PAX East 2018 will officially commence tomorrow! A bunch of us here at Sandbox Strategies will be among the thousands descending upon Boston for the massive gaming festival. Last year saw an attendance of over 80,000 guests over the course of the four days. Here’s a few booths, panels, and games that we think really stand out:
The Nintendo Booth – All Weekend
Nintendo has been making major waves with new game announcements early and often in 2018 and their lineup of playable titles at PAX East is sure to make it a must-see destination. Dark Souls II Remastered and Wolfenstein II are big name ports that will cater to the more hardcore gamers in Boston, but Nintendo will also be showing off Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. This fifth installment of the classic Donkey Kong Country series saw critical success when it was released on the Wii U and I believe will make for an even better experience once it hits the Switch in May. Add in indie titles like Adult Swim’s hilarious “least realistic pool sim of all time”, Pool Panic, and Henchman & Goon’s gorgeous co-op adventure, Pode, and you’ve got a seriously stacked booth of games to play through.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead: First Look at the Final Season – Friday, April 6th, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Telltale’s hugely successful series of Walking Dead games will come to a close with the release of its fourth and final season later this year. Debuting in 2012, the series has spanned two generations of consoles, PC and Mac, and has even been ported to mobile iOS and Android devices. Much like the comic book and TV show that it’s draws inspiration from, the game has been a phenomenon. If you have even the slightest interest in playing the final season it would behoove you to be in attendance for this panel at the Albatross Theater. This will be your chance to see early, never before seen footage as well as hear from the game’s lead writer, art director, and the voice actor who plays Clementine herself, Melissa Hutchison.
2018 eMLS Cup – Saturday & Sunday, April 7 & 8, 1:00 – 6:00 PM
For those of you who want to take in a little eSports action, the PAX Arena will be home to the first ever eMLS Cup. This tournament is the premier cup for North American players and will feature some of the biggest American and Canadian names in competitive FIFA. 19 gamers will represent their local MLS clubs and the stakes are high, as the weekend’s champion will move on to the EA Sports FIFA 2018 Playoff Series, where they’ll face off against the world’s top players.
NieR: Automata Panel – Saturday, April 7, 3:30 – 4:30 PM
One of 2017’s most critically acclaimed games, NieR: Automata, is going to be getting plenty of love from publisher Square Enix this PAX. The sequel to 2010’s NieR, Automata was praised for its deep story, player choice, stellar music design, and mix of different gameplay genres. The game truly is a gem. The panel will include the game’s director (Yoko Taro), producer (Yosuke Saito), and composer (Keiichi Okabe). You’ll definitely want to celebrate Automata’s one year anniversary with this panel at the Albatross Theater, especially if you’re a fan of the game.
The Nintendo Switch’s Surprise First Birthday Party – Sunday, April 8th, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Speaking of anniversaries, the Nintendo Switch has been out for exactly one year. What did the console accomplish in its first year? Oh, it only just became the fastest selling console in U.S. history. No biggie. Nintendo will be celebrating the console’s massive success and first birthday with a Sunday panel at the Condor Theater. The panel includes the top five Switch games thus far (no easy task considering Zelda and Mario games, plus all those awesome indie titles). Other giveaways, games, and discussions make this a panel Switch fans will certainly want to check out.
These pointers are just a few of the many things that we have our eyes on this year. Even still, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what PAX East has to offer. Perhaps our biggest tip is to give the weekend’s schedule a thorough look and chart out a course that suits your particular gaming interests. Whether it’s new releases on next gen consoles, old releases on classic consoles, AAA titles, indies, or even tabletop games, PAX East has something for everyone.