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Gamer's Piece: How I learned to enjoy PAX

Senor Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

Video game conventions have never had a presence on the East coast until the yearly Penny Arcade Expo added an East-coast-based event for Boston a few years back. This year in particular was a rousing success, with numerous quality indie games to try out, a ton of free and purchasable gaming merch and an “utilikilt” stand to boot. It is, in short, a dream come true for any fan of video games. But before you go sign up for next year’s event, I learned a few pieces of advice from my very first PAX East a few days ago to help make those three days an absolute blast for years to come.

1.Don’t worry, be friendly. Though the game industry has its fair share of cynicism and trash talk, you can’t find a friendlier atmosphere than in PAX East. Everyone, from the guest speakers to the hardcore gamers, are super nice throughout the whole event. I’ve had lengthy conversations with complete strangers based around a simple question like, “So what was your favorite game you’ve seen today?” So if you go to PAX, expect to almost always be in a good mood.

2.Always have antibacterial at bay.

With the crowds of people getting their hands on all the game controllers, there really should be a Purell stand every ten feet. But sadly, that isn’t the case on the expo floor. Seriously, always carry some hand sanitizer so sickness won’t become inevitable. I cleaned my hands after every game I played and I feel like I just narrowly escaped the flu.

3.Get used to walking/standing.

I was warned beforehand to wear some comfortable shoes, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I carried a pedometer for a few days and figured out that I took enough steps for almost seven whole miles per day. By the time I left on Sunday, I lost three pounds and had a set of very sore feet. Sitting down is a rare luxury at PAX East.

4.Bring your 3DS.

Before I left for PAX, I officially “StreetPassed” with zero people on my 3DS system. And now? My system interacted with 535 of the “Mii” avatars of other players attending the convention. PAX East was a paradise for getting all the puzzle pieces, ghost trials, weapon gems and such from the wireless system connectivity function. The Wi-Fi was spotty there, but all that was needed was the thousands of people carrying their 3DS in “sleep” mode to let those silly Mii hats fly.

5.Bring your own snacks.

It cost nine dollars for a hamburger and $3.50 for a candy bar at the PAX East food stands this year.

So yeah, if you want enough pocket change to buy some of the awesome Super Mario t-shirts or import Japanese games, always have water bottles and trail mix in your “swag bag.”

So if you intend to go to PAX East for next year, just follow those five easy steps and it’ll be a weekend you’ll never forget. Even if the lines for the big upcoming games and panels are insane. 

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