Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump In

Video Editor, Dave Geyer

Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
Xbox at PAX East, Hit Start & Jump I
It’s 10:00 a.m. and the floor of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center resembles a local lobster tank; if a lobster were pale-skinned, dressed in black…or perhaps wearing a cone on its head. Running around with a camera clicking away at PAX East, I keep catching myself smiling at the sight of visceral joy – the flat out fun that these gamers are having. A laughing contest for you: watch an out of shape, dare I say frumpy, grown man lose himself in Kinect, shaking his thing, waving his arms and snapping his fingers like a natural-born Lady Gaga. See how long it takes before you too forget yourself, openly stare and belly-laugh with 100 other voyeurs; it is what the kids like to call, “fun.”

For Xbox, TPN knocked out three stellar 30 x 50 sq. ft. exhibits in exactly four weeks – from the beginning of the design to completion of the installation. Francis Wartelle, TPN designer, took three brands, each with its own unique identity and unified them under the Xbox brand.

Francis, TPN’s favorite Parisian, has a master’s degree in 3D Design and Technology from Buckinghamshire University in England. After time designing furniture and fixtures, Francis was bit by the Experience bug. Francis has contributed to a variety of designs for TPN including Xbox, PC Games, IDX, Genie and Wild Tangent.

In a video interview with Francis he describes a variety of creative design solutions. One of the most impressive features is an element of the scalability of these exhibits. Take the “ribbon” banners for example (shown in image above). The ribbons accommodate a 30 x 50 foot space, but remove the fabric “pillow case” and the hardware can break down easily to suit a 10 x 10 foot space. The same is true of most design elements in the exhibit, even the lighting. With over 120 shows that TPN supports each year, Xbox required smart design that is sustainable, reusable and modular…TPN delivered.

No more than ten minutes after “doors”, Gears of War 3 has a line wrapping around the booth. After twenty minutes Xbox live gamers are battling for space amidst the media’s tangle of tri-pods and reporters with oversized microphones. But despite the crowds…or maybe because of them…attendees are happy. The weary of waiting in line is nothing compared to the exhilaration of gripping the controller of a new game. Not your average volunteers, numbering at an estimated 500, Enforcers have a brigade style that falls somewhere between the military and a girl scout. I’m definitely going to follow their rules, but I also think it might be fascinating to have a beer with them after hours. As the dedicated shows compliance team, they appear like stealth government agents, at even the possibility of wrong-doing. These are not banker’s hours; many Enforcers work the show from dawn until dusk, wearing out their boots, all in exchange for a little time at the games. Looking for a gamer focus group – perhaps you could save yourself a bit of trouble by pulling up the volunteer list.

For many gamers, they’ve reached our Xbox space after a multi-day “cross-country tailgate party”. Now, fueled by the sheer excitement of PAX East and gallons of Dunkin Donuts, they will engage three days and nights of gaming from the convention floor to computer labs, to exclusive parties, sleep withstanding. With 69,500 attendees (record attendance), the convention center is busting at the seams and BCEC announces a rare traffic advisory is in effect. This sport-centric town has been transformed, if just for a weekend, to a Gamers’ paradise. Hit start and jump in!

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