PAX East is a magical time in Boston. Spring melts the snowy Winter drifts. Evergreen joggers put away their lycra leggings and run with flushed faces along the Charles River. Cuddly bearded gamer bears don snug hoodies and awaken from a hibernation of playing all the Holiday season releases. It’s this time when gaming enthusiasts, students and industry professionals descend upon the still chilly New England. For the fifth year, they convene in a kickoff party at the Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Development) Center tucked away beside MIT, and they celebrate games and initiatives that are all “Made in MA.”
Two floors of the office building are dedicated to the event. The eleventh floor features an Xbox One with Kinect playing Just Dance 2014. GSN Games reps gleefully entertain us with their moves and skills. Looking beyond the refreshments of cupcakes and nachos slathered with queso fondue, a huge banner is posted behind a table is NDA’s. A special Microsoft intern project is on display, but you have to sign several agreements to be nice and not tell a soul. No fun! Boston, however, has a bustling indie scene with several small devs and startups. These are the true stars of the evening.