PAX East: And In The End...
It's 6:37pm EDT. The last round of the Omegathon has ended. Gamers, friends and family members pour out of the BCEC slowly, but with smiles upon their faces. Paul and Storm have left the building. Pax East 2011 has come to a close.
I won't lie, my feet hurt,my back aches and my suitcase is overfilled with goodies I purchased at the con this weekend...but I'd do it all over again this weekend if the Penny Arcade folks felt like throwing another bash in Boston that quickly. I got hands on with a few games, mostly the mainstream "big name" titles that most of us in the video game world either anxiously await the release of (Mortal Kombat, L.A. Noire, Gears of War 3, and Portal 2 come to mind quickly) and a few games that probably fall into the land of obscurity for most of us (Jimmie Johnson's: Anything with an Engine) and sat in on a few panels, but for me the great fun of any PAX event is taking in the vast number of interested people (fanatics and non-fanatics alike) the event draws out.
PAX is a gathering spot for table-top, console and pc-gamers where each is as important as the next. Each can buy merchandise to feed their specific need, spend some time with developers learning a bit more about what kind of work really goes into creating their favorite game or story, learn about some new things on the horizon, but most importantly share the experiences IRL - in real-life.
That's right, PAX is one of those events that helps gamers prove to the world that we by-and-large are not the anti-social-basement-dwellers the world would like to believe we are. I saw cosplayers stop to let people take pictures of them, and then happily explain to the person taking the picture who their character was, what game they were from and why they like them so much. I saw many table-top players wander over to the video game side of the expo hall to find out what all the noise was about and more than a few video game players wander over to table-top to check out the wares of some of the vendors - maybe they were curious about how they might use the free pack of Magic the Gathering cards that was in their swag bag, I couldn't say.
What I can say is that I'm glad that PAX East has a home in Boston. I'm glad the event switched venues as the new space can definitely accommodate larger booths, more exhibitors and the throng of people that hit the floor on all three of the sold out days. I'm glad that while we are definitely going through another tough time in the industry, the devotion of the fan-base to gaming has not been negatively affected. (Did I mention there was a sh*t-load of people at PAX East?) I'm glad I was there to experience PAX East 2011, and I'm glad to be on my way home to recover.
We will have some more thoughts and sights and sounds from the show floor throughout the week, and our podcast will be a roundtable that you won't want to miss out on, but until then, goodbye from PAX East 2011!