Five Ways to Love at PAX East

PAX East is just a few days away. I, for one, am stoked. It’s just an hour drive away for me, and in my home state, so it couldn’t be more convenient. So many like minded gamers coming to one place for a glorious weekend of gaming overindulgence is a rare treat for the North East. I’m going to love it.

And, seeing as I love PAX East so much (being from the area), I thought I would take this opportunity to give you five “love commandments” for PAX East. You heard me, love commandments. Here they are:

Love Thy Feet

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t spend a lot of time on your feet. You’re about to embark on a three day festival of gaming with lots and lots of walking involved. It’s a really, really good idea to bring comfortable shoes to PAX East. It’s also a good idea to make sure those shoes are broken in. The last thing you want to do before shipping up to Boston is buy some brand new shoes the day before. Take stock around lunch time every day to make sure those tootsies are still able to pull their weight. It may be better to take it easy in the afternoon than suffer their blistered wrath.

Love Thy Time

There are some seriously cool things at PAX. There are games that aren’t available to purchase yet. You can even play some of them, and you probably want to. Actually, a lot of people want to play them. So many people, in fact, that your play time will probably be cut down to 5-10 minutes for the real AAA premium titles. It turns out there are some games you’ve never heard of, too. A lot of them. When you make your plans for what to do at PAX East, consider exposure. Last year there was a 2+ hour wait for a ten minute Aliens: Colonial Marines demo. We all know how well that worked out. You’re going to get just about nothing out of a five minute play session for any game, AAA or not. Even if the game is great, all that will do is leave you desperate for more. Unless you’re insanely sold out for a specific game or franchise, consider a better use of your time. Skirt the edges of the show floor. Not only is there a less oppressive people presence, many of the indie titles are out there. See, the funny thing about small indie titles is that they don’t have a press department - when you pick up a controller and ask questions, the people showing you the game can answer them in as much depth as it takes - because they’re the ones who wrote it. If you want to know what loving the industry really is, these are people that have sacrificed their all to make their love come true.

Remember the show floor is just open for 8 hours a day - Make those 8 hours count.

Love Diversity

PAX is a melting pot. Many of us know PAX as that video game expo, but really, truly, that is just one (albeit major) component. The PAX show floor contains all different forms of gamers - video gamers, board gamers, table top gamers, LARPers, everything! If your lunchtime stock of your feet leaves you needing some comfort, hobble over to the table top section and set down for some exposure to a different form of gaming. If your eyes are hollowed out from sizzle reel after sizzle reel, kick back in the retro arcade to rediscover your youth or find the games your parents played that began an everlasting love that has spilled over (into you, of course).

Look through the panels. A veritable who’s who of video game makers, PR players, journalists, and more have come together in one place to both enjoy the spectacle of PAX and also to contribute to it. Hundreds of years of combined video game industry knowledge are collected in the minds and hearts of the panel presenters, and you owe it to your eyes and ears to take in at least one.

Love Thy Food

You’re at PAX East. In Boston. Boston is yummy. Whether it’s Baked Beans or Boston Creme Pies, Legal Sea Foods or Mike’s Pastries, Faneuil Hall or the North End, there is loads of tremendous food to be had. I know Zach touched on it yesterday, but I’m here to give you the local perspective. Look, the Legal Sea Foods Test Kitchen is less than a mile from the front door of the convention center. The Omni Parker House (where the Boston Creme Pie was invented, supposedly) is less than two. Seattle might have Top Pot Doughnuts and the Alaskan Sourdough Bakery (my favorites when I’m there) but Boston’s got a pantheon of cuisine to satisfy even the most egregious gourmand.

(Also, PAX East runs on Dunkin. Or so they would have you believe. Everywhere.)

Love Thy Neighbor

When you put 70,000 people in one building repeatedly over the course of three days, a lot of things happen. First, people start to smell bad. Don’t be the guy (or girl) in the stories on the way home from the show. Showering isn’t just helpful, it’s mandatory. Second, kill any bacteria that might be on your hands. You’re going to be holding controllers held by thousands of other people. Antibacterial gel is something you can put on a keychain now. Keep some with you! You should still wash the grime off your hands every hour or so but at least the gel will prevent the con crud from going turbo.

With personal hygiene touched on, there are a few other ways you can love your neighbor. Cosplayers dress to be seen, not touched. They may be affable to sidling up for a picture, but keep it there, would ya? It’s pretty likely Samus isn’t looking for a love connection this year. PAX isn’t a dating service, after all. There is no such thing as an “appropriate” squeeze to someone you don’t know.

Speaking of cosplayers, it’s a ton of work. If you see some truly impressive costuming, don’t hold back the (appropriate) compliments! Most costumers love to share the ins and outs on how their cosplay works, or some interesting detail about how much of a pain in the neck it was to detail the gears on their steampunk outfit.

Mostly, Wheaton’s Law applies. Don’t be a [jerk], people.

PAX East always has been an incredible experience, and I’m looking forward to another one this weekend. I hope for your sake you take some of these commandments to heart. Love is in the air, yo.

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Author: Andrew Smith View all posts by

3 Comments on "Five Ways to Love at PAX East"

  1. Marcia Webb March 19, 2013 at 8:27 am -

    Great advice! I usually can’t walk for days after PAX because my legs are killing me! The Legal Sea Foods Test Kitchen was such a treat last year too, I couldn’t remember the name but it is SO on my list now for this year.

  2. Chris Brown March 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm -

    Very good article. If your visiting PAX for your first time, this is a MUST READ piece with great advice.

  3. Bradley Momberger March 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm -

    Love the article, Andrew. I would add that Love Thy Time and Love Thy Food are often in conflict. Since the weekend at PAX just flies by, I tend to regret spending time walking those multi-mile round trips chasing meals. I try to bring my lunch with me and eat on the go (after cleaning my hands thoroughly), then have dinner at a local place. It’s best to leave for dinner before the expo hall closes, because that’s when the flood of people will slam all the local places; and it’s good to know (or be!) someone who knows the local geography, because there are good places to eat where nobody would think to go.