05/31/2014

SHIN REVIVAL OF THE FORT90 DOT COM WEBSITE REBUILD PROJECT COMMITTEE ANNOUNCE CLUB, PLUS ALPHA, FOR MATCHING SERVICE: Pax East 2013 Part 1

by Matthew Hawkins

It’s Saturday, and the weather outside is absolutely gorgeous, at least here in NYC. So what am I doing holed up inside my apartment, hunched over my MacBook Air, and typing these words? Well it also happens to be May 31st, but not just any May 31st: today marks the 10 year anniversary of this very website!

And it’s been quite the ride; FORT90.com went live around the time I was attempting to become a full-time writer, and ended up being somewhat instrumental in that actually happening. No need to repeat what’s on my bio page; most folks who know me are well aware that I’ve been around the block. I’ve also worn several different hats over the years, aside from being a writer: game maker, college professor, cell phone blogger, podcaster, promotor, curator, zinester, producer, actor, plus that guy who was accused of inciting anti-furry sentimentality at that Long Island nerd fest. To name a few.

Have also been able to chronicle my travels as well, which includes jaunts to other parts of the US, like San Francisco and Las Vegas, along with other parts of the world, like Toronto and even Tokyo. And let’s not forget my frequent trip to where I grew up, which keep getting weird and more depressing, though increasingly fascinating as well. Though I believe I’ve done a fairly OK job of chronicling what it’s like to be in the Big Apple, especially when one’s interests lie in video games, comic books, improv comedy, underground cinema, indie wrestling, and toys. Along with the darkest corners of the internet.

Or at least I used to. 2013 was a particularly crazy year, which contained a two hit combo that basically ground updates to a halt. The first punch to the gut was basically burnout, a direct result of writing for so many different outlets simultaneously, and for quite the stretch (in which I found myself filing about 16 stories a day, which no one read, which definitely made matters worse). Hence why I would end up giving full-time writing up by year’s end. Still, I was able to keep the ship afloat, up until this time last year. Updates during the spring were pretty sporadic, so the plan was to finally fill in the blanks once my NYAFF ’13 coverage had wrapped up.

And thus the second punch to the gut: as noted in a previous post, there was a major malfunction behind the scenes, and because I was so damn busy, I simply couldn’t fix it until 2014 rolled around. And I’ve been been able to slowly but surely re-injecting life into these digs, though I’m making good on my promise to fill in the blanks, as of today! Starting with my way overdue rundown of PAX East 2013. Am hoping to also go over TCAF 2013, my very first trip to E3, PAX Prime 2013, New York Comic Con 2013, plus my winter spent in the Great White North. Oh, and a return to posting random video game nonsense. But first…

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Day 0

Even though it now feels like ages ago, I distinctly recall showing up to the Boston Convention Center in a not so great state of mind. Just a few days prior I had been let go as Guyism’s video game reporter, a position I held (and enjoyed) for a fairly decent chunk of time. I had gotten in on the ground floor, when the site was young and scrappy; not to brag, but my little corner was fairly popular, enough to help gather serious momentum for Guyism as a whole.

Fast forward a few years and the site was eventually acquired by some big ad agency, which is often the case. As are obligatory changes by the new owners, and one of their very first decrees was getting rid of regular video game coverage. Oh well! Though at that point, I had just become Siliconera’s new East Coast Editor, plus I was also covering the show on the behalf of ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype.com, so it’s not like I didn’t have work to do that weekend.

Plus I was also scheduled to moderate a panel, though more on that when the time comes. Here’s the first thing I saw when I arrived; the Indie Megabooth being put together…

Naturally, my home-base for much of the show was the Fangamer booth. Here it is, also being assembled…

Naturally, new products were making their debut, like Chris Furniss’s 31 Days of Zero Suit Samus, plus you had a few new Attract Mode goodies, like John Pham’s SCUZZI zine…

Though the big debuting item for FG that show was their Power Glove inspired oven mitt…

Day 1

As noted, I was covering the show for Siliconera, and the first thing I checked out for them was Capcom’s presser. The big news was the unveiling of Ducktales HD, though just below that was details regarding their 25th anniversary plans for Mega Man (which, naturally, has long since past)…

Kinda wished I had gotten the commemorative statue when I had the chance…

Though the focus of my coverage for Siliconera was not so much Japanese games, as one might expect, but indie games. Was an experiment of sorts, one which alas was not super super successful, though I really appreciated the chance to give it a shot. On that end, you had Divekick

I really wish they had made the special controller commercially available…

Plus there was A.N.N.E., which ended up being my game of the entire show…

And here we have my choice for runner up, Soda Drinker Pro

Or to be more precise, Vivian Clark, the (at the time) secret/hidden game that was contained within…

But more so than the games themselves, the real appeal of PAX are those who celebrate the medium by dressing up. And PAX East 2013’s assortment of cosplayers did not disappoint (unlike the following year, but I’ll get to that when the time comes). Kicking things off on that end is the most original Super Mario cosplayed I’ve perhaps ever seen…

And the best damn Chrono Trigger cosplayer to boot…

Fox McCloud enjoying an energy drink…

There was simply a ton of Sega cosplay to be found. Like Sonic & Knuckles…

Plus James & Gary (those are the names of the two dudes in Typing of the Dead BTW/FYI)…

Beat from Jet Set Radio

Joe Musashi from Shinobi

Plus gender bending Bayonetta (I wish I had taken close up shots of his footwear, which were quite nuce)…

Sorry, but I’m still a sucker for Claire Redfield…

What really sells Elizabeth here are the eyes…

I took this picture, not just because of Hsien-Ko’s ample bosom, but because I’m a legit fan of the character (which most cosplayer hardly ever touch for whatever reason). Seriously…

Meanwhile, here we have muscle bound Layton, who caused quite the stir. Actually not him, but his gal pal who played Luke (not picture, obviously), who managed to gross lots of people out…

Thankfully you had more than just personalities from headlining titles. You also had one of the stars from Death Smiles (that’s a Cave shmup, for those not in the know)…

As well as leads from indie games, like The Scythian from Sword & Sworcery

Mr. Manuel “Manny” Calavera himself…

Without question, the hottest cosplay at the show was Hotline Miami

Other games I checked out on day one included Guacamelee!, Delver’s Drop, and a bunch of games from major publishers that aren’t even worth the mention (plus I can’t seem to find the links for those).

The day ended up with food and drinks for the exhibitors, a PAX tradition. Unfortunately, with each passing year, things keep getting scaled back more and more (plus East’s spread was never that spectacular to begin with). Thankfully myself and my chums found a spot where the waiters with horderves were coming from, which meant were able to intercept some tiny tacos before they were all gone. This was near the Behemoth booth, where they also decided to play Big Trouble In Little China

Once I had my fill of bagel bites and cheap beer, it was time to hit the classic console room, which was bangin’ that night…

Finally got the chance to play Tempest 2000 on its original platform, and that was neat…

Though it was quite the wait for the system of your choice. Thankfully they had old game mags to help kill time…

You also had, as usual, there were plenty of curiosities and rarities to gawk at…

I’m always amazed by how much the collection of memorabilia seems to increase ten fold each and every year…

I kinda miss the PlayStation Polygon Man…

And I spent the rest of the night in the classic arcade, where my name still greets visitors!

That’s it for day one. Days two and three are covered here!

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