Saturday, September 1, 2007

Post PAXum Depression

Okay, it's now time for my post-PAX wrap-up, summary and review.

Short version: It was awesome. We're bringing a group next year.

Long version:

For starters, I'm going to respond to my last post, mostly because I've just eaten a huge breakfast at The Galaxie and I have no creativity right now. But da-amn, what a breakfast.

Item #1: Claustrophobia.

Status: False!

Fully expected it to be wall-to-wall nerds elbowing and kicking and shoving, and this was nowhere near the actual truth. PAX took over four floors of a massive convention center, and had separate rooms for panels, console gaming, tabletop gaming, handheld gaming, a huge expo hall for companies to advertise new stuff and hand out swag, an equally massive PC area (separating the BYOC area from about 400 computers they had donated for public use), and with tonnes of room left over to throw about 1000 person-sized bean bag chairs for sleeping, handheld gaming, free wi-fi use for people bringing laptops, and very few people bumpings-into.

Item #2: Energy.

Status: True. Energy was directly proportional to proximity to Wil Wheaton, and inversely proportional to proximity to Uwe Boll.

This one wasn't really in question, but it was still cool to see people excited about what they were doing or where they were in pretty much every room. And that's a lotta rooms.

Item #3: Swag.

Status: True.

Yes, there was much swag. We had to make room in our closets because of the new shirts we acquired and Natalie's new Halo3 messenger bag.

Okay, the messenger bag and two of the shirts were merch, but let's not split hairs, here.

Item #4: Pictures.

As promised, I took lots of pictures. I also negotiated (read: whined) Natalie into letting me put them on my facebook profile, about 100 in total. Here are samples.

Consider me one of the latest big fans of Wil Wheaton. He gave an amazing keynote speech at the PAX 2007 opening, and was able to sit in the same chair for about half of the weekend, signing autographs, shaking hands and smiling long after I'd have run out of energy. We finally got into line about halfway through the last day of the event, and he was as happy to talk to each of us then as he was when he started. Very nice guy, approachable and personable. Here's hoping he can make it next year.

Here's a picture of a moment I don't think I'll ever forget. A while ago Tycho sang a song called My Belruel which someone posted the audio of on myspace. Natalie heard it days before we went to PAX and loved it. During the first PA Panel where they set up two mics for the gamers in the audience to ask questions, Natalie lined up and asked him to sing it again for the live crowd. He did just that, and there were links for video of it posted on YouTube the next day, like this one. When I heard Tycho start singing it felt like the perfect song to wave a lighter to. I don't have a lighter, so I did the next best thing, which was open my DS and start waving that over my head. Either I had a hand in starting that or the rest of the crowd had the same idea I did, because there was a sea of nerd lighters all waving by the end of the song, iPhones and regular phones and DSes and at least one laptop. Unsurprisingly, the crowd reaction when Tycho finished was really really cool. Fantastic moment, that, and my wife started it.

Item #5: Boobs as currency.

Status: False!

Surprisingly, there were a great deal more women at PAX than I anticipated based on photos of the 2006 event. I think it's cool to see that women are coming out in far greater numbers to events like this, to the point where I hope that it becomes a non-issue for me to see them at future events.

Item #6: B.O.

Status: False! (sic)

Yes, you heard right. There was a fantastic combination of enough room combined with a lobby from a group of people that all wore shirts that said "Real gamers shower." Not counting the concerts where everyone was shoulder to shoulder, it was a decidedly non-B.O.-smelling event. Here's hoping it's not unique to this year...

Item #7: Exhaustion

Status: True.

PAX is a massive event. I contend that at least three people could go, each attend different events every day and never once overlap. Probably 5 or 6. Trying to take in everything is just not do-able, which we learned to the detriment of our feet this year. Next year I plan on signing up for at least one tournament, spending more time in console free play, and just taking things slower in order to appreciate where we are at PAX rather than neurotically checking the schedule every half hour to see if there's something we're missing. It's going to be awesome either way, I'm sure.

For all those interested in attending PAX, here are some things not to miss:

• Cool keynote speeches

• Omegathon. Halo 3 played with $5k and a trip to the Tokyo Game Show at stake, thousands of people in the room watching on big screens, and speakers so loud every explosion was felt as much as heard. Awesome.

• PA Panels. Always good fun there, and the occasional kick in the junk.

• The beanbag chairs. Gotta get your lounge on.

• The swag. I got enough free clothing to pay for my 3-day pass twice over.

Things to bring next year:

• Console controllers and possibly games. People who brought controllers got preference in the console freeplay areas, and didn't have to borrow them from the desk.

• More people. The more people you know or meet, the more fun you have here. I expect a crowd next year. It's also cooler to share cool stuff with people than to gloat about it on a blog.

• DSes. We brought them this year, and it was easily the fastest way to meet other people, as there were always 5 or 6 multiplayer games of some kind going on that you could jump into at any time.

• Ear plugs. Those concerts are very loud.

That's all for now.

1 comment:

sy said...

Depression only man makes unhealthy. So we must come out from it.

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