When I think back to my time at PAX– particularly it being my first experience, I miss the feeling of being there. It’s difficult to describe that feeling, but the best way I can explain it is the sense of belonging. I feel like I’m in a safe place where I can express my love for games and tech without being judged.
I remember at the age of 6, my aunt bought me my first gaming console: the NES. The first game I owned was a split of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, both of which I played to no end. My parents had to set boundaries how long I spent in front of the television trying to save Princess Peach or getting angry at a dog laughing at my failure. From here, my love for games grew. Every weekend, we’d go down to the US and I’d beg my parents to buy me a handheld game. You know, those LCD ones that were one colour, but I loved every one I had dearly.
I distinctly remember Nintendo having a mall tour where people could compete to win a prize. I took up this challenge at my local mall: I was the youngest and the only girl – and I won. I loved video games. I still do. Nowadays, its become more accepted to embrace your inner geek and I do, unabashedly. I mean, I named this blog after an ultimate weapon in Final Fantasy.
As much as my friends and family have fully embraced me for who I am, there is always that lingering feeling – particularly online that makes me feel less safe sometimes. But at PAX everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is included in the conversation. Everyone is here for the same reason. The love of the game.
I didn’t get to fully experience PAX from the very beginning (I arrived on a Sunday and left Monday night), but the convention center and the streets were buzzing, even on the last days. Thanks to the generosity of my friend Mark, I was able to explore PAX for the final two days.
I read up on all the forums what to do: bring comfortable shoes, be ready to wait 2-3 hours+ in line, bring a water bottle, bring hand sanitizer (good God that came in handy many times!). But nothing could prepare me for it.
While the Washington State Convention Center is enormous, it still boggles my mind how much space PAX takes up. As we made our way up the escalator to the main exhibition floor, I go past people talking about what games they’re excited to play, past cosplayers that have me in awe of their costuming skills and it is just electric.
Before I even make it into the actual exhibition hall, there are booths outside for games that offer free trial codes, a fun place to take a photo and cool PAX swag. But it’s when I enter the hall that excited and shocked me- large displays for games I’ve heard of – many I have not – and of course, lineups to play them.
There is a huge wall consisting of just keyboards that light up to animate and create characters. Every possible gaming company in both hardware and software are present. All showing off their wares and upcoming products.
There are stations and floors for different games- PC and console games are the most prevalent, but there is a floor for tabletop games, and an entire wing for Dungeon and Dragons fans. You can even register and bring your own PC to face off others online.
Many people are there to check out the latest games, some are there to haul as much swag as they can. And then there is me- Miss wide-eyed noob cake at her first PAX. One of the many reasons I decided to check out PAX this year was because a couple of my favourite Youtubers (Jacksepticeye and Markiplier) were hosting a couple of panels.
Would I go back to PAX next year? I would in a heartbeat. Now that I’ve experienced my first PAX, its time to make a battle plan. I’d definitely go for the entire run, as opposed to the two days- especially since I want to go to the panels and discussions. The full 4 days would give me time to lineup for panels and check out the expo floors.
Speaking of the floors, the way PAX ran is beyond exceptional. I’ve been to many conventions (though not gaming related) and by far PAX tops the list in organization. They are so on top of their game. The enforcers were there to break up any stalls in traffic and to entertain while we waited for a panel. I want to thank them for their work and making PAX such an enjoyable experience.
And now, as you can only imagine being at a convention (especially in the US being a Canadian) almost always means wifi is horrendous. Thankfully the good people at Roam Mobility hooked me up for the weekend so that I could share my experiences online, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Roam Mobility is my choice of staying connected when I travel to the US- I used them on my recent trip to Hawaii and Portland, and of course to Seattle for PAX. There is no other company that can provide great coverage at affordable prices. I always recommend them to everyone I know who are travelling down.
That being said, I’ve teamed up with Roam Mobility to offer a lucky reader a free Roam Mobility USA Travel SIM Card and a 7 Day USA Talk+Text+Data Plan voucher for your next trip down to the states! Check out how to enter below, we will be drawing a winner next week Friday (Oct 21, 2016). To double your chances, check out my Instagram giveaway too!