Recommendations for attendees: lessons from a first timer

CorganCorgan Registered User
edited May 2010 in PAX Archive
Hi all,

I just got home from PAX East last night, and in thinking over the weekend, there were a lot of possible mistakes or misconceptions I had as a first time attendee that I will fix next year. I thought I'd share them here, for one, to check my slightly sleep-deprived thinking, and for two, maybe to provide some advice for new attendees in the future.
  1. Comfortable shoes: I don't know how the Bayonetta and Harley Quinn cos-players did it - by my math I was on my feet for nearly 10 hours on Saturday and by the end of the weekend I was having trouble walking.
  2. Travel light: I carried a backpack and a camera bag with me - I minimized what was inside, but even then the bags alone weighed about 15-20lbs, and after 3 days of carrying them around you really start to regret it. I'd recommend at most a light messenger bag if you really need to bring something with you.
  3. Don't bring a camera: I know this is counter-intuitive, but I really found that I was spending far more time looking for that perfect shot, or waiting to record the 'best moments' of whatever I was seeing, rather than actually enjoying the show; Not to mention I'm sure I annoyed my fair share of people behind me when my camera goes up above the crowd and blocks their view. I think I'll leave my camera at home next year. This also goes along with #2, since the camera is just one more thing to carry around with you.
  4. Food: This was a surprising issue. Breakfast on Friday at the nearby diner took nearly 1.5 hours to get seated and eat, due to other PAX attendees, and, oddly enough, an entire rugby team from Ireland. In general any restaurant or fast food place within 3 blocks of PAX was jam packed the entire weekend (Legal Sea Foods in the Prudential Center had a 1.5 hour wait for a two person table on Saturday). I would actually suggest packing a lunch, and if you really must have dinner close to the convention, make sure to make a reservation well in advance.
  5. Main Theater Events: In retrospect, I realized that many of the main theater events will be recorded a appear on the PAX DVD set (assuming they're making one - if not, video can be obtained on various video sites and/or the free community DVD project that's in the works) So on Friday when I saw a bunch of people leave the theater after the Keynote when the first PA panel was starting I couldn't really understand why. Now I know - the PA Panels are always fun, but unless you really want to ask a question, your time would be better spent elsewhere, which brings up point 6.
  6. Don't just look, play: The most fun I had all weekend was sitting down to play a game with random people at PAX - I spent a lot of time running around the exhibition hall checking out the new games and tech, and really didn't give myself enough time to just sit and play. I would highly recommend paying a visit to the board gaming and console freeplay or LFG rooms early in the weekend.
  7. If you want to play, plan ahead: I found some of the gaming events required signups. For example, the majority of D&D events were sign up in advance. Now I know they are planning to fix this in future events, but for PAX East, they actually filled their signup sheets for the entire weekend by Saturday morning, so anyone showing up after that was left with their limited first-come-first-serve event. If there's something you really want to do, check it out as early as possible, maybe even send an email to the organizers before the show to figure out how it's going to work.
  8. Gabe & Tycho signing: Maybe another counter-intuitive suggestion. If you've already got their signature, or met them somewhere else, please don't go. As a rule, the lineups at PAX are actually pretty fun, this one was less so. When the enforcers let us know G&T (M&J, actually, I guess) were only going to be signing for 1.5 hours and there were about 150 people ahead of us in line, it became the most anxious, passive-aggressive line I've ever seen. One guy actually threatened my brother when he came up to the line to bring me food. As it turned out, because of the huge amount of people, M&J went through the line really fast, I made it to the front in about 30 minutes. That said, if you do the math, that means M&J spent an average of 12 seconds with each person in line, which was certainly true of my run past the table. Ideally, the line should be reserved for people who've never met them before, so Mike & Jerry can afford to spend more time with each person.
  9. Concerts: You should go. It's awesome!
  10. Bandland: You should go. I met Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, and Paul & Storm, and they were all incredibly nice and gracious people, and the lines are rarely long enough to not be worth it.

That's all I've got for now. I'd really appreciate comments and any other advice you'd like to add.

- Corgan

Corgan on

Posts

  • Goose!Goose! That's me, honey Show me the way home, honeyRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I disagree with the camera, as it was my first time and I had plenty of awesome shots. Just bring a card with lots of memory so you can take many of the same shot and pick one you like best.

    I also disagree with the signing part, because they mingle enough and do enough Q&As that if you didn't have time to talk to them one on one, get a picture, whatever, you missed your chance. I have a picture with Jerry and Mike and Khoo separately which I still have to upload someplace.

    Other than that I would say plan ahead and make sure you have a plan B, if you know the thing you want to see is going to be popular/have a line, find an enforcer and ask when the line should/will start. I was always near the front of the line to everything I went to and therefore didn't miss out on anything I wanted to see.

    Goose! on
  • jar37jar37 Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Comfortable shoes: I lucked out pretty good with my shoes, they held up very well, but for next year I think my wife and I will be doing some real long walks for a couple weeks leading up, my legs and feet were dieing Saturday night during the concerts and we even took a break mid-day

    Travel light: Only had a messenger bag and it doubled as my wifes purse so we were both doing good, but th ereal nuisance was outer wear. the bulk of the messenger bag was taken up by hoodies. this would have been solved by staying in the Sheraton so there wouldn't be outside time (except for if you show up wicked early outside for a wristband

    Don't bring a camera: Luckily my Droid is a 5mp which took some real nice pictures and videos

    Food: Definitley think next year we will pack lunch meat or food fixings to save not only money but time

    Main Theater Events: it was really neat to see Mike and Jerry live but now that I've done it once I think I can comfortably pass on this and dive more in to the reast of the convention

    Don't just look, play: I wish I had played so much more. next year we come out of our shells day one.

    Gabe & Tycho signing: missed this completely, I'm not that big on signatures as I am on meeting people I respect so it would be great just to walk up and thank them, but not sure how much of my day I want to sacrifice for that.

    Concerts: Wish I hadn't waited in line for so long for the Friday show, not that it wasn't epic, but my wife attended a panel while I was waiting in the line and then she walked right into the show, what a waste of time. Seeing JoCo the next night was terrific and made my wifes weekend but I could probabaly skip it next time or not wait in line so long and see if I can get in last minute (less likely than the friday nigth show)

    Bandland: Got merch from JoCo and Protomen with signatures, was great to get mic of JoCo with my wife. really no long waits all weekend save for Wil and even his wasn't bad.

    jar37 on
  • ElectricTurtleElectricTurtle Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Comfortable shoes: I don't know how the Bayonetta and Harley Quinn cos-players did it
    Last year when my wife started complaining about her shoes (heels) on the pub crawl, I seized them and proceeded to wear them for several hours. She was consequently embarrassed both by how I was able to do so without complaining as well as that I was wearing her heels for several hours in public. The moral of the story is don't whine, deal with it.

    Also, research restaurants in advance, and be prepared to go a few blocks for both quality and crowd reduction.

    ElectricTurtle on
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  • Hunter RoseHunter Rose Registered User
    edited March 2010
    It was also my first time but I think that my experience was a little different.

    At 36 and carrying an extra 20 lbs, I'm not in the best shape but I found carrying a backpack indispensable. I packed healthy snacks, extra batteries, plenty of water, my dice, my DS, and some 3x5 and pens/pencils for notes. The backpack kept the weight evenly distributed and it stood nicely when I sat it down. I didn't have any trouble with the extra weight.

    Watching your diet is really important at PAX. Snack but don't overdo it with carbs, sugar, or caffeine. When the rush recedes, it'll take you down for a nap and no-one wants to sleep through this!

    Definitely bring a camera. As long as you remember that you have it (which is a concern) it's never a wasted effort.

    Bring earplugs if you go to the concerts. It's just a good idea, especially if you get up close to the stage.

    Don't be afraid to approach total strangers. Usually I would ask what they are enjoying the most so far and that led to pretty good conversations. I met a lot of cool people.

    And lastly, don't be afraid to walk away and do something else. There was so much to do and play, there's no excuse not to be having the time of your life.

    Hunter Rose on
  • OrblivionOrblivion Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I figured out the the thing with Main Theatre events after a few attempts. Right before some of the larger panels, they were emptying the theatre in order to allow different people in. It wasn't a matter of those people not wanting to see the first PA Panel, it was a matter of giving other people a chance to watch it.

    Orblivion on
  • MassiveKnightMassiveKnight Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Hotels

    We had a room in the Sheraton which was incredibly convenient. It meant we never needed to worry about bringing coats / games / random stuff we might not need. As long as the cost isn't prohibitive staying in the same hotel with the convention was totally worth it.

    MassiveKnight on
  • MaizeMaize Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    On Friday, I wound up eating only a packet of Reese's Pieces from the vending machine until around 7:30pm (when I managed to escape to get a quick burrito). DON'T DO THIS. Also, if possible get food that you can take with you on the way in. Once you're there, you'll get sucked into a vortex of ten zillion things to do and no time for food. And especially if you don't have someone to go fetch food, you can't get anything to eat or drink once you're in line, and you could be in line for hours, then at the thing you're lining up for longer. On the other hand, if you have portable food with you, you can eat it while in line. The biggest improvement to my PAX East experience was that after the first day I started grabbing a breakfast sandwich and a muffin from Dunkin Donuts on the way in and eating it in the entry queue. That way I always had at least *something* before late evening.

    Maize on
  • MaizeMaize Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Also, on the camera front, I'd say to bring a compact video camera if possible. My wife had bought one that arrived the day before PAX. I left it at home so she could play with it first, since she'd bought it. I really wish I'd brought it. I took lots of video with my cell phone, but most of it turned out poorly. I brought a regular digital camera, but left it in my hotel room most of the time because I didn't tote a backpack around. Ultimately, I wanted to shoot *way* more video (concerts, panels, people playing funny games) than I wanted to take still photos, and I wouldn't have expected that beforehand.

    Maize on
  • LimondLimond Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I kind of wish I had brought a real camera. I just had my crappy Cell Phone camera and DS camera. The handful of shots I took were pretty terrible.

    Traveling Light I always did except for the first day most of it was really just the back pack bulk but when I got the D&D backpack for competing in Three Dragon Ante I switched over and started using It. Was much more comfy and less cumbersome.

    Really can't say much for food, just grabbed something at Dunkin Donuts right outside for breakfast with maybe a 5 minute wait at the most on the first day. Then ate lunch around 12-1. I ate the convention food since 10 bucks for a burger, fries, a fruit cup, and a coke was pretty decent and the line was only bad on the first day other days I just walked right up.

    For the D&D signups I was the very last person that was able to sign up on Saturday. I just thought I would stop by early on since was right after the Bill Amend panel and I just got in line at the right time.

    For the G&T signing I was right at the 150 person cut off but after 30 minutes and us not moving 5 feet I saw a whole bunch of people jumping in line at the front so I just walked away.

    Limond on
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  • zarfzarf Registered User
    edited March 2010
    The Prudential food court (adjacent to the Hynes through the mall area) had relatively short lines even at lunch/dinner hours. It's food court food but that's *vastly* better than living on candy and chips.

    Also, carry water. Really.

    zarf on
  • WormdundeeWormdundee Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I didn't go to PAX East but my first PAX was last year so I think the same advice would apply.

    For the love of god, bring a camera. I didn't take a LOT of pictures, but the ones I did get are great memories y'know? Bring it. It sounds like food was more of a problem at East. In Seattle I had no problems getting my hands on food (outside the centre of course). We even got a large table at a pub at the Red Lion hotel just walking in. Maybe there aren't as many eateries around the Hynes as there are near the WSCTC?

    I think I can agree in theory with don't look, play mentality. At 09 I didn't play anything and I still had an awesome time, so your mileage might vary there. My thinking was that I can play games anytime, but a lot of my PAX friends I don't see that often, so PAX is more like an opportunity to hang out. Which could involve gaming of course. Most of my time was spent in the big panels and a couple of the smaller panels, but mostly just hanging out with friends in various places.

    Wormdundee on
  • pardimatepardimate Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Corgan wrote: »

    [*]Don't bring a camera: I know this is counter-intuitive, but I really found that I was spending far more time looking for that perfect shot, or waiting to record the 'best moments' of whatever I was seeing, rather than actually enjoying the show; Not to mention I'm sure I annoyed my fair share of people behind me when my camera goes up above the crowd and blocks their view. I think I'll leave my camera at home next year. This also goes along with #2, since the camera is just one more thing to carry around with you.

    I also completely disagree with this. Just don't spend so much time looking for the perfect shot, and take the picture before the lights go out and the panel starts, then don't raise your camera up again. Also, compact digital cameras are so small it hardly seems worth complaining about, especially considering the amount of swag you pick up that you may never use (posters, 3,000 buttons, etc.).

    I would have been very sad if I didn't bring my camera, because I love looking over the pictures and videos. It's a reminder of how it felt to be there, and it makes me happy and excited to go again.

    pardimate on
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  • MendrianMendrian Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    We - that is to say, my travel group and I - found that we were so paranoid about waiting to get into food that we sort of overplanned our dining experiences. It turns out that was a good plan. I ate out twice over the weekend - one fairly meh meal at PF Chang's and an epic meal over at the Cheesecake Factory. In neither case did we have to wait in line to eat. The other times, we found a nearby grocery store (only about a 10 minute walk) and bought the things we needed.

    How did we possibly get seated so fast? Timing. Seriously. We went to PF Chang's right after the keynote speech, when everyone was still checking in and wandering around the convention hall. And we did the Cheesecake Factory at 11:30 in the morning, when most people are still thinking about breakfast and what panels they want to go to. My leftovers kept me fed all day.

    Oh, and we also got pizza at like 1AM Friday Night/Saturday Morning, but I think it goes without saying that sort of thing doesn't usually have too long of a wait.

    Mendrian on
  • daninspiredmediadaninspiredmedia Registered User
    edited April 2010
    I had a messanger bag with me while in some of the Queue room lines. i laid down and took a nap on that thing while waiting in those lines. It was a great refresher. all 4 days i may have got a total of 10 hours of sleep at the hotel

    daninspiredmedia on
  • CorganCorgan Registered User
    edited April 2010
    I guess I can relent on not bringing a camera. I know that if I don't bring one next year, I'll spend much of the time thinking 'man, I wish I had my camera!' when something cool happens. Also, I was a little jade because my camera is pretty big and essentially requires it's own bag to carry it around - most people won't have that problem.

    That said, I have one addendum:

    11. Internet: I'm from Canada, and my cellphone provider being what it is, I get charged enormously for using data or for texting while in the US. As such, I was entirely dependent on the wireless at the convention center, and I can tell you right now, wireless does not hold up very well when 20,000 people are trying to use it at once. What I'm thinking to do next year is to unlock my phone and maybe pick up a one month plan or a pay as you go plan from a local provider, so I can use 3g/4g for internet instead.
    11a. Texting: Texting is by far the easiest way to coordinate with friends when you get split up, I would strongly recommend coming with a cell plan that allows a lot of texting.
    11b. Twitter: Keeping up with twitter while you're at the show is also quite useful - it helped me get some free swag from the official D&D guys, get free breakfast from Joystiq (BBMT!), and find out when Wil Wheaton was doing signings. There is also an Official PAX twitter account that often posts useful information throughout the show.

    Corgan on
  • capnjackcapnjack Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I'm gonna echo the Signing point. There's plenty of other cons where you can walk right up to Gabe and Tycho, get their signature and a drawing, and chat them up for awhile without worrying about a huge line behind you.

    Regarding Cameras, I don't see the point of bringing a gigantic camera with you unless you're a professional photographer trying to make money. My iphone camera was fine, and my buddy even recorded a bunch of panels and concerts with his iphone, and it all looks great. If the camera on your phone sucks, pick up a Flip or some tiny camera to bring with you.
    Stop weighing yourself down, and more importantly, smacking me with your giant camera bag! :) I also agree that you must be quick with your photos or risk breaking Wheaton's Law.

    Go To Bed! Sometimes you have to realize that you're mortal and that your HP needs replenishing. I would love to stay up all night, but I'm 32 and I need at least 5-6 hours of sleep. Even with that I felt like shit almost the entire day on Friday because I stayed up way too late drinking with Pokemon and had to wake up at 8AM. Goddamn.

    If it's not Wil Wheaton, skip the keynote. Jesus, I will never stand in line for 5 hours again as long as I live. If I do see the keynote, I will be perfectly happy with sitting in the back and only waiting for 2 hours. But it was Wil, and I had to see Wil, so I got in line at 10. But my body has been hating me ever since.

    You don't really need the wristbands for the concerts. As soon as people are all situated in the theater, they'll let you walk into the concert without a wristband. You might miss the very beginning of the concert, but it's not that big a deal. I had a wristband on Friday but not on Saturday. No problems.

    Plan time for games! I spent more time trying to figure out what panels I was going to attend than worrying about what games I need to play. As a result, I missed out on some pretty awesome gaming.

    Bring ear plugs. They could save your life. It will help you nap in line (as stated above) and prevent you from losing sleep because your roommates (me) snore.

    capnjack on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    capnjack wrote: »
    If it's not Wil Wheaton, skip the keynote. Jesus, I will never stand in line for 5 hours again as long as I live. If I do see the keynote, I will be perfectly happy with sitting in the back and only waiting for 2 hours. But it was Wil, and I had to see Wil, so I got in line at 10. But my body has been hating me ever since.

    See, I skipped the keynote because on youtube I could watch the same 'us gamer's speech he gave at Prime. I was pretty annoyed that with all the talk Reed gave us of wanting to make East different, specifically mentioning the Omegathon not being the Omegathon but something different, we got the Omegathon and a Keynote speaker who had already done Prime.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • capnjackcapnjack Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    See, I skipped the keynote because on youtube I could watch the same 'us gamer's speech he gave at Prime. I was pretty annoyed that with all the talk Reed gave us of wanting to make East different, specifically mentioning the Omegathon not being the Omegathon but something different, we got the Omegathon and a Keynote speaker who had already done Prime.

    He did a similar but different speech at East (and he did reference a few things he said in 2007 but no biggie), and I was glad to see him up-close. But to each his own.

    capnjack on
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  • ChurchesWifeChurchesWife Registered User
    edited April 2010
    Corgan wrote: »
    1. Comfortable shoes: I don't know how the Bayonetta and Harley Quinn cos-players did it - by my math I was on my feet for nearly 10 hours on Saturday and by the end of the weekend I was having trouble walking.


    I was the Harley. I think because my shoes were platforms it wasn't nearly as gnarly as I was anticipating...

    HOWEVER, 8 and a half hours was my absolute limit. It's kind of a choice thing. If you sit down for too long in the middle of the day, you fuck yourself. Because the second you stand back up, the discomfort increases exponentially.

    It's a... commitment. Though in hindsight, some insoles might've saved me.

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  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2010
    Bring some sort of second charge for your phone. It's crucial to be able to text your party when you split up for various reasons and doing a lot of browsing or photo-taking with your phone is draining. I generally ended each day of PAX with maybe 10% left on my iPhone and that includes turning it off at several points to conserve power. My friend's phone fared even worse.

    Plan ahead: this is hard to do for a first-timer, but it'll be easier next year. I plan on doing a mostly-exhibit day and a mostly-panel day and Sunday tends to be a nice day to relax with some free play with strangers. Plan ahead and have back-up panels or activities for the horrible scenario of a panel filling.

    Know your limits: I want to repeat this because I was incredibly stupid and decided my very first multi-hour driving session would be in the rain at night and having not slept since Sunday morning. My friend's car did not survive the trip to PAX, and it's pretty fortunate that we did.

    Sterica on
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  • chupamiubrechupamiubre Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Buy a flip HD or something else like it. Makes taking videos easier they turn on in like 1sec and everyone loves video over pictures.

    chupamiubre on
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  • ZeroHourHeroZeroHourHero Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I disagree on the food thing, if you went to the pru: yes you were fucked, if you went anywhere else in the immediate area there was no line.

    ZeroHourHero on
  • capnjackcapnjack Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Bring some sort of second charge for your phone.

    That's good advice! My buddy takes a lot of video with his iphone, so for his birthday I got him this battery extender for iphone. It adds like another full day of charge. There's tons of accessories like this for just about every device imaginable (even DS).

    capnjack on
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  • ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Recommendations from a PAX veteran:

    I think the OP meant to say, "don't bring a giant DSLR with its own camera bag." Lugging around a DSLR all weekend would certainly be annoying. I don't know how people do it. But slipping a little point-and-shoot into your pocket or bag should be fine, and the pictures come out waaaaay better than cell phone shots do.

    I have to echo the "do more, sightsee less" sentiment, too. My first year at PAX was all sightseeing. It was sensory overload. I spent most of the weekend walking around the expo hall, dazed and confused like a deer in headlights. It was just too much to take in, and I was unable to pick a direction. The second year, I basically played games all weekend. Even if I was in the expo hall, I was DOING something. I was playing something, or in line to play something. I did a lot of Rock Band freeplay, Tabletop freeplay, and Console freeplay. I had a much, much better time the second year, and I've spent most of my PAXs playing games ever since.

    As far as eating goes, just be smart about it. You know that the popular restaurants are going to have waits at 7:00pm on a Saturday regardless of where you live, so why would PAX be any different? If you like eating at the traditional times, bring your own food, make a reservation, or walk a few blocks away. If you eat at weird times, it's not a problem. Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang's were both open past midnight, and we had no wait for a table. On the one day we went around dinner time, it was 45 minutes. But we knew that going in. If you have a bag with you, toss a few granola/energy bars, some beef jerky, or sandwiches in there. Eat throughout the day and you'll be a much happier, energetic PAXer.

    Hydrating is very important. Water makes your body do everything it does better. It will keep you from getting tired as quickly, prevent headaches, increase the effectiveness of energy drinks, keep your immune system functioning at 100%, etc. Buy a water bottle and keep it with you. The Hynes actually had water coolers in every room, which was AWESOME. I think this year was the first year I actually stayed hydrated.

    Comfortable shoes are important, but don't buy them right before PAX. Buy them 2-3 months ahead of time and break them in. Find out if they're too tight or too loose and adjust accordingly. If you start to feel your feet getting tender from rubbing inside your shoe on the first day, get some moleskin or band-aids and cover the tender areas early to prevent blisters. Also, bringing a change of socks with you in your bag and changing into them half-way through the day is an amazing life extender for your feet. Every day I would find a spot to sit down, take my shoes and socks off, let my feet dry, then put new socks on. Can't recommend it enough. And if your hotel is swanky enough to have a hot tub/jacuzzi, USE IT. I took a hot tub after the first day at PAX and it did wonders for my feet and back.

    Scheduling: Making a schedule for yourself for a whole weekend is a big waste of time. Chances are, you're going to scrap it half-way through the first day because there's just too much to do and see once you're actually there. Usually I pick 2-3 things per day that I absolutely do not want to miss, and I try my best to go to those. If these events are in any kind of theater (main or satellite, doesn't really matter), be prepared to wait in line for at LEAST half an hour, more likely an hour or more. If it's the main theater, it could be several hours. Do you want to spend two hours of PAX time waiting in line? Is the thing you want to see really worth it? Ask yourself that BEFORE you get in the line.

    Arco on
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  • LinkWizardLinkWizard Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It was my first PAX/convention and I was going in with an injured knee. I had a medical badge that let me get in front of lines (i.e., panels/concerts). Since I was mainly going to panels, and it was my first time, I didn't realize that with the medical badge I could have just showed up ~10-15 minutes (or even 5 minutes) before the start of a popular panel (e.g., keynote, Q&A sessions, etc.). So, if you have a medical badge, enjoy the other bits PAX has to offer before seeing the enforcer(s) in charge of the queue line 15 minutes (or less) before the panel starts.

    I brought a bookbag that held my thin, rolled up jacket, a bottle of water which I repeatedly filled up at drinking fountains, a DSLR camera, a DS, and a bag with two peanut butter sandwiches and several granola/energy bars. For breakfast, I had brought some cereal from home and bought milk when I got into Boston. My lunch and dinner on both Friday and Saturday was a peanut butter sandwich and a granola/energy bar. Lunch on Sunday was the same. Peanut butter sandwiches got pretty old, pretty quickly. Snacking in between consisted of granola/energy bars. But, as a result of my brown-bagging, I didn't miss the cool things I wanted to see, as I had something to do from opening-closing. You also save a ton of money.

    Camera was a bit heavy, and I didn't use it all that often, but it was worth bringing in my opinion. I was contemplating bringing a video camera... but with my knee and thinking about how heavy everything would be, I decided to forgo it.

    Try to get more than 5 hours of sleep each day. I failed at that.

    I pretty much agree with what Arco and others have said. Take care.

    LinkWizard on
  • gilby123gilby123 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Despite having a medical badge as well, I'd actually recommend showing up more than 5 minutes in advance if possible. I know I did usually, if only because I wanted to make sure I was there early enough to be brought up from the queue room in advance (in some cases, it was nearly an hour earlier, like with the keynote) and also because I felt bad that I was getting ahead of others, so I felt like I should show up there earlier as well. I did show up 5 minutes before on a few things if the schedule cut it close (like the signing after the second PA Q&A).

    I guess, overall, while you can show up just before with the disability pass, I'd recommend at least 30 minutes early if possible, particularly for main theater stuff. If you have to come from the other side of the place, plan even more in advance because, particularly in a chair with that many people, it'll take a fair amount of time (huge props to the enforcers who worked feverishly keeping people moving in the main hallways or encouraging them to move to the side, so the traffic would keep flowing).

    gilby123 on
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  • Bones13Bones13 Registered User
    edited April 2010
    There wasn't as much an issue of food that I could tell. Especially when there was a Shaw's a block away from the convention center. Inside they have a cafe area, let alone its a grocery store so you can get a hot meal then get your miscellaneous snacks from the super market and you pay for both at the checkout. Also no lines inside so its just faster to head over there than staying really close in proximity to the convention center and waiting in lines that taunt you with the sights and smells of their foods but take 30 minutes to get.

    Bones13 on
  • Mystral721Mystral721 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    If you're going to bring a bunch of stuff with you (heck, even if you're not) I'd recommend buying a spot in BYOC. I only had a netbook but used the space that the seat provided to leave my bag and jacket so I had less to carry and keep track of. Plus, you have somewhere to just sit and relax and recharge your phone!

    This was my first year doing BYOC and it was great! I'm going to buy a gaming laptop before PAX Prime, though. The people playing LAN games seemed to be having a lot of fun and I didn't do nearly enough gaming this time.

    Mystral721 on
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  • king_e_dawgking_e_dawg Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    1) Get a hotel within walking distance. We stayed at a Days Hotel over toward Fenway because it was cheaper and parking was free, and the bus never showed up when it was supposed to. So we pretty much paid about $30-$40 for a cab round-trip each day. Hailing a cab is a pain in the ass, especially Saturday night when we had to stand out in the freezing cold competing with hundreds of other people for the few cabs actually going by the convention center while a bar fight across the street started to move directly towards us. Should have stayed at the Sheraton.

    2) You cannot get to every single panel you want to see, so pick the ones you really want and get there early. Do not bank on a certain thing being less popular; there will be a line regardless. This is how we were turned away from the keynote, and how we missed several other panels because I thought, "Surely nobody's into as niche a thing as me, right?" Wrong.

    3) Pack light. Really, this should go without saying, but you don't want to lug a whole lot of crap around the whole time. I packed a bunch of games and controllers, only to find out that they had all that stuff in the freeplay areas.

    4) Mike and Jerry are your friends.

    5) Get used to the queue line. You will be there forever. If you can somehow pack some kind of small pillow or maybe an inflatable gizmo, it will make sitting on the floor more tolerable.

    6) If you're out of town, don't do what we did and check out on the last day, and drive back that night. Book the hotel for an extra night and get some sleep. PAX is exhausting. Now granted, I am glad we did what we did this time, because the hellish storm we drove back through in the dark of night hit the Northeast hard, and could have left us stranded or worse. But under normal circumstances, take the extra night.

    king_e_dawg on
  • MJPMMJPM Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Coming in to my 5th PAX with Prime 2010, here's my 2 cents:

    Camera - Since I'll be helping the Unofficial DVD crew, I'm sort of biased on this front, but bring a decent camera. If you like video and like putting things on Youtube, get a Flip HD. I still need to upgrade my current Flip Mino to HD, but I also use my Panasonic Lumix for HD video (sound tends to be shite on that thing though; pictures less so).

    Comfortable shoes are a given. You will be doing a lot of walking and standing, so do yourself a favor.

    Travel as light as possible in such a way that everything is easily capable of being put up quickly if you have to sit down, wait, and then get up and move quickly.

    GO. TO. THE. CONCERTS! Oh, and if Jonathan Coulton is at the Saturday Concert, get in line for a wristband. I got both wristbands at East, and could move around easily on Friday night even while being up front. Saturday I was stage side all night and COULD NOT MOVE. No one moved away from the stage at all through VGO, Paul and Storm, to JoCo unless they were done for the evening. Also, make sure you use the bathroom BEFORE the concerts...

    Talk to people. PAX is the group of 50K friends you didn't know you had, even though at least 1K of them can be jerks and spoil things for you (when your name is Jason, and you had not yet played Heavy Rain, the queue lines would make you feel a little STABBY). No one is going to bite, even the "celebs", though don't stalk them. I got to meet Jerry twice, and he is an awesome guy to just hang around with, and really humble.

    Don't over plan. Prioritize what you really, really, REALLY want to see in terms of Expo Hall and Panels, but otherwise walk around and get into things you wouldn't have done before and aren't necessarily adverse to doing. It might surprise you where you will find fun.

    WASH, you heathens!!! Water and soap are not your enemies! Seriously, I forgive you if you sweat a lot and did wash but got funky from all the walking that your deodorant wore off quickly, but that is not your excuse, I will disembowel you.

    Have Fun!

    MJPM on
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  • macrogeekmacrogeek Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I think I accidentally had a successful food plan that I'll probably repeat next year.
    I packed a few boxes of snacks in my suitcase, just in case I needed them. I figured I might end up back at the room late, or needing something on the run. So I had packaged stuff like granola in the room. I ended up eating stuff like that for one meal each day, then getting a nice more expensive meal outside of the expo.
    I ended up eating nicer places, and not waiting in line, because it wasn't a food court.

    macrogeek on
  • MrT137MrT137 Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Protein Bars, Crackers, dried fruit, and trail mix are all light and filling enough to make up for a meal or two. I spend a lot of times traveling for work, and nothing beats having a protein bar to make it for another 2-3 hours when it's more convenient to eat. It worked well for me at PAX, especially in the Puerto Rico tournament that was almost 5 hours through lunch with limited breaks.

    MrT137 on
  • arsonisfunarsonisfun Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    1) Get a hotel within walking distance. We stayed at a Days Hotel over toward Fenway because it was cheaper and parking was free, and the bus never showed up when it was supposed to. So we pretty much paid about $30-$40 for a cab round-trip each day. Hailing a cab is a pain in the ass, especially Saturday night when we had to stand out in the freezing cold competing with hundreds of other people for the few cabs actually going by the convention center while a bar fight across the street started to move directly towards us. Should have stayed at the Sheraton.

    Yea, the Days Hotel is nowhere near Fenway haha ;) If you had stayed at one of the hotels in/near fenway it would have been a 10-15min walk to Hynes tops.

    I think most of the people who went with a hotel off the T were ok. I live off the B line, so I'm used to either having to catch the 12:30am train or pony up $15 or so for a cab ride him :\ It'd be nice if public transportation stayed open at least as late as the bars ...

    arsonisfun on
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  • chiaroscurochiaroscuro Registered User
    edited May 2010
    I have to agree on trying to carry as little as possible. I brought a backpack the first day to keep everything in, but I brought my laptop, which was not the best idea. After walking around all day and slowly building up a collection of swag, it became a quite a weight by the end of the day and my back was not happy. The next day I just brought one of those bags they were giving out at the DS area just to hold my water, wallet, camera, and jacket and that was much better. Next year, I'll just stick with the necessities and maybe something small/light to keep me occupied in the lines.

    Also for food, definitely bring snacks with you! Not only were waits really long like someone said earlier, but lines at the food court were long. Also you can have something to munch on as you're walking around the hall and not have to worry about leaving and coming back.

    As for hotels, my friends and I stayed at the Holiday Inn on Beacon St, which is right on a T line. The only time we had to find other transportation was after the concert on Saturday and it wasn't too far of a walk. (It was just cold.) I wouldn't mind staying there again, but I can imagine staying at the Sheraton was so much more convenient for staying at the con later.

    Twitter was also really helpful. Following PAX, Intel, and Joystiq (BBMT!) helped out a lot and you got free stuff too!

    chiaroscuro on
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