I had the good fortune of going to PAX 2010 this weekend with the bf and some close friends. I had avoided PAX in previous years mostly because I found it seriously intimidating. I was under the impression that it was only one big LAN party and if you weren’t there for playing then you really had no business there. Thankfully, that was not so…and anyway, after 10 minutes there I realized I really wanted to play games too.
–If possible go on Day 1: The swag bag has nice scavenger hunts and gifts that you will miss if you arrive on Day 2 or 3. I only went to Day 1 for about 2 hours but managed to grab a swag bag and scout the area.
–Get there early: You will get a feel of how the busy the day will be and will have more time to mentally prepare for your rounds
–Leave late (specially on Last Day): By the time the convention is done, the people at booths are desperate to give stuff away. I managed to get a decent amount of posters and pins in the last 10 min of the convention just by walking around.
–Go through every booth: Some of the good swag is in booths that have the misfortune of getting a crappy spot.
–Play some games! Any games! : I’m not a hardcore gamer so I watched people playing Halo death matches from the sidelines. However, I managed to dance at the Kinect booth, play Kirby:Epic Yarn (yes, there is finally a game about…YARN), and AION. I also got to watch a few board games and learn about new ones.
-Don’t be afraid to buy something: I saved up some cash to buy cutesy things at the booths. I found a great booth with My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo merch. They werent cheap in any way, but they would have the same price online…plus shipping.
-Take pictures! Your friends will not believe you that you saw Link slay a dragon…unless you have evidence!
-Take public transportation, or stay nearby: Parking in Seattle is a nightmare on any normal day. I really don’t want to think what its like during convention time.
-Chat with some of the booth people: Most of the time they have secret swag for people who actually go there to talk
-RTFM (read the frigging map) : Some of the booths have terrible signs, and you might pass up something great if you don’t read the map first.
-Go to some of the talks: The talks at PAX are excellent both for entertainment and learning more about the gaming industry. I got a chance to learn more about community managers in the gaming world and also got to see Mr. Will Wheaton for while.
-Get a three-day pass if you can afford it: I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I had been there only one day. On the first day I studied the booth areas, the second day i started getting swag, the third day i was mostly playing and getting whatever swag i had missed
–Bring some friends or make new ones! Big conventions can be quite overwhelming in you are by yourself so find some people you can meet up with every once in a while. They’ll tell you about other things they saw and it will make the experience much more rewarding.
And now we wait….for PAX 2011!