September 9, 2010: PAX Prime After-Action Report
The real report is going to take some reflection and research; PAX Prime is a big show, and it deserves a big report. This, however, is an off-the-cuff impression of the event.
Really, that's all that needs to be said. Of course, if you'd like a few more details, here's what we consider the highlights.
- Lots of demos. We had a huge area, and it was filled with nearly two dozen groups playing the dice games (first we'd play Zombie Dice, then we'd switch to Cthulhu Dice, then a couple new people would join and want to see Zombie Dice again . . . it was a cycle that ran for hours at a time!), Revolution! (with and without The Palace), Munchkin (all flavors), and Chez Cthulhu.
- The fans. Sure, we taught many, many groups games that they'd only heard of. But some of the gamers who wandered into our booth were experienced, and eager to share that knowledge with the n00bs. Often, we'd teach a couple, and they'd promptly teach the next group that sat down at the table. It's a fantastic compliment to us when someone not only enjoys a game, but feels that they need to share that love.
- The store. Games and Gizmos acted as our official retail rep again this year, and as usual, they did a great job. Their patter of "Zombie Dice, Cthulhu Dice, and a $20 bill . . . you get two games and change back!" was repeated outside of their area, and we sent people back and forth a lot.
- The Enforcers. In a brilliant display of "there when you need us, invisible when you don't," these volunteers did everything from helping speakers get to their panels on time to organizing the Rock Band freeplay area, from running the lending libraries in the tabletop and console areas to entertaining folks standing in line.
- The MIBs. Our volunteers had a smaller theater of operation than the Enforcers, but they rocked the house no less. From early in the morning to . . . well, the very early morning, the Washington crew proved that pure enthusiasm can compensate for short sleep cycles. They were a great crowd, and I look forward to working with them again next year.
- The exhibit hall. Look, everyone goes to the exhibit hall, and that's the area that gets the most press. Video game publishers spend a ton of resources making cool audio-visual blasts to grab your attention, and they do their jobs well. Personally, Portal 2 is on the "must-buy" list, but I'm liking what I saw of Sonic 4: Episode 1 (dumb name, but it looks exactly like what I want from a Sonic game).
- Seattle. The local restaurants were excellent: I ate some fantastic sushi, and a coconut curry shrimp that I wish I could have brought home with me. The weather defied expectations and only drizzled a little each morning. And the temperatures were perfect for walking around town. I wish every convention town was as accommodating.
If you're a gamer -- and if you're reading the Daily Illuminator, you certainly should be! -- you really should consider attending PAX. The depth of games is sufficient to sate nearly any thirst, and the sense of fellowship, being in a location with thousands of people who enjoy the things you do, is an uplifting experience.
I can't wait for next year. Of course, PAX East is only seven months away . . .
-- Paul Chapman