A PAX East Journey
PAX East has kicked off in Boston. I spent one day in paradise so come on a journey with me to find out what I experienced.
Up until yesterday I was a video game convention virgin, eagerly waiting for that special event to pop my cherry. My proverbial chastity belt was not constructed out of disinterest, but more so available time and resources. This year however, was different. With both available funds in hand and time set aside a few friends and I descended upon the great city of Boston to attend PAX East 2012.
I knew little of what to expect from the event other than there was going to be lots of gaming to be had and a many of things to see. From the onset the crowds were the most daunting attribute of PAX. The massive lines encapsulated anything that was perceived to be important, which was to be expected. I didn’t expect there to be a 4 hour wait for something like Nyan Cat Adventure (not knocking that game, but you catch my drift). The heavy hitters of the show a la Borderlands 2 and Max Payne 3 had painfully long wait times, but with some crafty maneuvering I was able to see what was being played albeit not being able to try it myself, so it was a small victory.
The sensory overload is present and never escapes you. From the second you step foot into the convention center you are met with a buffet of visual and audible delights and the inundation only perpetuates as you survey the entire show. I was constantly getting lost like a tourist in a foreign place, but didn’t really care because around every corner you saw something amazing. A free play console room or a superbly done cosplay, it makes you wish could multiply yourself and flank every cool moment that unraveled during every minute of the day. Like most places you visit you must make concessions, see as much as you can, but understand that you will miss a lot and enjoy what scurries in front of you.
While the exhibition halls and panel rooms are very organized the overall aesthetic of PAX is drenched in its own brand of controlled chaos. It is like a 3rd grader with ADD, they never stay still and you can’t predict what they will do next. The spontaneity was refreshing, but made it hard to remain focused and formulate a plan of attack. I am usually a planner so I was thrown off, but I didn’t care because I was relishing in the atmosphere. The aura of PAX was perhaps its most intoxicating quality. I fancy myself a pretty large nerd, but most have labeled me as a “closet” nerd and I’m fine with that. But at PAX everyone is a nerd, there is nowhere to hide because there is no reason to hide. You are with your own in your own little slice of the universe, devoid of judgment and speculation.
You attend an event such as PAX East to see the latest and greatest the gaming industry has to offer, but you get so much more than that. The people that attend the event define it so much more than what is on display. The amount of passion that emanates from the attendees is a spectacular sight to behold. The circles of strangers playing Mario Kart 7 or the impromptu sessions of DnD happening all around make for what is easily the most authentic event I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Sure it is flooded with major brands and companies promoting their products, but it doesn’t bother you in the context of this event, because you get to live the fantasy that we all clamor for the other 364 days of the year.
I learned quite a bit about the inner workings of PAX East which will make me a much more efficient attendee come next time. If you have never been to a convention like PAX East, I highly recommend it. It is something that is truly magnificent and my personal PAX East experience is not one I’ll soon forget. I could even describe it as one of the greatest single days of my life. For 14 hours I was a part of the industry I love so much and the value will forever remain priceless.
Stay tuned for an image gallery from PAX East including some videos. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed compiling them.
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