I came so close to winning an Xbox 360 Elite at PAX. I was poised and ready, and simply missed the chance.
Here's the story: I was among the first ones in at the Hothead Games panel for Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. I had done my homework and found a nugget about how the game was supposedly coming to Xbox Live Arcade. But between the lack of caffeine and sustenance and my own innate shyness, I passed up the opportunity to get in line and ask my burning question (though I seriously considered doing so at least 10 different times during the panel!). I would have said something like: "I read somewhere that the game is coming to Xbox Live Arcade? So is this true, and will we be able to earn a Defeated 100 Fruit F*ckers achievement?"
If I had, I would have prompted the big Xbox 360 version announcement and won two T-shirts and an Xbox 360 Elite, complete with hand-drawn illustration by Mike "Gabe" Krahulik. Instead, they gave it to some guy who stood up first - and I couldn't even get a Rain-Slick Precipice T-shirt despite repeated viewings of the demo at the booth.
For what it's worth, the game does look like a lot of fun: a nice blend of different game elements I love: role-playing, comic storytelling, turn-based fighting, mini-games and more. The first episode is due out for $20 by year's end (on PC, Mac, Linux and, yes, Xbox 360), with new episodes due every 3-4 months after that.
Overall, PAX was much bigger than past outings. So it was impossible to do and see everything. But we thoroughly enjoyed the massive exhibition hall, where we got to see Rock Band in action (but skipped the long line and public embarassment).
I played Ratchet and Clank Future on the PS3, Geometry Wars Galaxies for Wii and the Xbox Live Arcade version of Puzzle Quest (all must-buys for me). We also did our usual shopping up front, purchasing some DOA and Zelda figurines for me and Halo 3 and Red vs. Blue babydolls for GrrlGotGame.
The swag was much more prevalent than past years. We picked up enough glow-in-the-dark stars from the Geometry Wars folks to decorate our son's bedroom ceiling, a handful of demos (not nearly as many console ones as previous years), a Mass Effect tee, a Mumbo Jumbo hat, and a free copy of the Prima guide for Resident Evil 4 for the Wii. So we didn't leave entirely empty-handed.
Sessions seemed to be largely rehashes from previous years. I attended the aging gamers panel and made a plea for more save points in games - so that those of us with kids don't need to leave our consoles running for 8 hours at a time just because our kids wake up from nap early. There was the usual argument about technology limitations - but if you can save Oblivion anywhere to a 360 memory card why can't you do the same with virtually any other game? It's the reason I love BioShock and can't stand to play Dead Rising.
A new gamer edition of Family Feud showed promise (The question "Things to do with a girl" was predictably topped by "Have sex," "Make out" and "Kiss" with "Talk" coming in dead last), but lagged a bit too much between rounds. Hopefully they will keep this feature and tighten up play and expand it to include more teams next year.
We also saw the premiere of MC Frontalot's new video for the song "It is Pitch Black" (aka The Grue Song), which was a blast. Then there was the cosplayer dressed as a splicer from BioShock, and a chance to pose next to a lifesize Big Daddy replica.
Not the best PAX ever, but the lines were generally not too bad and we got to play some games we liked.