Just as Christians and Jews have Jerusalem and Muslims have Mecca, gamers have PAX. This will be my first trip to the holy land of gaming conventions, where gamers can just be gamers. My journey will start next week on Thursday morning at 10 AM as I embark on a nine hour long bus ride from Washington DC to Boston, Mass. I will come prepared with my 600 page book on video game history, my Wii for hotel pleasure, and my DS to relive my addiction to Mega Man Battle Network 5 Double Team.
My wife has decided to sit this one out because, bluntly, she is not much of a gamer. My best friend David is coming up from VCU for the festivities. I can’t think of anyone else who I would want to bring on this trip with me. We have shared so much of our lives gaming: past, present, and hopefully future games we will find at PAX. Most importantly, the convention is just not about bringing old friends but meeting some new ones as well. I have plans to meet a fellow blogger Allison of Live to Play
. It brings me great joy that I will be amongst like-minded gamers and people share my passion for gaming. What I look forward to even more are the new people I will encounter on my journey. Too often I find myself inside the house playing games or meeting new people at bars only to figure out that they only play two games (usually Madden and Call of Duty). If there is anywhere in the world where a gamer can meet people who share their interests, it is PAX.
The other pastime I hope to enjoy is bar-hopping. Drinking beer is something I usually enjoy after a hard day at work. I am a bulk buyer for a major grocery store so most of my day involves lifting heavy bags to fill bins. I do some minor desk work which takes about a hour of my day, but mostly it’s lifting, lifting, and more lifting. A nice cold beer always calms my nerves after a long day; my favorite beer to imbibe with dinner is Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Lager. I also greatly enjoy weird beers. Last week I tried 21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell High Watermelon beer which I can only be described as PBR with a watermelon-y aftertaste. A great aspect of hanging out in bars is meeting people in their natural state, relaxed and not in a rush to get from point A to point B. The best aspect is, since PAX is in town, the bars will be crawling with gamers who just want to let loose. To be honest, the beer can, at times, also break the ice sometimes when you’re at a loss for words.
PAX is great for meeting new people, and bar-hopping, but it also has a lot more than that. The other reason why every gamer should go to PAX is the amount of useful information you’ll be getting. David is about to graduate with a degree in computer programming and would really like to break into the video game industry. What better place to learn than PAX? Just look at the list of all the panels
of interest to aspiring game designers.
Personally, I am excited for all the panels about the good that video games are doing. I am especially excited to hear from Jane McGonigal, the keynote speaker, largely because of her book, Reality Book, which examines both the pros and cons of video games. She has actually posted a few rules
to live by which any gamer should follow. Most of them are common sense, but it is helpful to have these rules in written form for the masses to see. Too many times I have seen a younger generation of gamers playing 24/7 online and not playing games enough in a social environment.
What I hope to learn from my short, four day vacation to PAX is that gamers can be just as social as any other group of people. Gamers come from all walks of life. Gamers range from the poor to rich, black to white, female to male, married to single, introverted to extroverted, etc. PAX is a place where game companies are not lurking to burn your wallets, and the people are not there to laugh at your horrible performance at Black Ops. PAX is simply a forum where every gamer has a place, from the casual to the hardcore. I hope to see you in the promised land.
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