Thursday, September 10, 2015

PAX 2015: A first of many to come!

Rocket League tournament@SONY
For those of you who don't know, the Penny Arcade eXpo is a 4-day weekend of tabletop games, videogames, anime, cosplay, gaming culture presentations, and there is a ton of winning winning winning! At TGS, Tokaigi, and other conventions, you stand in line to play a game demo for 15 minutes or watch a trailer on a huge screen, all while on the lookout for hot booth babes or cosplay. You can find this at PAX, but there are a lot more ways to walk away with stuff: gaming tournaments on every system, scavenger hunts based on finding qr codes throughout the 8-building grounds (holy shit, right?), games played while waiting in line, and tons of even-if-you-lose concessions. 

Tickets to this event were sold out within hours of going on sale, and that was 3 months before the event. Luckily, applying to work at PAX opened after that, and lil ol me was accepted to join the ranks. The Enforcer[E] crowd are good people. Nerds of every caliber who were there to help other nerds be nerdy. My favorite part about the event was talking to people: PAX is so very social, which I cannot claim is true for other expos of its type. My Japanese is conversational, so it's not all lack of skill and effort on my part. But, the host culture means that TGS and Tokaigi attendees talk to their own groups, and leave the noisemaking to the presentations. To contrast, I had a dozen attendees during PAX come up and talk and hang out (well, I WAS at a lounge with beanbags) and struggle with eye contact and stumble through sentences about Pokemon, Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda. I'm not poking fun at these people, I'm saying they overcame their uncomfortableness to talk about cool shit. There were lots of tips when and where to wait in line for limited pins and giveaways. With the exception of my family and friends, it was the most genuine group of strangers I've ever rolled with before. 

I've never been more aware of the getting-to-know-someone process than here because there were no professional guidelines or barriers to limit the context of conversation.

This poor bastard was bleeding for 96 hours.
Some of you reading this might be like my co-workers who ironically live in Seattle and look down on gaming culture. I hope you open up and welcome gaming into your life, because pretty soon you're gonna be the weirdos who don't game out! Also, there are major economic opportunities: I met two people from Tulsa who said there weren’t any PC cafes there, and the only arcade had games that were 30 years old. Not to mention the fact that there probably aren’t any connections to Japan or anime. $10k, open an arcade for all the IT people who need a place to spend it!

The biggest sour point was that I wish I had had friends to attend PAX with on my off-hours, though. However, there were almost 1000 [E]s, so it was pretty easy to chat up one of them when I was feeling like doing something other than gawking excitedly. I’ve also heard that going with a group means you’ll inevitably spend time doing things you don’t want to do.

NintIndies...I see what you did there!
Highlights of the event: NintIndies had a room in the Sheraton Hotel with a dozen titles: Typoman, a sidescroller with live word puzzles; Runbow, an 8-player frantic platform racer; and a game called Shantae, a sidescrolling adventure game with leveling up. Also, there was an [E]-only Magic: the Gathering draft tournament where I won the first of three rounds, but ultimately had to concede because the second round took place a little too late for my tastes. Had a blast, though.

WRONG ARIES,'re looking for Ares!
One thing that didn’t rule about that weekend was how much non-PAX time I wasted not being there. Friday and Monday were work days, and Saturday’s power outage meant an extra 2 hours burned in traffic/waiting for the bus. 

All in all, the event was A++++ 10/10 would buy from again! 

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