niches, and in the discussion they mentioned tank/healer/dps holy trinity.  It seems as you level up your character to 30 you unlock ways to swap up your abilities and make them more defensive or more damaging.  I asked the ever important question about how big of a detriment a new player will be to seasoned players… and apparently the game is more skill based.  Level 1 characters and Level 30 characters have the same health, and the upgrades to abilities don’t really crank up the damage value, but instead change the way they work.  So in theory this might be a great game for impromptu co-op with friends.  That has always been the challenge in our own little circle, that if someone was not there on the first night… it is often difficult to play catch up and be viable until everyone simply hits the level cap.  The other nice thing about this game is that it is a straight up $19.99 game, and I grilled them a bit about future monetization plans.  It seems like right now they have no plans to offer a whole bunch of DLC characters or anything like that… they are just trying to design a really tight three player co-op experience and that is in many ways refreshing.

Ultimate Chicken Horse


The other game I really want to talk about from yesterday is Ultimate Chicken Horse.  Now this is a title we have talked about before on AggroChat on our PAX Prime Show.  While Tam, Kodra, and Ashgar tried to explain the game to me… I didn’t really “grok” it until I was sitting there yesterday with a controller in hand playing it myself.   The idea is pretty simple…  you have a platformer that you compete with up to four other players.  The level designs are pretty classic and relatively simple to complete.  What makes the game amazing is that each round, each player gets a block that they can place somewhere in the level.  Some of these blocks help the players out like springboards or platforms…. and others will kill the player like crossbows that fire arrows, or spiked floors.  The goal of the game is the make the level difficult enough for at least one of the people you are playing with to die…. but not so hard that you cannot beat it yourself.  If everyone beats the level… no points are awarded.  If no one beats the level…  no points are awarded.  Things start to get really insane about five rounds in when the map becomes a field of death and destruction.  I can already tell this is going to be one of those must own “go to” games for hanging out with friends.  The best part about it is the fact that it does couch co-op and does it amazingly well.  The only problem I am going to have is that I am not sure if it supports network co-op, and I simply don’t have a group of people to play it with on a regular basis in local mode.  I am absolutely going to buy the game regardless because I want to support this flavor of insanity.  If you get a  chance, you should totally check it out when it ends up on steam shortly.

Ending the Day

The big problem with the day yesterday, was the fact that I was super paranoid the entire time about the crappy parking option I had.  Previously the $10 lots were for as long as you cared to stay, meaning I could be there late at night without much issue.  I talked to the parking attendant about the lot I happened to be in, and she mentioned that it was a privately owned lot and they were super quick to boot cars.  So the entire time while roaming around Pax I kept looking at my phone to check when it was time to walk out and get the car and try and move it to someplace better.  I finally headed out around 3:30 in the afternoon to do that, and in the time it took me to exit that surface lot… someone had already taken my space.  I drove around Commerce and Market streets and all of those lots still showed the “Full” sign, so I circled back around to the lot I had parked in… which now had a barricade across its entrance as well.  So everyone went off to Dave and Busters, and I instead went to the Hotel and played 3DS until my wife and friend got in a few minutes later.  Once the traffic had died down we went out roaming for a bit, because we needed some pop to throw in the hotel fridge.  The day took a lot more out of me than I realized, and I ended up crashing really hard about 9 pm.  Over the course of the day I walked a little over 15,000 steps, which is something I am just not used to right now.  It was fine and well while I was in motion, but once I got back to the hotel room… it took its toll.  Overall was a really good first day, other than the parking bullshit.  Next year I am going to sort out the bus system and just use it, because in theory there is a bus that picks up right outside this hotel and drops off near the convention center.