PAX Prime 2013 was an amazing affair, indeed. Every year I struggle with how to spend my time at the convention, and generally I never end up doing all of what I planned. This time around I wanted to sit in on a handful of industry panels, then only attended two. They were about geek business and web video and were a valuable use of my time! Sadly, I didn't make it to either the Penny Arcade Make-A-Strip panel or the Sunday Q&A. The expo hall truly held too many wonders for me to sacrifice all of that time standing in line.
The A Bit of Geek team all together!
Around the expo hall.
The streets of Seattle lined with PAX banners.
On Saturday Rachel, Zach, and I arrived a few minutes after eleven and the expo was in full swing. We walked into the convention center and I was immediately hailed by a twitter friend, Brad. We met via streetpass at PAX last year, and correspond from time to time. I was very startled when a stranger dressed as Luigi called my name, haha! Right after that we immediately found Tom on the escalators, and right after that I saw Rex and Dabe, two nice fellows that I met at the Enforcer after party last year. I am still amazed at how serendipitously I ended up seeing people that I knew! The three of us chatted with the spooky and talented Kris Straub, and then immediately fell in line to get our photo taken with the King of Red Lions boat! This picture later led to the three of us acquiring snazzy Wind Waker Pajama Link t-shirts!
The giant Pikmin display at the Nintendo booth was really fun!
The only games I hoped to play were A Link Between Worlds and Super Mario 3D World. Fortunately I got to play both, and they were fantastic. A Link Between Worlds looks wonderful, which is to be expected, and the 2D/wall melding thing was far more seamless than the videos made it seem. My only complaint is the fact that the camera is directly above Link's head. It feels like I'm a bird peering down from a tree. I wish the camera was more at an angle. Super Mario 3D World was mayhem evolved, and the cat power up is incredibly fun. I was delighted to see that the game incorporates a "holding" area for items, so if one player grabs multiple cat power ups, for example, the extra ones will go into the holding area for future use. They should have added that sooner! Hopefully epic fights and divorces will now be avoided over someone accidentally (or vindictively) taking all of the items!
Morgan playing Beyond: Two Souls.
I spent time wandering the halls and taking cosplay photos on Sunday, all the while Morgan was in line to play Beyond: Two Souls. I checked in on his progress every twenty to thirty minutes, and ended up watching him play the demo. First things first: it's not my kind of game, but it looks truly amazing! It was a suspenseful, knuckle clenching twenty minutes as he battled cops, exploded helicopters, fended off dogs, jumped, rolled, and generally kicked ass in the newest masterpiece from Quantic Dream. I look forward to watching him play through the whole game, for sure.
For the first time since 2004, I took cosplay photos! Rachel was a good friend and basically harassed and pressured me the whole weekend to take pictures. In her defense, I asked her to! I always chicken out and get nervous and afraid that I'm bothering people, so she encouraged me to be more bold and polite and get the pictures that I wanted. It got easier after I asked the first few people, and finally I was asking people for photos even when I was alone. Achievement Unlocked: Not Being a Wuss!
Reese and Cyrus from Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
The ZoraPrincess Ruto, from Ocarina of Time.
PAX tends to be an absolute dream for geek merch. This year positively destroyed my wallet. I mean, my brain is happy, but woof. The most amazing things are on display at PAX, the kind of merchandise that I only ever see and drool over online. The chance to buy it in person, after thorough inspection, and not having to deal with shipping fees? Yes, please! With Sanshee, FanGamer, the Penny Arcade table, andso many board game displays, I don't know how anyone is expected to control themselves. It's safe to say that I'm set on nerd gear for another year.
PAX exclusive CAH expansions.
Kokiri's Emerald necklace from Sanshee.
I am extremely pleased to say that buttoneering ended up being a huge success! Tom, Rachel, and Zach had no problems dishing out buttons to buttoneers and general interested parties alike! I required extra poking and coercion from Rachel to approach people (again, thank goodness for her!), but ultimately I got all but about seven of my buttons distributed. Rachel, Zach, and Morgan (honorary ABoG member) all ran out of buttons during the meetup on Sunday morning. We ended up with a huge array of buttons each, and not all of us got the same ones. Zach and Rachel found someone with A-MAZING Legend of Zelda buttons that I am very, very jealous of (for instance).There were many people who loved our buttons, and some even picked up on the fact that we were a set! Thus began the clamouring to make sure they got them all : ) It was a truly successful experience, and I can't wait to design new buttons for next year.
The buttons ready to go before PAX.
There are so many reasons to attend PAX: free swag, cool merch, playing not-yet-released-games... But ultimately I love the feeling of it all. I love being surrounded by like-minded individuals, and knowing that I can talk to anyone. I strike up conversations with more strangers during PAX than I do in my regular life all year long. Every attendee is a friend waiting to be spoken to. Every booth attendee knows something about you from the moment you approach. I mean, every booth is tailored to my exact interests. I can walk from a board game room, to an arcade room, to a console gaming room, and something will delight me in each place. I can ask silly questions, I can engage in intense discussions, I can (and have) ask to play a new and challenging game, and receive enthusiasm and support in response. It is a literal haven, and I hope that what I've shared, and what Rachel has shared, and what Tom and Zach will share next week, will bring you closer to our experience. And if you've never attended before, I hope it will encourage you to try and go next year!
If you've attended, what was your favorite part? If you've never attended, what would you most like to do when/if you get to go?
*all images, including those in the header, belong to abitofgeek