I hadn’t been to PAX in previous years, generally because I figured I’d usually be too busy with uni work to attend (and if that wasn’t the case, by the time I realised I could attend, all the passes were usually sold out). This year was looking to follow the same trend until a friend on Twitter wound up with a spare 3-day pass a few days before the event and offered it to me for nothing (thanks, Dan!). Thus I hastily threw together a pathetic costume and set off into the city for the convention (I only went on the Saturday and Sunday as I had other commitments on Friday).
The majority of my time was spent wandering around the gaming areas, looking at the indie games on display (it was fun to see what would soon be available on iOS and Steam and making myself a list of games I would buy when they were available) and sitting on the beanbags in the handheld gaming lounge, playing my 3DS.
I did go to a few panels, including one about the diversity of jobs in game development, and one about interactive narrative. Given that my research looks at the use of interactive digital narratives in teaching sign language vocabulary, I could argue that the latter panel was relevant – if only tangentially – to my PhD (and that’s the story I’m sticking to if my supervisors ask why I went to a gaming convention and didn’t do any work this weekend). I felt that some panels were more interesting/valuable than others, though I missed out on a few I think I would have really enjoyed because I got the times wrong.
It was really cool to see everyone’s costumes, some of which had clearly had a lot of work put into them and looked incredibly detailed. There were Assassins:
Hylians (and a sneaky Pokemon):
More Pokemon (apparently there was a whole group of Eeveelutions but I didn’t see any of the others except for Espeon, who escaped before I could get out my iPad to take a photo):
And a variety of others:
There were several stores selling comics, manga and anime products. I went nuts and bought quite a lot of goodies, since I can rarely resist buying Pokemon, Zelda or Sailor Moon-themed junk.
The only real downside of it all was that it was always hot and stuffy in the venue. Not really a surprise considering how many people were crammed into an enclosed space, but since those sort of conditions are almost guaranteed to give me a headache if I’m in there for long enough, I had to keep going outside where it was cooler (and I still ended up with a pretty bad headache by about 3pm on both days I was there).
Overall, I had a lot of fun at PAX. I didn’t get to have a go at PlayStation’s VR because the wait times were ridiculous, but it was fun to play some games on XBox One and PS4, since I don’t own either of those systems.