Published on April 7th, 2013 | by Darik Kirschman2
PAX East 2013: Drinking, brofists and video game magic
[Well, folks, my PAX East coverage is done. I played a lot of games and saw even more -- the whole experience was fantastic. It was only my second PAX, and my first as a member of the press. That professional slant brought a whole new side to the convention as well as some interesting challenges. Most importantly, however, it led me to meeting some of the coolest people in this fair industry, so I'd like to take some time and tell you all about the entire weekend.]
I arrived in Boston on Thursday afternoon, which was great. For those wondering, it’s a good idea to get to the city a day early and allow yourself some time to decompress and prepare yourself for the sheer onslaught of audio and visual stimuli you’ll experience in the next 72 hours. Plus, Boston itself has a great atmosphere — a little bit college-party-town, a little bit “historic center of the United States”. The city isn’t left wanting for bars either, which, in an industry such as this one where socializing mainly happens through mass consumption of alcoholic beverage, is a true godsend.
Upon checking into our hotel (the rather lovely Boston Marriott Long Wharf, for those that might be interested in attending PAX East 2014), I decided to head over to the Convention Center to pick up my Media Pass early. This, it turns out, was a fantastic idea. The Enforcers who worked with me and gave me my badge stressed that, if you’re press and are in town a day early, pick up your badge. Not only does it help them out, but it also allowed me to simply skip the large “sign-in” line Friday morning and head right into the action. The excitement of heading down onto the show floor for the first time was amplified this year, knowing that I was there on behalf of AWESOMEoutof10. The whole thing was surreal, in the best possible way.
The first thing I checked out was The Last of Us, knowing that it’d probably be something almost our entire audience would enjoy hearing about. While waiting in line to play (being #31 in line with only 30 demo stations available), I was able to watch a bit of other journalists’ playthroughs. Eventually I began just gazing around the conference hall and spotted Rocco and Garrett of Mega64 watching the demo from outside the sectioned off Naughty Dog/Sony booth. We shared a moment when I mouthed the words “This looks fucking awesome” and Rocco enthusiastically nodded his head. Little moments like this are what makes PAX so goddamn cool. You never know exactly who you’ll run into.
Walking around the convention hall is always a joy, but it does make finding and meeting up with friends a bit of a chore — not to mention the generally shoddy cell phone coverage. Needless to say, if you ever plan on going to a PAX (or any convention, really), it’s a good idea to formulate a meet-up area and time. Luckily, I was able to just randomly bump into a number of friends, including our very own Excalibeard! You haven’t truly lived until somebody on the internet randomly recognizes you in a crowd. Trust me, the feeling is awesome, and hanging out with a friend/community member was incredibly rad.
Throughout the weekend I saw amazing games and met some truly inspirational people. I met friends whom I’ve previously only interacted with online and also got to be reunited with those I met at last year’s PAX East. Above all else, the friendships made during these shows are some of the most important memories forged. Somebody asked me what I thought about PAX as a whole and why it’s so popular, and I really had only one thing to say: camaraderie. The attendees of PAX are likely by and large, members of the fringes — quote-unquote outcasts of society. PAX offers a place where no matter what sort of games you’re into — RPGs, FPSs, MMOs, tabletop — there are people who share that passion. Nowhere else have I been able to sit down with a perfect stranger and have a casual conversation over a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity.
PAX brings gamers together in a way that no other trade show can match. It’s a convention dedicated to those who enjoy video games and the culture surrounding our industry. Sure, at times it might be a bit loud, there may be too many distracting flashy lights and it’s filled with swears, but it’s the best and purest representation of this industry that we love so much. I’m just happy that it happens more than once a year.
I’ll see you all at PAX Prime 2013!