Heading to PAX this week? Adopt an Avatar!

A tradition spanning two decades

Nope, if James Cameron’s involved, something’s probably wrong.

So, you’re heading to PAX West this weekend? Great! But let’s not forget about all those folks who aren’t so fortunate. Penny Arcade eXposition tickets are a hot commodity, and unfortunately, not everyone who wants to go can get in.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be there in spirit, however. There’s a long tradition of Destructoid community members sharing some of the fun they’ve had at PAX with their friends who couldn’t make it. How, you ask? Well, I was just getting to that.

As you may have inferred from the title of this piece, I’m here to tell you about how you can participate in our unofficial Adopt an Avatar program. I’ve been on both sides, both an adopter and an adoptee, and can attest that it’s a lot of fun either way.

No, not quite.

No, that’s not quite right, either.

So what is PAX avatar adoption? 

A few years ago, Rand. M. Dixon put up a post that explains the concept quite succinctly. Avatar adoption means that people who are attending PAX bring a printout of one of their fellow community members’ avatars around the show with them, and take some photographs to commemorate the event. Once you’re back home, write up a community blog and show everyone how you and your adoptee enjoyed the show. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be silly, it doesn’t have to be well written. You just have to make the commitment and follow through, and I guarantee that the person or persons whose avatars you are adopting will be appreciative. 

Adopting avatars helped me have a point of conversation and break the ice when I was first trying to meet people in this community. It helped me out of my shell a little bit. It’s fair to say I wouldn’t know several of the people I now consider friends if not for this program. If you participate, you’ll probably have more fun at the show, and you’ll get to relive your experience while writing your recap blog, so, y’know, win-win.

Hey, that's me! Back before my voice changed.

Sounds great, how can I get involved?

If you’ll be at PAX this year, share the love with some of your fellow community members. Write a Cblog or a Quickpost letting people know you’re going, and offering to adopt an avatar or two. Or, if you’re not able to attend, let people know that you’re interested in having your avatar adopted in the same way. You could also hook up in the comments down below. You can always use the site’s Direct Messages to coordinate, or even a third-party site like Twitter. Do it soon, though — since the show starts on Friday, people are already on their way to Seattle.

Once you adopt an avatar, it’s your responsibility to show them a good time. Get lots of pictures with them. You could take some photos of your avatar by the various show floor booths, being held by celebrities and Dtoid staff members, or just checking out the various sights, sounds, and, yes, even smells around Seattle.

You mentioned some kind of history?

Tragically, the first instance of an avatar being adopted (when WalkYourPath brought Kauza along) has been subjected to the ravages of time, and none of the pictures are still active. But yeah, this has been a thing all the way back to 2009. There are over 250 posts about avatar adoption on the site, and I’m willing to bet a lot of those links lead to some interesting stories. Oh, and about that subheader? If it works for Mickey Rooney, I think it’s fair to claim it here too.

Well that sounds lovely. Do you have any examples?

I’m so glad you asked. Here are several great examples. I want to stress, your adoption blog doesn’t need to be as elaborate as these. A picture is worth a thousand words, so the more pictures, the better. You no have need write good.

So what should I expect if I’m adopted?

Well, GlaDOS will probably make fun of you. Apart from that, your avatar will be treated to the myriad delights of PAX, and you’ll be able to live vicariously through your adopting benefactor. Just be aware that you’ll be at the mercy of your adoptive parent, and they may not monitor your activities to make sure you don’t wind up in a compromising situation.

Six years later, and I’m still raising a platoon of Squidclouds. Please, talk to your avatars about safety and responsibility.

In all seriousness, your avatar will be in lots of pictures with the folks who did make it to PAX. Like Dixon said, your host’s level of involvement and creativity may vary, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll be represented in one of our group shots, at the very least. If all goes well, your host will follow through and post a blog detailing the trip, and you’ll both get to enjoy a little bit of internet camaraderie.

Once again, avatar adoption is a lot of fun for everyone involved, so I encourage everyone who’s going to get involved. Do it today!

Kevin McClusky
I'm a longtime member of Destructoid, and you may have known me in a prior life as Qalamari. In other words, hi. I've been here a long time. There's a good chance I'm older than you. I write freelance articles for other publications, so you might see my name elsewhere occasionally. Disclosure: I wrote a paid testimonial for the Speedify VPN service in April 2017.