PAX East 2011, Day 1

So I guess day 1 of PAX is over for me. I’m back in our hotel room, rolling around the idea of prowling the halls to see what late night PAX is like, but while the mind is willing the flesh is weak and the idea of putting my shoes back on…not appealing. 🙂

We didn’t get to do a lot today. We started late because we were watching coverage of the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Then it took longer than expected to get Lola into her DoggieHotel, and then we hit traffic on the way into Boston. We arrived about noon, just when the first panel I wanted to go to was starting (38 Studios showing off their new RPG).

Since it was too late to catch that, we grabbed some lunch at the temporary food court and then headed off to our next panel on dialog in gaming. The panel itself was ok, but I was disappointed that Emily Short didn’t make it. But I was more disappointed with the experience of the panel. The lines were awful last year but the show is in a much bigger venue this year. But it seems a much larger number of people came, and the lines, or at least that line, was awful once again. It isn’t the duration of them that bugs me, it’s the way they cram you together while you wait. They want the lines as compact as possible so they’re constantly urging you to move forward, and they stack the lines side by side. So I’m standing there with my nose in the hair of the person in front of me, and if the guy behind me gets an erection he’s going to have to buy me dinner, and I’m rubbing shoulders with the people on either side. It’s hot and claustrophobic and terribly uncomfortable and you’re gonna be standing like that for 30-60 minutes.

Last year, before they got the system dialed in, they’d just let you stand in line. People would just sit on the floor and play cards or video games or chat and it was fine. Towards the end of PAX East 10 they got the cramming system perfected and they rolled it out on day 1 of PAX East 11. Boo! I say!

We’d planned to go to another couple of panels today but I just couldn’t face that experience again. Instead we finished checking in (the hotel had stored our bags until 3 pm check in time) and got the laptops and stuff set up (internet: $12.95/day for the slow package) and then went for an early dinner in one of the pubs in the hotel (hamburger: $14)

Then we kicked around the exhibit hall for a while. I watched a lot of SW:TOR being played, peered over someone’s shoulders as they messed with a 3DS, snooped around Bethesda’s booth looking for new Skyrim info (nope, but lots of workstations running Brink and Hunted) and loitered around a few smaller or indie dev booths. Orcs Must Die looks real fun, and Slam Bolt Scrappers is pretty as hell but still confuses me.

I didn’t actually play anything. Waiting in line for half an hour to play a game demo for 15 minutes just isn’t me, really. I like to savor my first moments with a game and would rather just watch now and play when I have time to explore at my own speed.

PAX East 2011 Day 1 was feeling a bit melancholy. And then we hit the Rift party that Trion was throwing. Great shindig. Open bar, free buffet, hot apps being passed around by friendly waitstaff. And then we started meeting people. People we’ve only known from twitter & people we didn’t previously know and really should have. And we started talking about the show and the game and this and that and finally it clicked.

PAX isn’t about games. PAX is about gamers.

Now I can’t wait for tomorrow night’s TweetUp. Currently the plan is to meet at 9 pm at The City Bar which is right in the lobby of the Westin Waterfront. The City Bar itself is pretty small but essentially the entire Westin lobby is a bar of sorts, or at least it is this weekend. I don’t think we’ll have any trouble finding a spot to gather, have some drinks and put faces to names. We’re using the hash tag #paxeasttweetup11 or you can just follow me (@pasmith) or @Scopique and we’ll guide you to us.

If you’re at PAX East and have some time tomorrow evening, I hope you can stop by.

2 thoughts on “PAX East 2011, Day 1

  1. Oh thank goodness, it’s not just me. I think there were just too many people, and the layout is, IMO, abysmal. There’s to much blank space on the edges so booths are crammed together. We ranted about this most of the day yesterday, but the overall result was that the exhibition combined with the panel lines being haphazard made day one just meh.

  2. When I hear about all you guys who are in town for the con, I feel like it would be fun to go. Then tales like this remind me that I’d probably hate actually being present at the convention – it’s not like you actually get any unique information since everything ends up on the web anyway. Maybe I should plan a trip to one of these with the express plan of NOT actually attending official con events (only unofficial parties like the Trion and Turbine shindigs).

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