I've been a gamer since small times. I have a middling collection of retro games and consoles and hope that one day, when I finally own a home, I will have room to display them all in their glory. As of now they are just pounds of pcb, metal, and plastic that I break my back moving every couple of years or so.
I'm pretty proficient in Japanese for a white boy, so if there's anything you need translated I can at least help, or if you want to learn I know some things. I am more than willing to help out in that sphere. (I need the practice!)
I have some sort of nebulous video game concept that's been bubbling in my head for a decade or so, and coding clones of pong, space invaders and donkey kong are about as far as I've gotten on bringing it to fruition.
So I finally experienced PAX. Well, PAX East, anyway.
My bros and I (which includes my gal bros) have wanted to go to a PAX for a long time. However, it tends to fall on the same weekend as Dragon Con, and that's right in my backyard so it's hard for me to justify flying across the country for a convention. Most of my gaming bros are sort of scattered along the north and east, so PAX East seemed like a great opportunity to meet up at a PAX, finally!
We had a great time in Boston! Despite the cold, the bars were within walking distance and plentiful, Captain Morgan showed up (it's like booze santa!) and gave us rum swag, and Bukowskis was the home base for quite a lot of our after hours shenanigans. Big ups to Boston! It's a great town, and every time I visit I have a good if bewildering time.
We had a great time at PAX too, but as always with a convention, I feel like I didn't get to do everything I wanted. I go to Dragon Con every year, so I mean, I'm used to not being able to do everything, but I'm not sure if it was the venue or the fact that it was my first PAX, or all the soul-crushing lines or what. I know definitely that part of it was that my friends that I don't get to see very often were experiencing their first convention EVER, so I did what they wanted to a lot of the time. I know you can split up the party, but I've played a lot of D&D, so that idea makes me uncomfortable.
Great things at PAX East:
Indie developers came out in FORCE.
The also-rans really ran away with the ball. I mean, I took a second look at a lot of games I've overlooked, and I got to talk with a lot of people about my game ideas and some coding tips and so forth. I kind of wish I suffered through lines (or got up early enough) for the developer panels. That's totally on me though.
Classic gaming... anything.
Even when there wasn't always time to put my initials up on Sinistar, I loved just walking into the classic arcade and "soaking it up" for a few minutes. It's probably my favorite part of the convention, to the point that I'm considering Classic Gaming Expo. That and classic freeplay took most of my time, honestly. Just meeting up with people over some controllers and playing Mario Kart is what this shit is all about.
The general.. aura?
I'm no hippie, man. Okay, maybe a little. It's like walking into your local gaming store, console coven, or D&D conclave. You just show up and you are home. D*C is the only other convention that's given me that feeling ever, and that's really a good thing, it's hard to capture.
Things I wish I had more time for:
Panels, obviously. I am really line averse, probably because I am spoiled. If there's a long line at D*C, there's like 300 other things to do. Maybe the change in venue will help.
Tournaments. I took one look at the SF tournament, saw it was 8 hours, and looked for other things to do. One of my buddies and some wow guildies tried out the bad company tournies and honestly, we dropped him off and didn't see him the rest of the day, even though they really only got one or two matches in.
Destructoid. Yeah, I had full intentions on at least dropping in on some of the stuff, but my IRL bros were around, it's hard to leave them and it was their first convention. I hope you understand.