As many of us are preparing to descend on Seattle in roughly three months, I thought it would be fun to pose the question: what makes PAX Prime(or PAX in general, I suppose) special to you?
For me, PAX now occupies a big space in my heart because of how much fun I had at the first PAX I went to, which was Prime 2012. Not only was it my first PAX, but also the first big trip I took as an adult. I had been going to BlizzCon regularly up to this point, but Blizzard decided not to hold BlizzCon in 2012. Because of this, my friends and I started to look for other gaming-related conventions to attend. I'd always heard that PAX was a really awesome event, so it was the first alternative I looked into. After researching PAX Prime, reading about other people's experiences, and seeing if it was financially feasible, I convinced my brother and a good friend of mine to go with me.
After the frenzied badge sales last week, it is funny to look back on the fact that Prime 2012 badges went on sale while I was helping fix a friend's computer, and I decided to wait and buy them when I got home. I got really panicked when I saw that the 3-day badges sold out, but all of the single day badges were available, so I bought 2 of each for me and my brother(my friend already bought his 3-day badge). I was able to get us a room at the Sheraton and a good deal on plane tickets, so my group was set. At that point, the anticipation began to really grow.
The experience I had at PAX Prime that year ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. The trip to Seattle alone made it worth it, since I hadn't traveled out of southern California since I was a little kid. I got a real kick out of riding the light rail around all weekend, because we don't really have anything like that in So Cal. It was awesome to get away for 5 days and not worry about anything but having fun and playing games with a bunch of cool people. We had a great time just hanging out with others like us, and learning about all kinds of new games(like Cards Against Humanity!). The sense of community that PAX brings is something that I have yet to see replicated anywhere else. I am still blown away with all of the activities the community comes up with to commemorate these events. Hanging out, going to all kinds of panels, and checking out all of the parties(like the Dishonored one) was simply amazing. Of course, playing a bunch of unreleased games was pretty rad too. We went to a Mariners game while we were up there, and got to eat all kinds of great seafood. I also had the best donuts I'd ever eaten at Top Pot.
Needless to say, I was really bummed out when it was time to jump on the light rail and head to the airport. I went home, and when my friends and family asked how the trip was, I couldn't stop gushing about it. I decided from that point on that I would go to PAX Prime every year. Roughly a month later, without any planning for it, we bought badges for PAX East 2013, and also had an awesome time there. I would go on to skip Prime 2013 because there was a BlizzCon last year, but it was totally underwhelming compared to PAX, so I decided that would be my last one. And here I am now, with badges secured, waiting to return to Seattle for Prime 2014.
That is my story, and I would love to read what you guys have to say. The community is what makes PAX so special to me, after all.