Daily Illuminator

September 16, 2009: PAX Report

While I'm working on a full report for the staff, I thought I'd share a few impressions of the Penny Arcade Expo here. This was my first year, so "overwhelmed" was an expression I used more than occasionally during my experience, but I've managed to sort out my recollections (mostly).

  • The Enforcers. These guys and gals were simply the most professional yet fun group of convention infrastructure I've ever encountered. They knew when to flex the rules, when to break them, and when to stick to their guns. Saying "I was impressed" is such an understatement. Thank you, one and all!
  • The Events. I spent most of my waking hours playing The Stars Are Right or Revolution!, but I did get to see a couple of panels, which all had excellent sound amplification. I also got to see the Friday night concert -- Anamanaguchi was good, Metroid Metal was awesome, and MC Frontalot made me glad I was up at 2am (not an easy feat!).
  • The Exhibit Hall. SJ got to play the new Starcraft, which made him happy. I got to see the new Left 4 Dead and Ratchet and Clank, which made me happy. Next year, I'm making more time to play more digital games.
  • The Tabletop Gaming. The lending library had, what? A thousand titles?  And the TT area covered about ten thousand square feet of meeting rooms, plus the tables set up in the hallways. Obviously, this is where I spent the majority of my time, but I wasn't alone. The games started before 10am, and continued well after midnight. On Saturday night, I did a head count of which games were being played circa 11:30pm. Over 80 games -- roleplaying, card, and board -- were out of their boxes and entertaining groups of my fellow nerds. Munchkin was very well represented, as was the evergreen favorite, Deluxe Illuminati.
  • Everything Else. It is blatantly unfair to lump the freeplay areas -- console, handheld, Rock Band, computer -- in with the costumes, Bandland, and all the other things and people that made PAX fantastic for so many attendees. My excuse: Overwhelm-itude. There was just too much cool stuff going on for this first-timer to see/do everything.

PAX was a fantastic show, and I'm looking forward very much to next year. I'm even more looking forward to the inaugural East Coast show next March in Boston.

Hope to see you there!

-- Paul Chapman

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