As usual, I had all sorts of romantic ideas about having a whole series of posts about my adventures at PAX Prime 2014 ready to go as soon as I got back. And as usual, life had totally different plans for me. Some of those plans have been great, like finally jumping into the swing of community management for Cardboard Utopia, while others have not been so great, like the nasty cold/flu I am now battling.
That said, this round up might not be as robust as I would have liked, but I’ll be making a point of sharing the rest of my PAX Prime stories as I remember them. I’ve opted to organize these posts around different aspects of PAX, so this one will focus on the trip down to Seattle, my time on the show floor & the surprising number of pop art shows I found myself at this year. Future posts will focus on cosplay, panels, and of course, games.
Because there weren’t any direct flights to Seattle from Montreal available, I’d actually decided to fly to and from Vancouver so I could also visit with my family and then just take the bus down and back. This was great because I relish any chance I can get to visit them, especially since travelling across the country is usually more expensive for me than it would be to go to Europe. Sigh.
Arriving at the bus station in Vancouver was kind of funny because it was so obvious who was going down to Seattle for PAX and who was just another tourist. My dad even managed to point out who he thought was going, and he didn’t even know what PAX was until I’d told him the night before. The other funny thing was that there are actually three different bus companies with service to Seattle all operating out of the Vancouver bus depot, but the company I’d bought my ticket with doesn’t actually have a counter in the station, you just had to wait out on the street in front of the station and hope that your name is on the list the driver has.
Luckily there weren’t any problems there, and since I’d opted to sit near the back of the bus, it really did feel like I was on the part bus to PAX. The people around me were young, boisterous, and luckily friendly, even sharing their snacks with me. Also, I got to learn a lot more about their friends and their relationships than I had counted on. It was hilarious, and totally reminded me of my friends back in college.
Once we crossed the border and were dropped off in Downtown Seattle, my next mission was to locate Daryl, my host for the week and figure out how to get a temporary sim card to avoid those legendary roaming charges. The first task was a little weird, only because I’d never actually met Daryl before and we’d only exchanged the briefest of emails on Facebook since he was technically a friend of a friend/acquaintance who’d been hooked up due to my travel plans being so last minute and every affordable hotel room in Seattle that wasn’t a billion miles from the convention center being booked.
However, once we did manage to connect I was happily relieved to find that he really was the nicest, most generous dude ever. Like, ever. This man was a life-saver. Also, I promptly fell madly in love with his doggie Doc, eventually even surrendering one of my convention purchases to him because he was just too cute.
As this was my first time attending a PAX convention not exhibiting on the show floor, it meant that I could actually play games and enjoy the surrounding events. It was pretty magical. That said, I didn’t get a chance to talk with as many people as I would normally working in a booth, but I also really enjoyed actually getting a chance to enjoy some of the PAX related activities that I’m usually too pooped from working to enjoy. That said, I still felt like I’d been hit by a truck by the time it was all done, although I’m sure ended up at a full on DANCE CLUB for the first time in like 10 years might have had something to do with that.
Some show floor highlights included feeling like a super star in my Delsin cosplay while touring around the Sony booth (I even got extra free stuff!), accidentally getting into the wrong line at the Alien: Isolation booth and having to play the 3 minute death challenge inside the alien egg instead of the regular demo, and actually getting to chat face to face with some of my favourite game makers.
Another accidental theme that seemed to emerge this year was art. I actually ended up attending three different art shows, all associated in some was with PAX. First up was When We Were Young at The Raygun Lounge, a cafe/gaming space up in Capital Hill. I’d heard about the show from Stasia Burrington’s blog and had actually tried to check it out a day early, but there was nothing on display yet. Whoops. While not exclusively video game themed, there were a variety of pieces based on 80’s cartoons and nostalgia, although not nearly as many as I’d thought there would be. Oh well.
Since that had been kind of a bummer, after dinner and another panel I wandered back up to Capital Hill for the Press Start III: Turbo Mode show at Ltd. Gallery. This show was amazing, and I especially liked the fact that most of the art was also available to buy as much more affordable prints. Sadly, I’d failed to heed Krystelle’s convention advice and didn’t have a poster tube with me, meaning anything print-like I purchased would surely have ended up a crumpled mess by the time I got back to Montreal. Luckily it seems like many of the prints are still available for purchase on the Ltd. Art Gallery website.
Last up was the Fangamer Vs. Attract Mode party which in addition to music and cocktails by The Drunken Moogle, also featured a whole range of limited edition prints available for sale on a make-shift gallery wall. Again, I opted not to buy anything because I couldn’t guarantee it’s safe return home, but I still really enjoyed getting a chance to check out everything on offer.
Be sure to stay tuned for the rest of my PAX Prime recap, including a few more picks of my Delsin cosplay and the details of how my very first panel went down.