PAX East: Day One from the Eyes of a New Writer
We made it. We finally made it. We, ragtag band of misfits all, have finally arrived at PAX. Not that it was easy, oh no. Let me tell you, my dear friends, we have well and truly suffered for our art. Suffered for you, and for the love of the game.
Keep in mind it was quite a drive to get here. A nineteen hour drive, from Wisconsin to Boston, driven straight through. The weather? Rain. Every. Single. Minute. Unrelenting rain the entire way until the rhythm of the drops beat in our minds like fingers on a wooden table. Rain rain rain rain rain. Give me rabies, I never want to see a drop of water again.
So this morning? Why rain of course, I’m glad you asked.
We got directions to the convention center at the front desk of our hotel. Well, more accurately, we got directions to a convention center. Not the right one, as it turns out. So, after quite a walk (IN THE RAIN), a bit of a cab ride, and one heck of a wait to get our press passes, they finally let us in.
And that, dear reader. That is when the magic started.
If you have never been to a PAX, then I have my work cut out for you, because it is a world unto itself. The people at PAX, they are your people. They are courteous, and outgoing. If you’re in line, someone will want to talk to you about something nerdy. If you stop suddenly and they smack into you, they’ll stop and apologize. This is, straight up, the kindest, politest con I have ever been to. Everyone is much less sharing space, much more sharing culture.
I spent most of the day out on the exhibition floor, lost and grazing amidst the never-ending forest of booths. The exhibition floor towers. This place has its own climate. I have no idea what they do there, but I suspect it involved building very large rockets or something. The ceiling was lost in the mist of distant clouds. It thunders with its own cacophony, a cacophony born of the voice of a thousand screaming games. It’s honestly difficult to hear your thoughts out there. Ubisoft’s Child of Eden clashes with Harmonix’s Dance Central competes with explosions from THQ’s Red Faction. A thousand indie games cry out in brightly-colored summons, “Come play with me! I am so freaking fun.”
Best game so far has got to be Homefront. I struggled to keep the tears at bay as I watched parents gunned down before their own crying child. This game is dark, folks, deeply and unrelentingly, and it is going right for your gut. You will be gripped, folks, you will be wrung, and when at last you collapse, you will lie as if beached, panting and gasping, on the shores of man’s inhumanity to man.
But that was not the highlight of the day, oh no. The highlight of the convention was four simple words, spoken by Jes: “Hey, Tycho’s over there.” When I turned around, gleaming like a golden mangod, his bald head glistening in the light of a thousand harsh fluorescents, there he stood. Jerry Holkins, aka Tycho freaking Brahe of Penny Arcade. And I. I talked to him. It’s a blur, really. I told him I loved his writing in Rainslick, and he thanked me. I was so happy I danced. Somehow my hands found my convention badge, and he was so kind, he even signed it. There, writ in burning sharpie: (CW)TB. I can tell you without embarrassment or reservation, that I giggled like a schoolgirl, and then I freaking danced.
This has maybe been the greatest day of my life.
LOOK WHO CAME: