I’ve been rather hesitant about posting anything about my first PAX experience. I have been trying to find a nice way to say that it wasn’t really what I expected. It wasn’t horrible by any means, but it wasn’t fantastic either. My overall opinion was likely impacted by everything that happened prior to attending. Plus, I was really disappointed when I meet girls that were paid to dress sexy and flirt with gamers at PAX. In my opinion, it’s cool if girls work at booths dressed in sexy cosplay outfits …but they should play the games that they are promoting. I understand the entertainment world uses what sells …and sex sells. I also enjoy being sexy, but to hear girls complain about being at PAX and how much it sucked because they weren’t gamers, was lame.
If I look back at when I requested time off work it was at least 6 months before tickets even went on sale. I booked the entire week off because I heard such wonderful things about PAX East and I really wanted to experience PAX Prime.
Tickets finally went on sale in May. I was at Disneyland and didn’t get online until there were only Sunday badges left. I was totally gutted. I cried …and then I told myself that I would still be able to go. I was determined to go so I wouldn’t let anything stop me.
I decided to apply for a Media pass. Being a new video game journalist. I figured it was worth a shot. I write about video games, PAX is about video games so it’s a perfect match right?
A few weeks before PAX, I got an email stating that they have increased their requirements for the Media pass, so I would not be accepted. I was denied a Media pass because Epic Gamer Girl wasn’t a “business”. A couple of my friends offered to use their business sites but that meant posting content and creating business cards when I had already done that for Epic Gamer Girl. I figured it was just not my time to go as media for my own site. So I would just apply again next year.
After I shared the news of not being accepted, a friend from Twitter linked me the PAX Prime “Enforcer” application. I had already volunteered at Emerald City Comicon and I was due to volunteer at Geek Girl Con, so I figured that would be my way in.
PAX was not accepting Canadians as “volunteers” because they were compensating their volunteers this year.
I was going to give up. I tried to buy tickets, apply as media, and volunteer. My last chance was to look online and see if anyone was selling tickets. Sure enough they were!! Craigslist had loads of tickets for sale.
At three times the cost.
I couldn’t justify spending more on a ticket and letting someone profit off buying more tickets than they needed. I would never sell tickets for more than they were bought for.
I told the people on craigslist that if they would sell it at cost then I was interested.
A girlfriend on twitter, @PMSLammy, offered to sell me Friday passes at cost. I was totally interested. She had two passes so it was a matter of finding someone to go down to Seattle with. @Firedragon couldn’t get the day off work and @lildustbunnie had school. @th3_jynxxx was moving and Laura wasn’t able to attend. I even asked my new gaming but long time IRL life friend @QueenFaerie but it was too short notice and she couldn’t.
I told PMSLammy that I would get one ticket for sure and I would go down for Friday just to experience PAX.
I sent a shoutout on twitter requesting a 3 day PAX pass at cost. I never expected to find one, but one of my new twitter friends @craigums connected me to a friend of his who was selling a ticket. I got a hold of a 3 day pass and PMSLammy sold the Friday tickets to my friend John.
The pass was sent through the post and alas, I was going to PAX Prime.
Gaming has consumed a large portion of my life, and is really important to me. For most of my gaming life, I was one of those gamers that was content playing games at home, with friends, and people I know in real life. That changed a few years ago while I was studying at UBC. I started playing games online and was introduced to a whole new virtual community of gamers. So with PAX Prime, I was finally able to attend this event where online gamers could connect and explore new & upcoming games.
PAX was so overly appealing to me because it’s a convention highlighting video games. I’ve been to a couple conventions in the past year that highlighted comic books, geek culture, and girls in geek culture. This was my first convention totally dedicated to video games.
Naturally, the most exciting part of PAX Prime was the Video Games!!
The first game I was drawn to is Plants Vs. Zombies Pinball. The booth was full of colour and offered a photo-op with a PVZ backdrop and computer edits. They had the coolest swag (walnut beanie; mini zombie, mushroom, and walnut stuffies; zombie magnets). PLUS loads of individual gaming stations where you could get cozy on in a giant chair and stare into your own screen while playing the newest PVZ creation: Pinball.
For some reason I love these silly little plants and awkward zombies. There’s nothing that I can personally relate to, as “me”. But do you really need that in this game?!
On Thursday night “pre-pax”, I watched my twitter girlfriend, MollyPop, play pinball at The Funhouse for a Rockage event. She was on a roll, as soon as she got a hang of the paddles and following where the little silver ball wanted to fly to!
Plants Vs. Zombies Pinball had all the “pinball” needs -side paddles, ball, maze of areas to collect points, and bonus rounds where you can collect more points. On the PS3 there are 3D zombies that dance around in your bonus modes.
This game was released a week after PAX on both consoles, xbox and playstation3.
Next I found myself wandering through PC Games. I often pride myself on being a console gamer, but the truth is that my PC cannot run wicked new games because it’s a dinosaur.
I went to a familiar looking RTS (Real Time Strategy) game: End of Nations. The crowd around the booth was lining up for something, so the game station was quite empty. I approached one of the exhibitors and asked if I could try the game. He walked me to a free station. When I asked if End of Nations was similar to Rise of Nations, he seemed a bit put off. I thought it was an acceptable question considering that was the last RTS game I played on PC and End of Nations had a similar feel.
End of Nations is more complex with amazing graphics. It also comes with cooler weapons, vehicles, and new combat options. But it’s the same idea: collect resources, build a military, and attack the enemy.
The controls are fairly simple and I can see this game being very addictive. After playing for a few minutes, I signed up for the beta and got some cool swag (a mousepad, t-shirt and cute alien bug stuffy).
There was a huge structure promoting a PC game called Fire Fall. I have never even heard of this game. One if the exhibitors approached me and started talking about the game. He was obviously a player that appreciated everything that Fire Fall had to offer. He offered me an 8 GB USB which contained videos and information on the game.
Fire Fall is an online Mulit-player FPS game. It played like Gears of War and felt like a Halo. Weird combo but it absolutely stunning! I signed up for the beta and decided that I must invest in a new computer! The end of console gaming is near …
Or is it?
…Nah, I honestly believe that the WiiU will offer a whole new gaming experience!
I met up with Kirby from Canadian Online Gamers and he brought 2 of his editors and myself into a media room to play the WiiU. I was able to watch the beautiful WiiU gameplay and also experience what the new tablet controller has to offer.
With the tablet on Super Mario Bros U, you can be the platform creator. You use the touch screen to place new platforms that will help Mario and his buddies reach treasures. Plus you can strategically place platforms to save his life when he’s falling to his death! The tablet is an innovate way to introduce “non-gaming” friends into your world!
Plus, You can play the WiiU games through the tablet while watching tv.
Another game I played on the WiiU was NintendoLand. You use you Mii characters to collect sweet pieces of candy (using the Wii controllers) while running away from 2 mad little men trying to trap and eliminate you (using the Wii tablet).
I can’t wait to get a Wii U and set it up in my gaming room.
Overall, the gaming experience at PAX was fantastic! I want to learn more about table top gaming and mini’s. Next year I will plan my schedule a bit differently and spend the whole time gaming.
PAX is a game convention after all!