To read only about the games I played at PAX Prime, go here.
The first day of the event. I had planned to see the “Does Story Matter in Video Games” panel, but I arrived to the Washington State Convention Center around 11AM, and the panel started at 11:30 so I decided not to go since me and my friends parked fairly far away.
Since I had all time now available, I went straight to the Supergiant Games booth to play Transistor.
With the overall success of their previous game, Bastion, the Transistor line was busy. The booth was busy, with people playing the demo or at their merchandise booth. I was in line for at least an hour, and the demo lasted for what felt like 15-20 minutes.
After that, I ended up going around playing random tabletop games and generally being with other people. Meeting other people is the main reason why I go to PAX. I never met anyone who wasn’t pleasant to talk to.
I ended up getting lunch a bit late, around 2pm. This set in motion one of my favorite things I did this year. I was eating some pho, when I checked twitter. A lot of the tweets were PAX related, especially a tweet from Giant Bomb’s Matt Rorie. He tweeted out that he was going to be in one of the tabletop freeplay rooms (where people can checkout and play tabletop games) for awhile.
I immediately wanted to go meet him, but I knew that I would miss the 4pm panel, “A Byte of Seattle: The Rise of Seattle’s Gaming Industry” because I would end up being in the room with him for the duration of the panel. I’ve been following Rorie for years, so I decided to see him instead. It ended up being the best decision I made that entire event.
I ended up in the room when he was with another person finding seats to play the World of Warcraft trading card game. We ended up staying in that room for some time, when Rorie suggested he would buy us a round of drinks. There was no way I was going to turn down that offer. On our way to the bar and arcade that is Gameworks, we ran into a few other Giant Bomb fans and we all had a drink.
After that, I ended up floating around the event playing more board games and getting into general nonsense for the rest of the night.
I got to PAX much earlier than Friday. I arrived with a friend there around 9:30 AM, so while I got home the night before at a reasonable time, I was a bit groggy, but that comes with the experience.
It was my friend’s first PAX so I gave him the tour of the event. Again, I hit the console freeplay room where I got into a lot of Divekick. Iron Galaxy did have a booth at the event, but I didn’t go to play with their custom buttons till Sunday.
I split from my friend who primarily was there for a Guild War 2 hotel party and the League of Legends North American Regional tournament.
The main attraction (for me) of Saturday was the Giant Bomb Panel. The panel wasn’t until 8, but the line didn’t begin to form till 6:30. So myself along with the same people I drank with yesterday as the good PAX-goers that we are, we lingered in the hotel lobby that the panel was being held until the time came. In retrospect, it was a bad call due to the PAX enforcers (volunteers who help facilitate the various events at PAX) getting quite frustrated at our eagerness. I sincerely apologize, but I had to make sure I got a seat.
Waiting in lines are typically boring. Waiting in the Giant Bomb panel line was pretty fun. Sure, there was times of boredom, but I was in line with like-minded people who came to see the same thing. A few of those people were some of the exhibitors from the Foul Play and Hotline Miami 2 booths. It was surreal really to be waiting in line with game developers.
I sat stage right about four or five rows back. An hour and 18 minutes in, you can see right after me catching one of the Disney Infinity character packs that were thrown out at the panel. A bunch of fun was had, along with questionable activities during it all.
After the panel, I lingered around so I could talk to the guys from Giant Bomb. I wish I could’ve had a conversation other than telling them that I am a huge fan, but I had other engagements that happened right after the panel ended. Saturday for sure was my favorite day of PAX.
Rinse, wash, repeat. That ended up being my MO for PAX. Get there around 9 or 9:30, walk around a bit, meet up with people I met the previous days, go play board games, find something to eat, and repeat. The panel I went to this time was the Cards Against Humanity panel. For those who don’t know, the game is essentially Apples to Apples, but for bad people. Although I wasn’t quite sure earlier in the day whether I was going, one of my PAX buddies was adamant on going because the panel was going to be partly a dedication to Giant Bomb’s Ryan Davis, who passed away earlier in the year. I was glad that I went. It was good to recall all those great memories, and the rest of the panel was enjoyable as well. They take suggestions from the audience of new cards they could add to the game, and tear it up if it’s bad, or enjoy it if it’s good.
If you recall earlier in the year, when passes went on sale, I was only able to get a Monday pass before being able to get the other days. Monday was the day that everyone else had all the other days sold out. Arguably, Monday was the most packed of all of the days.
Which was okay with me since I saw what I wanted to see previously. So again, console freeplay room, hung around the Indie Megabooth, board games and finding food to eat. I ended up leaving early because it was the last day and there wasn’t much else I wanted to do.
PAX Prime 2013 was infinitely more fun than 2012 for me due to being able to go every day. Going four days long was certainly an interesting move, and it allows for more people to get in and be part of it all. But, when you got all four days, the last day ends up being very low-key. If PAX does decide to go another four days, I’ll certainly want to attend every day, but I wouldn’t be to sad if I could only get three. I certainly got what I want from PAX in three days.
I said this last year, PAX Prime has really outgrown the Washington State Convention Center. I had friends who went to both PAX and Sakura Con, and they told me that Sakura Con was very much less crowded than PAX. Getting around wasn’t impossible, but it got to be annoying very quickly.
That being said, other than finding some other venue in the Seattle area (KeyArena or another sports venue?), or expanding out to utilize more hotels for demos and panels, I honestly wouldn’t change it. Just being there alone is great. I never met anyone there who was disrespectful or annoying at all. If I had the means, I would try to go to PAX East in Boston. In the meantime, I had no problem waiting for PAX Prime 2014.