The Adventures of S3 and Halfazedninja at PaxEast2014

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PAX East 2014 has everything that a gaming junkie could dream of. It consisted of cosplayers, free loot (I refuse to call it SWAG because the word is forever ruined), new games, loud music, interactive panels, indie games and so on. Now, I’ve been to comic conventions and anime events before, but PAX is a beast of another caliber. It isn’t on the level of Comic-con or E3, but PAX feels more for the people (or players for this report’s sake). My podcast co-host Halfazedninja (@halfazedninja) has been to PAX multiple times and has coached me on how to handle this event. As he simply put it, “You cant do everything at the Con, just do everything you can.”

With that being said, I didn’t know what to do first: panels, tournaments, show floor, pictures, buy stuff, table top games,  play indie games, or wait in line for a big-title game. It’s like those signs at Sweet Tomatoes saying “take your time, you’ll get to enjoy everything soon.” Once you experience PAX on your own, you’ll start to understand that it feels more about the community fueling the games rather than dollars and sales with big-title names.

Let me take you on a journey on what I experienced from PAX starting with the night before.

Thursday

Halfazedninja (for shortening purposes, Ninja) had been working with the hotel and Penny Arcade Forums for a “Pre-PAX” game night at the hotel lobby bar. He and I got into the hotel around 5:00 PM, rested, then unpacked because at 7:00 the fun was going to start. As we were waiting for forum patrons to come down for some table top games and drinking shenanigans, we decided to get something to eat. As the people trickled in, Ninja couldn’t finish his food because the people kept coming in one after another. After a while, it felt more like being at home with fellow gamers than being in a weird bar setting with cards. In-house custom drinks of Mana and Health were flowing. Everyone laughed over games such as Cards Against Humanity, D&D, SuperFight, and Munchkin. This event ran all the way ’til almost midnight. Everyone was a happy patron and not one fight occurred.  Mission success.

Friday

I was so pumped about my first day at PAX that I had no issues getting outta bed. Up at 7:00, out the door to 7-Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts, and then ready to wait for the shuttle at 8:00. We arrived at the convention center around 8:30 and felt the wrath of the lines. PAX is pretty much a “Line Simulator 2014” beta. Stood in a line for bag check, then stood in another line for entering PAX.

Now, I don’t want to give you a bad impression of PAX.  It’s mostly about standing in lines, but just have the idea that if you want to play or see something you love, you’ll have to wait in line for it. Once the show floor opened up, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Big names like Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel was in the far corner with EVOLVE right next to it. The League of Legends booth was just a stage and a pit. Infinite Crisis was huge and loud. Behemoth Studios had an arcade. Ubisoft was right next to NextLevel. And Twitch was live-broadcasting from the show floor. It was all there!

Ninja and I bee-lined right to the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel booth. As I was scurrying to get in line, I got a picture with THE Chloe Dykstra as she was passing by. That’s when I realized there were big-time gaming names and faces among the masses. Anyway, stood in line for 2 hours for Borderlands, but I didn’t regret one minute of it. Promo shirts and hats were thrown around like glow sticks at a rave. Afterwards, I surfed the show floor popping into one booth after another. By that time, the lines were way too long to jump into another one and I wanted to see everything first. Bumped into Morgan Webb from the old G4 network, Daemon Hatfield from IGN News, and the famous cosplay costumer Destiny Nicholson. I’ve never been so starstruck in my life!

Ninja was interested in a table top game so eventually I went off and did my own thing….buy stuff. Bought shirts from vendors, met the Cards Against Humanity co-founders (they signed my big black box), and hit up the Think Geek booth. I was on the fence about picking up a BioShock Infinite SkyHook, but at $70.00 I couldn’t pass it up.

After Ninja finished up his game and I spent a decent amount of money, we decided to get our “loot bags.” PAX hands out some awesome loot bags and this year did not disappoint. It was filled with beta codes, promos, Magic the Gathering cards and oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal. In each Loot bag there was one packet of PwnMeal, the official porridge of E-Sports. At first I was wondering who the hell eats oatmeal for gaming? Then someone informed us that there was assorted PAX exclusive Cards Against Humanity Cards in each packet, 27 to complete the set. This was one helluva marketing stunt. Please treat yourself to the commercial at pwnmeal.com.

Later that night, we went to the Cards Against Humanity panel and we were in for another treat. The panel was pretty much for brain storming of cards for a new expansion. What was special about this year was that while the panel was discussing card ideas, there was a local print shop that was already printing the ideas! Everyone in attendance got a free pack! (I still say “Paul Walker’s Wild Ride” card shouldn’t have been omitted.) There was a lot to report for just 16 hours of PAX.

Saturday

Waking up was a little rough due to the fact that I have been walking and standing more than I had in the previous few weeks combined. Ninja and I had the same breakfast wake up regimen: 7-Eleven, Dunkin’ Donuts, and getting to the bus stop by 8:00 AM. Saturdays are the most havoc because everyone attends the convention shows up on that day. We started our Saturday adventure by attending the “Make a Strip” Panel. From what I understand, each year Penny Arcade creates a comic strip that contains inside jokes that only panel-goers will understand. In that very same panel, PAX SOUTH was announced for San Antonio!

After the panel, I decided to surf the show floor. I was able to get a photo op with Meg Turney from SourceFed and watched her coach her team at the Nextlevel booth. The games I really got to enjoy that day were Transistor, Broforce, Brawlhalla and the Vita version of Borderlands 2. At 5:00, we turned in early so we could attend the exclusive Gearbox/2K Community Day Party where there would be free flowing drinks, the company of other gamers, devs, and free food. Ninja and I had an in-depth conversation with one of the people that is working on EVOLVE.  At the we found ourselves going home with “Butt Stallion” mugs and Civ t-shirts as parting gifts. It was a good night.

Sunday

God, I was tired, but that didn’t stop me from getting to the show floor promptly at 8:00 AM. There was a Gearbox panel that we needed to attend! They talked about the games like the new Civ, Tales from Borderlands and Borderland: The Pre-Sequel. After the magic tricks, game footage, and Q&A, they gave out FULL copies of Pre-Sequel! This is why I love Gearbox. They love and fight for their fans. Later we traveled more of the show floor and played Infinite Crisis. Now I am horrible at MOBAs, but I went 6 and 6…not bad. Some of the booths were already packed-up and even some had left. So, we turned called it a day early so we could have a decent meal during our last day in Boston.

—-

Now, I want to conclude in saying that this convention was amazing. PAX was more about treating the fans than getting the big-name games out there. I don’t know how to stress that enough. It was surreal to bump into YouTube stars and industry big names that were walking amongst the crowd. It was also a unique experience to see all of the tournaments that were shown and watch them like a sporting event.

I would love to thank the ThinkGeek booth and Erin for helping me out so much with their stellar customer service. I had an issue with my Skyhook and he made the best out of the situation.

I am now a fan of PAX and will try to attend each Con every year from here on out!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.