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Stuff you learned from past PAX's that would serve as good advice for future PAXgoers

SovietMudkipzSovietMudkipz Registered User
edited September 2010 in PAX Archive
These are just my suggestions for how to get the most out of PAX. Feel free to contribute! Keep in mind that these are all just our personal opinions and that you have to decide for yourself what decisions would be best to make to have the most fun.

Concerts

GET GOOD SEATS. Come at least two hours early. Otherwise you'll have a hard time getting a good view of the onstage performance. This probably won't be that much of an issue this year due to the venue change to the Benaroya (yaaaaay seating!), but still, you probably don't want to be stuck with crappy seats that are really far away from the stage and having to watch two blobs that may or may not be Paul & Storm.

Be sure to bring water bottles as well (and possibly snacks?). Last year I got really thirsty during Freezepop's performance and regretted not thinking of bringing water to the show.

Also, keep in kind that although the schedule says the concerts will run until 1AM, in actuality they will probably go on until PAX closes up completely (which is 2AM this year).

That being said, YOU NEED TO SEE PAUL AND STORM. I don't know about the others but they are absolutely phenomenal, I guarantee you will love them. They are better than JoCo. Their performance last year was one of the single best things about PAX09 and I guarantee that you will enjoy them if you take the time to see them. I mean sure you can buy their CDs but they're really one of those acts that are meant to be seen live, and how many chances are you going to get to see them?

Tournaments

TOTALLY MY PERSONAL OPINION HERE PLEASE DON'T THROW STONES AT ME

Don't even bother. Tournaments take up loads of time and let's face it, you're not going to win. On the contrary, you might get kicked out at round one, and then you will have wasted the time to register and prepare for the tournament.

If you do decide to join a team-based tourney, make sure your teammates know what they are doing. Personal friends make ideal teammates, otherwise you might as well just group with a bunch of random dudes and hope for the best.

Expo Hall

From what I've gathered from experience, it seems to me that Saturday morning is the best time to try to play games in the expo hall. People are sleeping in, therefore less lineups. Don't take my word on this as gospel, though!

Since 2008 the massive two-hour line for every game problem has pretty much been curbed although there are a few exceptions (coughcough Left 4 Dead 2 last year). When planning your schedule, be sure to take multiple hours at a time out of your day for the expo hall. Half an hour at a time just won't cut it, you won't see anything. My estimates for the heavy hitters this year are: Zelda Skyward Sword, Dead Space 2, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Fallout New Vegas, Rock Band 3 and Portal 2 (lines at Valve's booth are always massive).

And there's more than just games at the expo hall. It's a great place to buy games/souvenirs. Billy Galaxy and Pink Godzilla are definite highlights. There's also the matter of FREE STUFF! Consider taking some time to go swag hunting (some people last year spent the entire show doing this!)

Console Freeplay

Don't bother with console freeplay until after the expo hall is closed, because otherwise you are wasting time you could be using for playing unreleased games. Try to get a group of people to join in on the fun with you, or try joining other games. Reserve a bug chunk of time for console freeplay, because it's going to take you at least a half hour for you to get your game. (They will also make you leave something as collateral when you take out controllers and games. Try to be able to hand over something other than your cell phone, because what if someone tries to call you?)

Scheduling

It's probably a good idea to draw up a schedule of what you want to see and do at PAX beforehand so that you don't have to waste time sorting that out when you actually get to the convention. But keep in mind, YOU ARE GOING TO CHANGE IT. There is no way you could possibly see and do everything at PAX. On the contrary , some panels are scheduled at exactly the same time as other panels!

Don't cram every space of your schedule with panels. You want to take some time out to eat or just chill, or maybe just casually peruse the convention. It sucks having to run from one end of the convention centre to the other every hour after a panel (I've been there).

Panels

Only take time for the heavy-hitters, the hotspot panels that every wants to see or those ones involving your favourite game industry celebrity. Those are the panels that you are going to remember five years from now. You don't want to wait to get into one of the smaller panels and then end up regretting you took the time to even get in. Go big or go home.

SovietMudkipz on
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  • akjakakjak Spooky GymRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Panels

    Only take time for the heavy-hitters, the hotspot panels that every wants to see or those ones involving your favourite game industry celebrity. Those are the panels that you are going to remember five years from now. You don't want to wait to get into one of the smaller panels and then end up regretting you took the time to even get in. Go big or go home.

    I don't agree with this, AT ALL.

    Attend anything that looks interesting to you. Just because a panel doesn't have some [Wil Wheaton] doesn't mean it won't be entertaining, or you won't learn something.

    In fact, by going to some of the less "popular" panels, you'll spend a lot less time in line, and more time seeing and playing stuff.

    YMMV

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  • mavrick88mavrick88 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    When it comes to lines, BRING A DS OR PSP!!!!. It will save your life when standing in line. Last year during the first day line it will help kill a ton of time. Also last year, Met some awesome people through the the DS while waiting for the roosterteeth panel.

    I was driving some out-of-towner friends around, and I kept complaining about being blinded. They responded with "You see, where we come from, people tend to wear Sunglasses." I retorted with a simple "You people tend to have sun."
  • grifta67grifta67 SF, CARegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I have a good number of lessons learned since last year was my first (of many!). And keep in mind, with all posts in this thread, it will be different for you! Don't follow most of our word as gospel, just mull it over and use it to help plan your weekend.

    Like Maverick88 said, bring your handhelds! Waiting in lines is much more fun when everyone has a DS. It's the first time I've actually used Pictochat and when it would work, it was a blast! Any games that have download mode are great too since anyone can connect and play even if they don't own it too.

    Bring chargers for every device you have. I had to walk around the handheld area with a sign pleading for a charger last year. I felt silly.

    I cringe at ruining this apparent secret, but it's for the good of you fellow gamers: There's more places in the convention center to get food than Subway.

    Don't waste two hours waiting in line to play one single game. Sure it would have been neat to play LFD2 last year, but I saw those 2 hours waiting in line as time I could fit probably 3 or 4 other games in. Just keep in mind how much other stuff you can do instead of waiting in line. I'd rather use the expo hall to find and try out games I might not have otherwise tried. I *know* I'm gonna buy Zelda, do I really want to waste 2 hours to play it for 10 minutes? I'm actually not sure, I might break my own rule for this one but I'm gonna think long and hard about it.

    Make some time to play at least one tabletop game. I love all games and I'm bummed that I didn't really get to play any tabletop or card games last year. Part of it was running out of time and part was just being too shy to ask random people to join in their game. If you primarily play video games, take this opportunity to give some of these "physical space" games a try, I bet you'll love them!

    If capacity at this new main theater is the same, don't fret too much about getting those concert wristbands. Both nights last year I was able to walk right into the show and get pretty dang close to the stage.

    Now the PA panels, they do fill to capacity so be sure to get there in enough time.

    Give some lesser games a chance on Sunday. I was walking around, trying to figure out what I hadn't seen yet or if I missed anything I wanted to try. I had skipped over the Disney booth, cuz, well it was Disney. I made the mistake of writing it off as something lame. Wrong. They had demos of Split-Second and it was one of the more fun discoveries of the weekend.

    That's all I can think of right now. Most of all, have a f'n blast!!

    -Sean

    Prime '09, '10, '11, '12, '13
  • AverageToasterAverageToaster Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    IMO

    Friends
    Go with them to PAX, makes the experience 10 times better, no offence to some attendees but a good portion of you are strange people.

    Concerts
    Skip them, if you dont already know of them theres generally a reason, just go home and rest up for the next day.

    Lines
    If you are going with friends you probably dont need a handheld, generally the lines arnt that long, if you cant keep a conversation for that long with your friends, I dont know what to tell you.

    Food
    Dont bother with subway the mall nearby has much more and better food with a shorter line

    Floor
    Last year i went to every booth following all my other rules, and still had plenty of time to come back to my favorites many times over.

  • EvilEvincarEvilEvincar Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    My thoughts:

    General:
    Bring a bag to put stuff in. I don't get a sense that people will outright steal, but it's still good to have a regular place to put your things in just so then you don't a) misplace and start to panic, or b) drop something and start to panic (Had the latter at Sakuracon in dropping my DS. Luckily someone found it and dropped it off at the lost & found)
    Bring drinks and snacks. Having something to eat is especially good since the lines to any given food vendor or restaurant will be pretty long.
    As stated before, DS and/or PSP will help with the lines. I also bring along a few decks of Magic and WoW, but that's a bit more optional.
    Have some camera or another. It can just be the one you have on your cellphone. Trust me, you'll want to take pictures (see last year's TMNT van)

    Expo Hall
    Explore on Friday Morning (or just the morning for those with single-day passes). Looking at the map is fine and all, but I've found you can't get a sense of prioritizing without seeing it firsthand.
    Remember that bag? I don't care how gung-ho you are about swag, you'll grab a few freebees.
    Give time to wait in line. Those games with long lines have them for a reason. But again, prioritize; don't go for something you're not entirely interested in.
    Bring some money. While you can go the entire expo without spending a dime towards stuff, you just might want to. Plus, Bandland will have special guests signing the things you just bought.

    PC/Console Freeplay
    They may have lines too. While OP notes the Expo maybe more worth your time during hours, that's up to you. Just peek inside and see how long they are, because it can vary greatly.
    Don't be afraid to checkout multiple controllers. If you have a fun multiplayer game but you're alone, people will notice the empty slot. It's not a bad way to meet people. Just remember the equipment is still your responsibility.

    Panels
    Highlight your priorities on the schedule. If isn't "must see" for you," highlight with a maybe (more on this below).
    Again, leave time for the lines. A general rule is somewhere between 30min to a full hour. The most popular ones even longer, especially if you want a good seat.
    Leave some time open. Maybe it's for lunch, or for the Expo Hall, or just what-ever you feel like (like that "maybe" panel you highlighted). It's best not to over-schedule yourself.

    Tournaments:
    I tend to agree with OP's opinion on this, with a few modifications. If you're very familiar with that specific game's tournament scene, and won or highly placed in these tournaments, then it's fine to go for it. Presuming you're fine with missing all the events that take place during it.
    This year they're putting down a few mini-tournaments, ones purposely designed to be shorter. If it fits your schedule, and trust yourself that you won't be mauled, then go to those. These may just be a fun compromise for those not a 100% hardcore with that game (though that's the guy who's going to win anyway).

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  • TrainwreckXTrainwreckX Registered User
    edited August 2010
    I tend to agree on tournaments. I've played in so many, from tabletop and console, to pc and handheld. I've actually placed a couple of times, enough to get tickets. the prizes aren't amazing unless you get first place in a very large tournament. If you get 3rd place in some fringe tabletop tourney, you might be able to get an Xbox game that you already have.

    And considering there are people who come all over for PAX, you better be really damn good at the game, or you won't win, and will probably lose in the first two rounds.

  • WingedillidanWingedillidan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I disagree on everything mentioned about the concerts so far...

    That being said, YOU NEED TO SEE PAUL AND STORM. I don't know about the others but they are absolutely phenomenal, I guarantee you will love them. They are better than JoCo. Their performance last year was one of the single best things about PAX09 and I guarantee that you will enjoy them if you take the time to see them. I mean sure you can buy their CDs but they're really one of those acts that are meant to be seen live, and how many chances are you going to get to see them?

    This is totally 100% opinion based and shouldn't be communicated as facts, many people like everyone playing at PAX and some like only a few or just one. I like seeing Anamanaguchi, Paul & Storm, and JoCo, but that's not what everyone else in the world would like.

    Concerts
    Skip them, if you dont already know of them theres generally a reason, just go home and rest up for the next day.l

    But they're half the fun of PAX :(. Even if you don't know them, at least goto some! More popularity seems to rest on Saturday; but that doesn't mean you shouldn't see Friday's as well.

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
  • SovietMudkipzSovietMudkipz Registered User
    edited August 2010
    akjak wrote: »
    Panels

    Only take time for the heavy-hitters, the hotspot panels that every wants to see or those ones involving your favourite game industry celebrity. Those are the panels that you are going to remember five years from now. You don't want to wait to get into one of the smaller panels and then end up regretting you took the time to even get in. Go big or go home.

    I don't agree with this, AT ALL.

    Attend anything that looks interesting to you. Just because a panel doesn't have some [Wil Wheaton] doesn't mean it won't be entertaining, or you won't learn something.

    In fact, by going to some of the less "popular" panels, you'll spend a lot less time in line, and more time seeing and playing stuff.

    YMMV
    Need I remind you of this? http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=100077&highlight=videogames+worst+panel
    Why waste time attending a panel you might not enjoy when you can attend one you will enjoy guaranteed?

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  • MarySueMarySue Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Because no two panels are ever the same?

    Because even if the panel has the same lineup of people, they may have read the thread and made changes based on feedback?

    Actually, you can go ahead and skip all the 'not big name' panels. I'm not really interested in them*, and if you're not there, well, that frees up a seat for me.

    *Wheaton isn't a big name, he's a deity amongst nerds. I'll be going to that one to worship. Right after I attend Vigil Mass at St. James'. It's funny how that scheduling works out.

    Portland, Oregon, and sloe gin fizz. If that ain't love, then tell me what is.
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  • spydeyspydey Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Comfortable Shoes FTW

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  • MarsCheliosMarsChelios Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    spydey wrote: »
    Comfortable Shoes FTW

    Best advice thus far. If you're not used to walking all-day everywhere get some gel insoles, they will be your best friend before the weekends over.

  • GundabadGundabad Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    IMO
    Friends
    Go with them to PAX, makes the experience 10 times better, no offence to some attendees but a good portion of you are strange people.

    If you are strange, don't be afraid to go to PAX alone. Make friends with other strange people after you get there. Now you are there with friends.
    Concerts
    Skip them, if you dont already know of them theres generally a reason, just go home and rest up for the next day.
    Look up some of the acts, get a few songs from each, and listen to them over the next 10 days. Just because you haven't already heard of them doesn't mean they suck. I had never listened to any of the musical acts prior to PAX East, and now Anamanaguchi, MC Frontalot, and Jonathan Coulton are some of my favorite bands.
    Lines
    If you are going with friends you probably dont need a handheld, generally the lines arnt that long, if you cant keep a conversation for that long with your friends, I dont know what to tell you.
    I am friends with most of my friends because we enjoy the common bond of video games. Have your friends bring their handhelds as well and have some friendly multiplayer competition. Might I suggest Mario Kart or Tetris on the DS?
    Food
    Dont bother with subway the mall nearby has much more and better food with a shorter line
    Ok I don't actually disagree with this one.
    Floor
    Last year i went to every booth following all my other rules, and still had plenty of time to come back to my favorites many times over
    If seeing every single possible thing on the exhibit hall floor is your goal, these aren't horrible rules. Just make sure that's what you want to do. There's a lot of other things to do and see at PAX, so decide for yourself.

  • SovietMudkipzSovietMudkipz Registered User
    edited August 2010
    MarySue wrote: »
    Because no two panels are ever the same?

    Because even if the panel has the same lineup of people, they may have read the thread and made changes based on feedback?

    Actually, you can go ahead and skip all the 'not big name' panels. I'm not really interested in them*, and if you're not there, well, that frees up a seat for me.

    *Wheaton isn't a big name, he's a deity amongst nerds. I'll be going to that one to worship. Right after I attend Vigil Mass at St. James'. It's funny how that scheduling works out.
    That Sex in Videogames panel (from what I've heard) was almost exactly the same in 2008 as it was in 2009.

    What I'm saying is that there's about a 99% chance you'll enjoy something like the keynote or the PA Q&A but a 50% chance you'll enjoy something more obscure.

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  • TeknotronicTeknotronic Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Call me crazy but I don't see the point of this thread. Most of it is purely personal taste and/or opinion and the stuff that isn't has already been covered in the other "PAX Tips" threads.

    If this thread was followed verbatim, there would be nobody participating in any tournaments, and only going to see Paul and Storm in the concerts. That wouldn't make PAX, that would make a very specific PAXish experience suited to that person.

    Do what you want, see what you want, the only thing you really need to do is HAVE FUN. No matter what you choose to do or choose not to do, you are going to have fun.

  • FatherFletchFatherFletch Registered User
    edited August 2010
    I tend to agree on tournaments. I've played in so many, from tabletop and console, to pc and handheld. I've actually placed a couple of times, enough to get tickets. the prizes aren't amazing unless you get first place in a very large tournament. If you get 3rd place in some fringe tabletop tourney, you might be able to get an Xbox game that you already have.

    And considering there are people who come all over for PAX, you better be really damn good at the game, or you won't win, and will probably lose in the first two rounds.

    There are no longer prize tickets. The people who win or place in a tournament get a limited edition PAX medal with the name of the tournament on the back. These are exclusive to each PAX and never sold.

    Tabletop Manager
    Rolling Old School Dice since '04
  • MarySueMarySue Registered User
    edited August 2010
    That Sex in Videogames panel (from what I've heard) was almost exactly the same in 2008 as it was in 2009.

    What I'm saying is that there's about a 99% chance you'll enjoy something like the keynote or the PA Q&A but a 50% chance you'll enjoy something more obscure.

    Actually, considering my sense of humor and gaming history, plus the videos I've seen of past ones, there's about a 20% chance I'll enjoy the keynote or the PA Q&A. So I'm skipping both.

    Just goes to show we're all unique individuals. Until I get my cloning machine working. Stupid UPS--- DELIVER THE PARTS ALREADY!

    Portland, Oregon, and sloe gin fizz. If that ain't love, then tell me what is.
    +++BRONYS BEFORE BROS!+++
  • AverageToasterAverageToaster Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Thanks for when quoting me at least making the IMO stays around, they are just my opinion and they are very likely different the most others, I wouldn't say im similar to most attendees.

    and yes its good to look up the groups first, off the front of the pax page, as of yet there hasten been a since band that has interested me, chip-tunes are nice but I dont feel they are real bands in the sense id go to their concert. if we started to get like MC Lars, MC Chris (I know similar to frontalot) Id be more inclined.

  • MrBartokomousMrBartokomous Registered User
    edited August 2010
    2 year veteran, going on my 3rd. A few quick thoughts/followups on what's been already said.

    Concerts
    Getting good seats isn't super necessary (at least it wasn't - now that it's at Beneroya it'll likely be different). Compared to past concerts I've been to, people at PAX tend to space themselves much more liberally and it's not hard to worm your way up close if you really want to. Paul and Storm are fantastic live, and you definitely plan on seeing them.

    Food
    Don't eat at the conference center. There's plenty of places that are close, and you'll finish quicker and less stressed if you just go to the Subway a block away rather than wait in the gigantic line. Plus, exercise and fresh air!

    Panels
    I'm not certain if Wheaton's panel is worth the wait, because both years I've gone it's required about 3 hours, and I just couldn't rationalize it with all the other things I could be doing at that time. For other panels... I'd just recommend you pick out the ones you think look good, arrive 20-30 minutes early unless you suspect it'll get rammed, and take it from there.

    Expo Hall
    Keep your wits about you and keep moving - other PAXgoers will appreciate it. Your best bet is to dedicate chunks of time here because you will spend much of it waiting if you're planning on trying any of the bigger demos. That said, try out as much stuff as you can - most of the smaller companies have cool products to show off, and you can find yourself chatting with the developers more directly. Chatting one on one with the right people for a few minutes is at least as informative as the panels on game development.

    Tabletop
    Dedicate yourself not just to playing one tabletop game a day, but make an effort to play something you haven't played before and try to play it with strangers if you can. It's a great way to make friends and broaden your horizons, and the source of some of my fondest PAX memories.

    Tournaments
    Unless you're really really good and really really want to win... I'd pass. I like to sample as much of the expo as I can, and dedicating half a day to a tourney isn't my bag.

    General
    Comfy shoes are a must. Leave open time between things to allow for travel and magic happenstance (seriously, this happens every year - you see something/someone cool, drop what you had planned, and end up spending an hour or two doing cool stuff with cool people)

  • Gene ParmesanGene Parmesan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Get involved with the community, sign up for DnD and other tourneys/campaigns/things before they fill up, chat up with people, attend the hotel parties and if your desperate for an hour of shuteye the bean bag chairs do nicely.

    Go to whatever panel you want, but you might not want to go to more than 5 or 6. Take the time of the panel and add the time in line, 1-2 hours.

    At PAX east space wasn't limited at concerts, so it might not be worth it to wait in line. Just do whatever and show up when your favorite people show up. (I might be off about this for Prime though)

    Bring at least 100 for food.

    Wear comfy shoes and take a bag with you.

    Shower, for gods sake and use the purell standees.

    Try to get at least 5 hours of sleep a night.

    Say Hi to me

  • frobearfrobear Registered User
    edited August 2010
    If there's one thing I regret from the last two years of PAX, it's being afraid to devote time to learning a new game in favor of trying to "see everything PAX has to offer". I've found that I've been disappointed that I missed out on an awesome play experience just because I thought I'd be missing out on some undefined fun elsewhere. I've now decided that, for me, PAX is about having gaming experiences that I otherwise wouldn't have.

    My advice: If you're fairly certain you'll enjoy the company of some people playing a game you're interested in but have never played, and you don't have something else in particular that you want to be doing, take the plunge. You'll be spending that time, not wasting it.

    Specific goals for this year:

    1. finally play a round of Arkham Horror
    2. "discover" a new, simple party game to introduce to "non-gaming" friends.

  • MrBartokomousMrBartokomous Registered User
    edited August 2010
    frobear wrote: »

    Specific goals for this year:

    1. finally play a round of Arkham Horror
    2. "discover" a new, simple party game to introduce to "non-gaming" friends.

    Arkham Horror's fantastic. I'll definitely be running/teaching a round of it at some point over the weekend if you're interested.

  • frobearfrobear Registered User
    edited August 2010
    frobear wrote: »

    Specific goals for this year:

    1. finally play a round of Arkham Horror
    2. "discover" a new, simple party game to introduce to "non-gaming" friends.

    Arkham Horror's fantastic. I'll definitely be running/teaching a round of it at some point over the weekend if you're interested.

    Sounds awesome. I'll PM you my digits, give me a little lead time and I'll have three players for you.

    See, kids? It's really that easy!



    OH AND another bit of advice in the same vein as my earlier comment -- if you've got a simple, fun, easy-to-pack (like card-based), and/or a little bit obscure game, bring it for the lines. A buddy of mine brought a card game called "kung-fu fighting!" with him last year that took less than a minute to learn, and we played more of that than anything else. You'll be able to make fast friends with strangers and introduce them to something they may never have seen otherwise.

  • LigerLiger Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The best advice I can give for PAX is this: Don't take advice from anyone else on what the "coolest" or "most memorable" thing is to see.

    YOU make your own memories. YOU choose what's coolest to you. If someone says X is the best concert performer to see but you don't really like X's style of music, maybe you'll like Y better. Don't skip Y because someone else tells you to like X.

    Take a look at the show book when you get your hands on it and decide what sounds best to you, and hit those spots up. If you stick to someone else's itinerary the entire time you may wind up disappointed. This goes for spouses too. Spend some time apart if you each want to see something different.

    Make the absolute most out of the show. There is no "best" part of PAX. It's all awesome for all the right (and different) reasons.

    For some real, practical advice:

    Bring a pocket-sized or handheld game of some type.
    Bring a notepad and a pen/sharpie.
    Bring CASH.
    Obey Wheaton's Law
    Give cookies to the Enforcers (not necessary, but they work hard for you guys <3)
    Be excellent to each other

    5932306549_6b4d957b56.jpg CUSTOM LANYARDS FOR PAX
  • Gene ParmesanGene Parmesan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Arkham Horror's fantastic. I'll definitely be running/teaching a round of it at some point over the weekend if you're interested.

    Very interested here as well. Only played one game that got bailed on 40 minutes in, wanna know what all the fuss is about.

  • KaitouAyashiKaitouAyashi Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    +1 to everything Liger said, and not just because she's awesomesauce in a can. <3

    My list of practical advice:

    1. Accept that there's no way you'll be able to do, see, or experience everything. It's impossible. There's simply too much awesome at PAX at any given moment. This will be my 4th PAX and I have yet to see a full act or concert, hang out in TableTop, or demo anything in the Expo Hall for more than 15min. I was busy doing other awesome things instead.

    2. Plan. Prioritize. Then be prepared to throw it all out the window. Some of the best times I had in PAXs past were when accidentally found something even better than what I'd planned on doing because I was open to possibilities and not married to a specific schedule. Example: Accidentally found an impromptu Legend of Neil panel/screening then chatted with Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo from The Guild) and his brother for a while. Totally unexpected, completely awesome.

    3. Hydrate. Have water at all times, in addition to small snacks.
    4. Be judicious with swag. What you pick up, you have to carry around and keep track of.
    5. Try to have at least one real meal (cooked) per day at PAX. I know that sounds crazy, but it's *very* easy to snack and graze on junk all weekend and compromise your immune system.

    [15:02] BigRed-Worky: i will nom all of your boxes
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  • GundabadGundabad Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I agree with the above post a lot. In the past, I picked 2 "must do" things each day and then just played it by ear. At PAX East I wound up discovering a lot of cool stuff in classic console freeplay when I had some unplanned time. I joined in a quick Perfect Dark tournament, and was able to watch an impromptu challenge of two expert Mega Man 2 players do a speedrun race on side-by-side consoles.

    The meal suggestion is great as well. Wake up a half hour early, have a huge hearty breakfast so that you don't have to have a big lunch. You can get a quick snack or pack lunch in bar form. After having a light lunch, though, make sure you have a full restaurant style-dinner to get some real food back in your system.

  • AprecheApreche Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I have only one piece of advice for PAX-goers.

    Play games.

    More specifically, play multiplayer games with other PAX-goers, especially people you don't know. At least half of your time at PAX should be spent playing games. Tabletop is the best option, but DS, PC, or console is just as well.

    Single player games you can play at home. Even if they are some unreleased games in the expo hall, wait a few months and you'll have your own copy. Your hours at PAX are precious. The one thing that you can't do any other time is play awesome games with awesome people in person. Therefore, if there isn't a main event you want to go to, or a really great panel, don't wander the halls or wait in some line. Just go play a game.

  • ptriz21_teamkillptriz21_teamkill Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    1. Figure out what is are the top 3 boothes you want to see
    2. Show up an hour early, if not an hour and a half.
    3. As soon as the doors open, book it to your favorite booth or boothes. Depending on your choice you'll be one of the first to meet someone, first to buy something, first to play something, first to sign up for a tournament, you get the idea.

    - bring camera
    - stop by each non-panel room and marvel. I stood in awe at my first sight of all the HDTVs in console freeplay.

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  • ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Yeah, the recommendations on what's cool and what's not aren't really relevant.

    Practical advice (henceforth known as "Liger advice"):

    1) Comfortable shoes. It's been mentioned already, but can't be mentioned enough. Make sure they're broken in a month or two before PAX. Related to comfortable shoes, bring several pairs of extra socks to change into half-way through the day - this makes you feel like you haven't walked at all and can really keep you going. Gold Bond powder or some spray antiperspirant is great for reducing sweat and keeping your feet dry. Bring moleskin for if you start to get blisters, and wear a silk sock outside of your regular socks. You're going to be spending 12+ hours per day on your feet, and most nerds don't do that. It can be rough.

    2) Refillable water bottle. Also mentioned, but can't be mentioned enough. Staying hydrated has tons of benefits that have been explored in detail elsewhere. Drink. Lots. Of. Water.

    3) Don't go crazy with the scheduling. My first year I had my days entirely planned out with panels, concerts, games, tournaments, etc. I don't think I saw any of them. PAX has so much to do with so many awesome people, it's really not practical to stick to a schedule. In my opinion you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't let in the spontaneous, overwhelming nature of PAX. If you have things you really want to see make sure you see them, but don't go crazy. You'll spend more time worrying about what you're missing, rather than enjoying the beautiful chaos that is PAX.

    4) Show up to anything in a theater, main or satellite, at least an hour ahead of time. PAX has now exceeded the Washington State Trade and Convention Center's maximum capacity. It's HUGE. There will be long lines for eeeeeverything, even the most obscure panel in the tiniest satellite theater. You might not spend an hour waiting in line, but come talk to an Enforcer, check in, and see what the wait is like. For anything popular, it's going to be at least an hour. For anything in the Main Theater or involving Wil Wheaton, probably more like two hours. There's nothing we can do about the length of the lines, because PAX is so big, but we are making efforts to keep you guys entertained while you wait throughout PAX this year.

    5) Get involved in the PAX community! This year we've got a Pre-PAX Dinner, a Pre-PAX fried food run, a Magical Mystery sightseeing tour, the Tri-Wizard Drinking Tournament, buttoneering, the cookie brigade, challenge coins, a girls-only meetup, the PAX Forums Pokemon League, the Post-PAX party, the West Coast Train Trip, the Cross Country Supertrip... we do LOTS of fun stuff, and we're awesome people. Stuff might be full or sold out at this point, but in my personal experience, PAX is SO much better when you get involved. You already know a bunch of people when you get there, so it's like coming home to extended family. PAX is already 50,000+ friends you didn't know you already had, but if you get to know people here on the forums, it's 50,000+ friends plus some family. :D

    Like this, not like the gas station.
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  • journies_endjournies_end Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Arco wrote: »
    5) Get involved in the PAX community! This year we've got a Pre-PAX Dinner, a Pre-PAX fried food run, a Magical Mystery sightseeing tour, the Tri-Wizard Drinking Tournament, buttoneering, the cookie brigade, challenge coins, a girls-only meetup, the PAX Forums Pokemon League, the Post-PAX party, the West Coast Train Trip, the Cross Country Supertrip... we do LOTS of fun stuff, and we're awesome people. Stuff might be full or sold out at this point, but in my personal experience, PAX is SO much better when you get involved. You already know a bunch of people when you get there, so it's like coming home to extended family. PAX is already 50,000+ friends you didn't know you already had, but if you get to know people here on the forums, it's 50,000+ friends plus some family. :D

    Don't Be Shy!
    I can't speak for everyone, but I'm not the most outgoing and social gamer (mainly because after college I had to move 800 miles away, from my hometown, my college buddies, anyone and everyone I ever knew, and got a job where I was the youngest guy there, honestly I have no "buddies" beyond my online contacts). Being in a place like PAX where EVERYONE is a gamer feels so... incredible. You can talk to ANYone about ANY subject of the gamer-verse and they totally know where you're coming from. Everyone is so friendly, and cool, and chill, and just want to have fun, and as long as you share that attitude your newest best bud could be standing in line behind you at the panel queue or game demo. Open up, talk to people, be social, maybe even make a new friend or two, or three or twenty!

    Totally pumped for PAX Prime 2010
    Tweet me @journies_end
  • alegriaalegria Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If you plan to wait in line for a long period of time for something (keynote, concert, expo hall, panel, whatever), consider your comfort. I packed a small fleece blanket in my bag last year and used it to sit on in the line room, and it was MUCH better than sitting on the bare floor. :)

    A small bag with a bottle of water, a power bar, a piece of fruit, and maybe some advil/vitamins will make you a much happier camper. :)

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  • bfigginsbfiggins Registered User
    edited August 2010
    frobear wrote: »
    OH AND another bit of advice in the same vein as my earlier comment -- if you've got a simple, fun, easy-to-pack (like card-based), and/or a little bit obscure game, bring it for the lines. A buddy of mine brought a card game called "kung-fu fighting!" with him last year that took less than a minute to learn, and we played more of that than anything else. You'll be able to make fast friends with strangers and introduce them to something they may never have seen otherwise.

    The guy who made that is a friend of mine. I'll bring Slugfest's other stuff - En Garde and Red Dragon Inn will be awesome for the lines.

  • SpawnOfCthulhuSpawnOfCthulhu Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Seriously, comfortable shoes have been mentioned like, 5 times already, but I cannot stress this enough.
    Last year, during the saturday concerts, my feet were so messed up, they were near the edge of bleeding, and they were bruised.
    It was horrible.

    Also, don't be afraid to wait in lines.
    I find it to be the most enjoyable part of PAX, as I can guarantee you that you will make friends no matter where you are waiting.
    Strike up a conversation, talk about the newest Magic set, or how crappy that new triple-A video game is.
    No matter what you talk about, where you do it, and for how long, you will be making friends.

    If you don't like making friends, I'm afraid your princess is in another castle.

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  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence!Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Good shoes, wash your hands, take showers, and try to eat somewhere other than the Subway on the 4th floor. (Come on, Subway isn't even that good and it's overpriced because it's in the convention center.)

    Everything else is up to you!

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  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If you are going to wear chain maille to the concerts wear something lightweight like aluminum.

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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Before you leave wherever you live for PAX, go to your local FedEx/UPS/Post Office/Whatever and buy a tube big enough to keep posters in. There will not be any in Seattle, as everyone will realize they should buy a poster tube as soon as they hit the expo hall.

    You'll thank me later, and you're welcome.

    camo_sig2.png
  • adesteradester Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    Before you leave wherever you live for PAX, go to your local FedEx/UPS/Post Office/Whatever and buy a tube big enough to keep posters in. There will not be any in Seattle, as everyone will realize they should buy a poster tube as soon as they hit the expo hall.

    You'll thank me later, and you're welcome.

    Thank has to be some of the best advice I'm grabbed for myself so far.
    Never thought of that.

  • WhirlspellWhirlspell Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Most of my advice has already been said in one for or another, but here it is nonetheless:

    1. Be clean, be nice. PAX is the single best and friendliest community I have ever had the pleasure of involving myself in. I'm not too active on the forums, but as this is my third PAX, I've come to know one thing above all else: PAXers are good people. Seriously, 99% of people you will run into at PAX are going to be super cool, friendly, and helpful. Don't be afraid to ask someone a random question (Where'd you get that shirt? Do you play Magic? What's the best swag you've found?) and don't be afraid to ask them to game with you! Please treat your fellow gamers will respect and keep the cycle going! Also, be clean. This means keeping vulgarity in check when around kids (yes, there are kids at PAX with cool gamer parents!), showering, doing your part to keep germs in check by using the hand sanitizer stations, etc. Some nerds are tiny, some nerds are huge; some nerds don't know how to dress themselves in the morning, and some nerds are geek chic fashionistas. That's just the way PAX is! :) You'll see and (hopefully) meet all kinds of people in Seattle next week, and it's important to remember that everyone is there under a common interest. Enjoy it!

    2. Food is best when it's real. Seriously, if you're on an uber tight budge (as I was at my first PAX) you can probably eat at McDonalds (3 blocks away) for the weekend on around $50. However, if you can, I would strongly recommend planning on around $100 or $150 for food. It's okay to eat at the convention center once or twice, but trust me: if you take the time to walk a few blocks to a real restaurant or even just the mall where you have lots of choices and can sit down with friends and take a break... you won't regret it. Also, try to eat around the same time every day! If you eat something quick (banana!) in the morning, then have a good, strong lunch at a decent time, you'll find yourself enjoying PAX much more because you'll FEEL better! I can't speak for everyone, but I get more exercise and sweat more at PAX than I do just about any other time of the year... so remember to take care of yourself and your body will thank you.

    3. Don't stress the scheduling. Yes, it's totally fine to come up with a schedule - but don't stress it! Before you leave, accept that things will change. My first year, I scheduled my time mostly with panels, but as soon as I walked into the expo hall with my jaw on the floor, I mentally scratched off half of those panels. Then when I met a few cool people and saw the free-play rooms, I scratched off a few more. Just understand that there are countless things to do and enjoy at PAX, and not all of them involve listening to a speaker or playing an unreleased game. Those things are great, but so is meeting people from another country and playing a round of Fluxx with them, or finding some Browncoats as hardcore as you are and taking a bus to the Wayward Cafe for lunch with them.

    4. Be prepared; smile more. When you leave for the con center every morning, just run through your day's activities to make sure you're prepared. Last year I forgot my pass at home one morning and it threw my day off. Make sure you've got a bag, chargers, any snacks you want, games, etc. If you're gathering up tons of swag and wondering how you're going to transport it all back home, remember that you can easily just ship a box back and have all your swag delivered to you! It's like Christmas!

    5. Try new things. This has been mentioned a dozen times already... but it's important! :) Try new things. Talk to strangers. Find a weird game in the free-play rooms that makes you laugh and try it out! Whether it's a rare Nintendo game or a super indie card game, just give it a shot! PAX is the one place in the country where stuff like this is possible. Ever wanted to play a round of Steel Battalion? Do it. Ever wanted to play Monty Python Fluxx or Stoner Fluxx? Do it. Been hoping to someday have a change to tell someone at Turbine or Blizzard how their MMO changed your life? Do it, and don't be shy! Last year I got the chance to meet an indie game developer who made a game that honestly touched me emotionally. It was sappy, yeah, but I was glad I was able to share it with the dev, and he was thankful for me telling him. A lot of game industry folk work for years on a game and never have anyone personally tell them thank you. It may seem strange, but if you have a favorite game that's going to be represented in some way at PAX, go out of your way to tell a team member how amazing the game was/is!

    Always be yourself. Unless you suck. - Joss Whedon
  • SarahstraszaSarahstrasza Registered User
    edited August 2010
    I'd say... bring music as well if you have it. (assuming you dont have headphones on with your psp / ds.) Simply because sometimes in line, you'll be near some people some times that say things you may not agree with. And if you're opinionated, it's the best way to keep yourself out of trouble, so that everyone may enjoy themselves fully without any drama llamas!

  • SovietMudkipzSovietMudkipz Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Consider bringing food with you to the convention rather than taking a big block of time out of your schedule to find a restaurant. Lines are a great place to whip out a bagel with cream cheese and nomnomnom.

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