Twitch-streamed e-sports tourneys are a favored PAX pastime, each for spectators and pro players (who win fat money prizes).
Courtesy of PAX
Fun reality: I moved to Seattle since of PAX West.
It was August of 2014, and my companion and I had been right here to perform on a documentary about queer geeks. Immediately after spending numerous days interviewing excellent nerds, navigating row following row of enchanting indie games, having lost in game-ephemera discourse more than drinks, and enabling my beard to develop to a Pacific Northwest–appropriate length, the convention had completely framed the city as a spot I belonged.
“What are we performing right here?” I asked when we returned to our West Hollywood apartment. A month later, we flew back to Seattle to hunt for apartments. A month following that, we moved. Thanks, PAX.
What began as a modest Bellevue meet-up of a couple of thousand folks in 2004 has grown into an international fandom phenomenon, drawing cosplayers and gamers and collectors and households and, properly, anybody who likes getting exciting.
But it really is also grow to be A LOT. With tens of thousands of attendees stampeding among panels and concerts and tournaments, it really is quick to get exhausted by it all. Are you coming to game? To cosplay? To network? To find out? To drop to me in the Mario Kart 7 tournament? There is extra to expertise at this con than any one particular individual can possibly procedure, and crafting an optimal expertise seriously depends on what you want to get out of it.
So please, as an individual for whom PAX is an anchor about which my Seattle identity revolves, let me to supply some guidance.
1st, a fast tip: Rooms that start out with “C” are at the Convention Center, rooms beginning with “S” are at the Sheraton, “H” is for Grand Hyatt, “W” is for the Westin, and “R” is for the Regency. I only discovered that this year, which signifies I’ve spent the final 4 years operating about lost like an idiot.
Tip quantity two: Count on to be offline. The convention center will have no cellular or Wi-Fi service, possibly since of the crowds or possibly since its walls appear developed to resemble these of an below-mountain repository for depleted uranium.
And try to remember, some of the ideal PAX stuff is not officially element of PAX at all. Verify out for unique game-themed events, parties, and concerts. (As for me, I will be hosting Dungeons & Drag Queens, a reside comedy show exactly where drag performers improvise their way via a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Come see us at Kremwerk on Wednesday, August 28!)
Also, beware of safety hassles. As of this year, the front doors will be exit-only, so you will will need to seek out the tunnel doors at the back to enter. If it really is something like Emerald City Comic Con, safety will avoid you from crossing Freeway Park and you will have to go on a 10-minute detour about it alternatively. There will be metal detectors at the entrances and substantial bag searches. It is a discomfort in the neck, but we reside in a nation exactly where it really is grow to be typical to have massacres practically every single day, so I guess a lengthy safety line is worth the wait for PAX West not to be the spot you and your buddies die in a hail of bullets.
Now that we have some logistics squared away, it really is time to crack open the panel schedule. Panels are PAX’s fantastic strength: Some are for players (“Streaming as a Hobby or Profession”), other people are extra for sector pros (“The Art and Science of Mystery Game Design and style”), but most are for each (“Historical & Visual Transgender Representation in RPGs”).
Start out your weekend with the panel “Hidden Gems: Discovering the Undiscovered of PAX West” on Friday evening in the Cat Theatre. You could possibly also take into consideration “An Introvert’s Guide to Networking,” “Latinx in Gaming: Creating Neighborhood,” and the “Cosplay Crunch Contest.” That final one particular sounds actually thrilling: Participants will have 45 minutes to make a complete costume utilizing only the supplies and tools supplied, and they can hold something they make. Can we get a bunch of furries to crash this one particular?
On Saturday, I suggest “Queering Up Misconceptions: LGBTQ+ Life in the Game Market,” and if you are feeling bold, “So You Believe You Can Act? Video Game Actors and a Casting Director Will Price Your Overall performance.” I am also intrigued by “Beyond Tolkien: Queer, Non-European Worldbuilding.” And in the evening, I will be on a panel known as “Thirst Unquenched? Attractive Characters for the Rest of Us,” exactly where I will clarify why Hubert is the superior romance choice to Lindhart, even if it can only come about in headcanon.
On Sunday, you’d be a fool to miss “Ask Game Lawyers Something: This Typically Charges Cash!” That panel alone is worth the cost of a badge. Sensitive kinds will most likely delight in “The Psychology of the Final Fantasy Series,” and if you’d like a small nerdery with your geeking, there is “Far more Fi Than Sci: Poor Science in Video Games.”
And oh, what is this? I will be wrapping up the weekend by hosting a panel version of our drag queen/D&D show. It is Sunday at eight p.m. in the Sasquatch Theater. And Monday is Labor Day, so you can keep out late.
Of course, there is extra to PAX than panels. You can get autographs from regional luminary Ellen McLain and Oregon’s Anna Prosser, or enter tournaments to dominate in Beat Saber, Catan, Kirby 64, Splatoon, Exploding Kittens, and Double Dash. (1st come, initially served, so get there early.)
Bring your personal Computer and connect it to the LAN, or use one particular of PAX’s preloaded machines. They also have a game checkout program, each for console and tabletop, if you’d like to attempt a thing new.
And on the subject of games, yes, all the big AAA usual suspects will be present. But skip the lengthy lines to play their jury-rigged demos, and alternatively head for the Indie Megabooth, exactly where you can sample dozens of fascinating games pushing the boundaries of play.
Indie highlights this year involve Wytchwood, exactly where you play a witch gathering components for spells Epic Tavern, a sort of tavern simulator in which you run a quest hub for adventurers and Boomerang Fu, a literal meals fight in which meals pelt every single other with boomerangs. I am also intrigued by Sunless Skies, a gothic horror RPG that seems to function a space train.
Though you are rushing about, never neglect to breathe every single now and then, unwind, step away from the crowd, and calm down. For chill time, appear no additional than the AFK Lounge, a mental-well being oasis amid the hustle and bustle. Or verify out the Handheld Lounge, exactly where you can settle down into a beanbag amongst buddies. And of course there is the Diversity Lounge, exactly where all are welcome, even heterosexuals. Do they even play games?
So there you have some highlights—and we did not even have time to speak about the pin trading, the concerts, the VR demos, and extra. Pace your self and try to remember that you can not do anything. So just give in to the intensity and delight in the sensation of bouncing from one particular delight to the subsequent. With any luck, you will really feel your selection of hometown affirmed and recharged for an additional year.