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Problems at PAX – Hundreds Turned Away From Fallout

Illustration for article titled Problems at PAX – Hundreds Turned Away From Fallout

The Fallout 3 demo was schedule to run in the Main Theater at 2:30 –the exact same time as the Harmonix: The Rockening panel ended. The demo would also run over the Warhammer Online demo by a good half hour, ending at 3:30. I ducked out of Harmonix 45 minutes early mostly due to technical issues, but also because I wanted to head off a huge line for Fallout. My plan failed as I encountered well over 200 hundred people ahead of me. Dutifully, I waited in line, suffering through all the misery of yesterday all over again. But 2:30 came and went and still the line didn't move. It was nearly 2:50 by the time the big partition blocking off the Main Theater from the line-waiting room was parted, admitting the first of well over 1000 people that wanted to see this game. I was fairly hopeful because I was in the first third of the line – but when I was within 10 people of the opening, the line stopped. After some muddled arguments and confused muttering, a meek marketing chick was sent out with little cardboard consolation prize. We were subsequently turned away. Or not even turned away since no one said "go away." They just stood there, staring at us as we stared at them, not letting us into the demo. The passive-aggressive shun, if you will. That's the trouble with mega-huge game expos – there just isn't enough room for everybody. Looks like PAX has succumbed to E3 syndrome. Hit the jump if you wanna know what happened at Harmonix.It started out bad – the room for the panel was located in a building across the street from the main convention center that's set aside for tabletop tournaments. This "room" turned out to be a big open space partitioned off from the tabletop gaming section by only a few scraps of black bed sheets. As a result, the sound quality in the room sucked. The microphones couldn't be turned up too loud for fear of feedback and most of what came through the speakers was lost in the big, empty space around the room. I did my best to get close, arriving 20 minutes before the panel was set to start; but seating was scant and I would up next to a pole as it was the only space that had a power socket for my poor, arthritic lappy. The panel started with introductions and I would love to tell you who they were – but I couldn't hear a damn thing between the noise from the tabletop gamers, the hiss from the air conditioners, and the noisy effin' guys that sat around me about 10 minutes into the presentation. Said guys wanted to move the empty chair next to me back a little and they grabbed it to lift it up, not realizing that all the chairs were attached at the leg. They wound up spilling me half onto the floor before figuring this out. I regroup (swore at them) and sat back down, trying to hear what was being said by the panelists. Stuff about the Harmonix mission to bring music games to non-musicians… what little of it I heard was very nice. Then they started going through the history of Harmonix as a company, from their early years in sound and movement sims (The Axe, lol) to CamJam. We almost got to the part where they made Frequency, but then they stopped the presentation to open the floor to intermittent questions (supposedly to keep the Q&A short). Mr. Mumbles took the guest mic first and right when I thought I'd made out what he said well enough to type, one of the guys near me scooted his chair such that it knocked my power supply out of the wall socket. This resulted in loud wailing from my computer and I had to save and close since it was easier to do that than to reach down and pry my power cable out from under the guy's seat. About now I realized I needed to book it if I was going to get a shot at Fallout (oh, if only I had known), so I gave up, got my power cable and got the hell out of there.


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Chris Person

It's monstrously packed here. For the media, it's really difficult to cover anything and for the regular show goers you're looking at a long ass wait in line before you even have a chance at getting a look at the game. The big name people I've been legitimately impressed by is Blizzard: They have about enough kiosks to cover the demand for Starcraft II and Wrath of the Lich King.

The throng has made this place a new E3. PAX Boston can't come soon enough, if you ask me.