PAX West was excellent. What a special event it is, year after year. I drove down to Seattle with two close friends on the Friday morning and arrived at our Airbnb by noon. We had to stay a bit outside of the city - we booked only a few weeks back, when availability was already very slim.
The first day was spent in general amazement as we wandered around taking in the sensory overload of sights, sounds, and with over 50k people, yes -- the smells.
At PAX I'm drawn to the discussion panels, retro games, interactions between people, and indie games. I generally find the indie games weirder and more interesting, and this year I was very happy to find some really cool classic cyberpunk offerings.
Also found a really neat rpg from a Toronto team:
I'm actually not much of a gamer. 2016 is the first year I've owned a console since the dreamcast, going back to 2001 or 2002. But I care about technology and culture, and gaming factors deeply into where we're headed as a society. And this year provided some cool views into the next few years, with many opportunities to play with the Oculus Touch and the HTC Vive.
Virtual reality is definitely going to be a growing way to play over the next few years, although we're still very far off from the "jacking in" experience so commonly found in cyberpunk lit.
I personally think VR will eventually be more commonly used for mundane tasks, rather than gaming. Expert systems, virtual tourism, remote work environments, shared experiences. The big (yet easily feasible hurdle) is still the price, but I think it'll come down drastically over the next few years. Headsets will be under $500 and new rigs with fast enough cards and 4k output will become the norm.
That said, Serious Sam was definite fun! Being able to look in one direction while shooting two targets simultaneously in another direction is really cool.