South By South West (SXSW) is a huge entertainment event for the city of Austin, Texas. It covers most major media with the festival being broken in to film, music and interactive. The interactive segment has largely curved toward the mobile phone and computer programming side of things, however there is still a great love for gamer culture at the Screen Burn Arcade.
The Screen Burn Arcade would be akin to a smaller version of PAX. They have demo booths, cosplay, panels and the like. It’s a fun and free event with lots of different things to see.
Red 5 had taken over PAX last year with their free to play MMO FireFall. Some would say excessively so. This year they showed up to SXSW with Space marine statues on display. I was going to say that they had seemed to have tapered their spending down to only one giant booth at SXSW. That was until the space marine cosplayers showed up to one up the statues.
Some people like to say that all of this is excessive waste and needless pandering to consumers. I thought it was great and I love being pandered to with giant showy booths, excessively over the top cosplay and guys that shave their heads for events.
The other big event taking up the floor was IGN’s Pro League setup. For the debut night of the festival, they brought in Evil Geniuses Justin Wong, Alex Valle, Nerd Josh and a few other EVO caliber players to run a mini exhibition of Street Fighter X Tekken. It was somewhat underwhelming with Justin Wong dominating his opponents throughout with his go to characters Rufus and Chun-Li, but overall it was interesting to see what the pros were playing around with post release.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see too many Tekken characters in matches on the stage. The players playing at the booths however seemed more open to mixing it up with Iron Fist fighters. I’d argue this is mostly a comfort thing with the new players still remaining a bit alien to the way the Tekken fighters control on a 2d plane.
It was an interesting showcase for a game that hasn’t really been tournament tested. With many of the systems the game employs, it is unknown if this will have the same kind of tournament life that Street Fighter or Marvel vs Capcom has employed, but it was a nice way to ramp up for the bigger events of the weekend in Starcraft 2 and League of Legends.
Lollipop Chainsaw showed up with a school bus that contained the PAX demo. Unfortunately, no foam finger chainsaws were available, only giant lollipops. Not a big deal though I totally wanted a chainsaw to rub in Matt’s face. The bus is actually a pretty cool idea as a moving booth would be a lot easier to clean up after. Unfortunately, the number of demo kiosks inside was a paltry 5.
Still, that bus was pretty amazing.
That was just a sampling of some of the things I saw today at the Screen Burn Arcade in Palmer Event Center in Austin. If you have a chance to swing by, come check it out. There are free game stations set up all around the center and it is a great chance to run in to some cosplayers. I’ll be here all this weekend bringing news and coverage of some of the panels that are going on. The Screen Arcade is free to the public so I encourage everyone to show up and hang out, but bring some money for parking.