I left work in the late afternoon on Thursday to board my flight to Seattle… it wasn’t a direct flight. Since I used frequent flier miles for travel on a holiday weekend, I had a couple of connections. I was off to Chicago, then Phoenix, and finally Seattle. As luck would have it, a storm rolled into the Chicago area right as my flight was to leave, so I was delayed a couple of hours. I missed the last flight from Phoenix to Seattle so had to spend the night and fly out the next morning. I also didn’t have a change of clothes because I checked a big suitcase in order to transport my 360 with me as well as bring swag back from PAX. I finally arrived at my hotel in Seattle at 11:30 on Friday. I ordered room service for a quick lunch so that it could arrive just as I had finished a quick shower and getting on a fresh set of clothes. I was able to get to the convention center just slightly after noon… not too bad considering the circumstances.
I had pre-loaded my desired schedule in a Google calendar and also download a couple different convention apps (Expo Junkie and later upon recommendation of a fellow gamer, theConventionist) and I didn’t have anything immediate to get to, so I checked out the show floor. One of the first folks I ran into was DTJaaaam playing Kinect Dance Central (don’t worry, I wont post the video of you… though you were killing it to Lady Gaga).
Lines were not bad on Friday, so I played several games. I was happy to play Bangai-O HD, I didn’t even know that game was coming out! I really loved the Dreamcast version and was slightly disappointed with the puzzle-like nature of the DS “spirits” version. The games I’m most excited about weren’t really surprises, but I enjoyed seeing them represented; Torchlight 2, Reach, and the next EVE Online expansion.
That reminds me, CCP unveiled a new trailer for EVE at PAX on Friday! The EVE players started gathering around the CCP booth at about 2:30 in anticipation of the 3:00 unveiling. As we huddled around, the small-talk from among pilots was really interesting,
“Where do you live?”
“Oh, me? I live in ‘The North’, in Deklin, how about yourself?”
“I live in a class 4 wormhole right now. But my corporation isn’t big enough to hold it so I’m sure I’ll be moving soon.”
Another player chimes in, “I live in Pure Blind, not far from Deklin. I’m part of the Northern Coalition”.
It was just really fun to see these like-minded EVE pilots discuss their happenings and whereabouts in context of the game without any prompting whatsoever 🙂
That night was the 1up party, and I had a place in line for ScrtAznMann (who was braving the convention with a hurt foot!). We both had a blast, it was fun to see a lot of the personalities and our fellow bloggers there.
I was keeping an eye out for Area 5 guys as well, and was happy when I ran into Cesar at the party that night. (Photo taken by Patrick Klepek)
A nice thing about PAX is that the official schedule doesn’t start until 10:00 AM. So even though I was out until nearly 2:00 AM each night, I was still able to have time for a nice sit-down breakfast. It was a little bit of a walk, but the Dahlia Lounge is my favorite breakfast spot in Seattle. I had the eggs, fried mashed potatoes, and bacon and they make an awesome latte there. It gave me the perfect start each day!
Wednesday night was the official Gamers with Jobs meet-up at Rock Bottom. That was a lot of fun meeting so many guys I had only known from “the internet”. After dinner, a group of us decided to go to the board game free-play area and we checked-out “Battlestar Galactica” (at PAX you can borrow board games to try them out with the exchange of your drivers license) and we played that until the place was closing down. It is a really fun game, I purchased my own copy the very next morning.
On Sunday I made my way through the show floor again, spent time in the console free-play area (a huge room with every console imaginable and just about every game you can think of, available to borrow and play), and made sure there wasn’t anything else I had missed. That night I re-joined the awesome Gamers with Jobs folks for an un-official meet-up at Jonman’s home. There were card & board games, Rock Band, and a live podcast from the kitchen table! Another late night but so worth figuring out the bus schedules and getting out to his place. I really respect the guys at GWJ and we had such a blast!
I have to say, I feel like I experienced PAX much better this year. Most of the fun really starts after the convention schedule, when the exhibit floor is closed down and there are so many parties, concerts, and open opportunities to play board games and “same couch” multi-player games in the free-play areas. I met a lot of great people, and was saddened when it had to come to an end. Although I do have to admit I’m exhausted! I’m not normally a “party ’til 2AM” type of guy!