It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and no it’s not that time of year (even though you would think it was the holiday season looking at how much snow is on the ground right now). It’s time of PAX EAST 2015!
I don’t know if anyone out there in internet-land is going to be attending with me this year, but if you are and (you don’t have a lot of experience with expos and conventions under your belt), then boy do I have the survival guide for you! This will be my fourth PAX East and I have learned a bunch of tips and tricks along the way.
So without further adieu, let’s get this checklist started!
Task 1: Wear Something Awesome
It doesn’t matter if it’s your favorite t-shirt, a kick ass cosplay, or a kilt. Wear something that is awesome, no matter how obscure, someone there will definitely appreciate it and you might even make a new friend!
Task 2: Make Sure Your Handheld is Charged!
My device of the weekend will be my original 3DSXL, I have found waiting in line at PAX East to go by a lot smoother when I am cleaning out my street passes. It helps pass the time and even lets you pass with states and countries you would never have been able to pass before. But don’t keep your head in your device the whole time you are there, otherwise you might miss out on some awesome interactions with like-minded future buddies!
Task 2.5: Bring your charger…
Task 3: BYOB and F and S
Unless you’re made of money, bring a drink/food/snack with you. I will usually buy myself one or two meals while I’m there, but for the most part I will bring my own drink and a bunch of snacks to get me through the weekend. One meal will easily cost you ten to fifteen dollars without any sort of beverage, so just keep that in mind. It ain’t cheap (and not even THAT good).
Task 4: Plan It Out
I go for the whole weekend, so my strategy is to look at the panels and go to the ones that interest me. But in between these panels I can have a couple hours to kill, so I have an attack plan. This will obviously vary from person to person, but my weekend will look like something like this.
Day 1: Walk around the expo hall and see where all the free stuff is, collect said free stuff and enter a few raffles. Watch people play games that aren’t released yet (seeing if waiting in line would be worth it). Hit up the jam room for some R&R.
Day 2: Get in early to wait in a line for a game that you liked during your Day 1 recon. Get more free stuff (if the free stuff from Day 1 was sold out or whatever). Attend more panels, meet up with friends and go to a panel or two that they enjoy (you never know, they might end up introducing you to Cliffy B in a robot costume). This is generally considered my “Panel Day”.
Day 3: GET THERE EARLY TO GO SEE GEARBOX SOFTWARE! Trust me on this one, Sunday is a short day, but you NEED to see Gearbox, they usually give out free stuff, and even if they don’t they are a hilarious and a fantastic company in general. I dream of working there some day (coughs) not that they’re reading this or anything. But like I was saying, Sunday is a short day so I generally use it to go my “victory lap” and get some more free stuff, see if there are any short lines I missed out on on days one and two, and spend the last couple of hours in the handheld lounge recapping my weekend and taking in the final hours of a fantastic weekend.
Task 5: Go With Friends and Have Fun!
The final nugget I have for you is simple, make sure you meet up with friends, whether they be old friends or new ones you just met. If you stick to what you like and never venture outside of that bubble you will not get the most out of your time there. Take a lot of pictures, go to some panels you would normally consider boring, go ahead and play Rock Band in front of everyone enjoying their meals. This is one of the few weekends in Boston where you can hang out with thousands of like-minded people, get a lot of free stuff and learn a thing or two.
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