The Incredible Shrinking Handheld Lounges

TalarianTalarian Registered User regular
I love PAX. I've been to 11 of them so far, including Prime, East, and Aus, and something that's been really alarming is how little handheld lounge is left in Prime. The picture below I took on Sunday, and that's it. That's the WHOLE handheld lounge.

8pu0nxn83rwp.jpg

It's been eaten away year after year by the growing mass that is Nintendo's advertising. I really, really appreciated a place to take a load off and relax, and while I think it's great the AFK Lounge exists for those who are overwhelmed, we're losing the in-between of being able to sit down and decompress and still play games, especially given it's a 4-day event now. PAX Aus, which had like a 1/3rd of the attendance, had a larger space, and East's space is FANTASTIC. They should put the Nintendo booths back in the Expo hall where they belong, or at least give us attendees back one of the two floors. The handheld lounge is my favourite part of PAX, and I'm sad to see it going extinct.

PAX Aus, early morning so it wasn't filled up yet. Far fewer beanbags, but people still filled it up be midday.
7aps55w8cxl2.jpg

PAX East, the nirvana of Handheld lounges. I love how big it is at East, and it's always full, so there's definitely demand.
pze57nohvjgn.jpg

So who do I contact to let the PAX organizers know that I'm really unhappy about this?

ScootsBombClancy

Posts

  • jamsyarbotsjamsyarbots Wilmington, DERegistered User regular
    I believe there's usually a survey emailed out about your overall experience and a forum thread asking for constructive feedback.

  • kropotkinkropotkin Forum Badge Creator London UKRegistered User regular
    This isn't the hand-held lounge for PAX Prime. This is the secondary one on Level 4. The actual lounge is on Level 2, which you clearly never found. It's much larger than the secondary one.

    ryr7xy0i2ynw.png





  • TalarianTalarian Registered User regular
    edited September 2014
    No, that was definitely Floor 2. I took the pictures, right by the Bioware Base and everything. You can see part of the Nintendo handheld in the first half of the first picture on the right. And in the second half of the picture in the back you can see the folks playing the giant board games like Tsuro, also on Floor 2.

    The AFK Room was on Floor 4, which is most emphatically not a handheld lounge, as it's meant for people to be in a quiet space to take a breather.

    Edit: More specific information on location added.

    Talarian on
    Rhea_starstormsirmrejLazorzBombClancy
  • StarYoshiStarYoshi Game Designer / Data Scientist USARegistered User regular
    edited September 2014
    Prime is limited by the venue at this point, imo. It's not a good support for the massive attendance and they have to make adjustments here and there.

    StarYoshi on
    Attendance
    PAX Prime / PAX Dev 2014
    PAX Prime 2013
    PAX Prime 2009
    Rhea_starstorm
  • b0wserb0wser PAX HHL Deputy Manager Registered User regular
    Kropotkin: You are incorrect. This was the only space allocated for the Handheld Lounge, L2 North Lobby.

    [Enforcers] are the fucking best.
    Crispy262LazorzRabies
  • EmodEmod Registered User regular
    Sadly, it wasn't just the handheld area that suffered. Tabletop was a mess this year. The Motif was supposed to be the TT HQ, yet nearly every available table was reserved for demos, and the vendors of those demo tables actively guarded them even when the entire space was empty. I wish I had taken a picture of the wasteland of empty tables that they wouldn't let us play games on. Worse still was the fact that they didn't bother to move the game library out to the Motif. So you'd have to check something out and walk three blocks, hoping when you arrived there was a table available.

    I'm not trying to pull the conversation away from handhelds but simply draw attention that there are several gaming formats that are suffering for space. It seems there are two major factors that would help improve this. The first is to do a full relocation to one of the larger offsite venues (e.g. Motif or Sheraton) for each format. If handheld is moved to Sheraton, you move all the free play space and the vendors there. It becomes your one-stop shop for handheld. The second is to limit the demo space for the vendors based on actual utilization. Here's where it might differ by vendor and format, as I think Nintendo always had a line, but Yu-Gi-Oh for TT was often empty.

    JulietLinktmadias.angelRussBzerzhulBombClancy
  • RabiesRabies [E] Handheld Lounge Registered User regular
    Moving hh off-site defeats the purpose of it being a pit stop or nap spot for those who just need a quick break. Where we are is perfect, we just need our space back.

    Causes lockjaw, frothing at the mouth, induces insanity and you don't know you've got it until it's too late.
    Rhea_starstormScootspunzieBombClancy
  • ProprietyPropriety Registered User regular
    Note that the photo of the "nirvana" that is the East Handheld lounge is a photo from 2013 (I can tell because one of my PPL East 2013 gym leaders is in it. ;) The situation in 2014 was not nearly as serene; Wildstar was located in one of the rooms you can see to the right in the picture, which caused a massive amount of traffic and huge lines running right through the middle of handheld. Classic Console Freeplay was also located there, but that wasn't as disruptive, I think; it still caused traffic, but not nearly as much.

    The Wildstar traffic and lines weren't great. People lying on the ground + lots of foot traffic = people getting stepped on. :/ The room also generated a huge amount of noise. I don't even know why Wildstar was in handheld, it's not a handheld game. At least Pokemon is, I guess?

    Basically: handheld needs its space back everywhere. It should be calm and comfortable, not just another hallway/queue room.

    That guy with the ridiculously long scarf at PAX. Say Hi!
    Love Pokemon? Going to PAX Prime/East/Aus/South? Challenge the PAX Pokemon League!!!
    ScootsBombClancyRabies
  • ScunosiScunosi WashingtonRegistered User regular
    This is my fourth Prime (I've never been to any of the other locations) and honestly I can't say the Handheld Lounge was any smaller than in years past. Seemed to fill the exact same space, and if anything it was maybe just denser. The only place I could see them expanding to would be beyond those glass art cases (the area the Gym Leaders tend to hang out in) to the room beyond, but that also tends to be a semi-demo/breathing space area.

    Handhelds being handheld though, I'm not really seeing the need for concern. With everything else going on we were almost constantly on the go, and I only got my DS out in long lines or to clear out my Street/Spotpass (all puzzles now complete by the way!). The point of a handheld is specifically to be able to move around and take it with you, and even in lines not dedicated to handhelds you'd find people wanting to download-play Mario Kart or do Pokemon battles. Whereas with the handheld lounge it's hard to tell but I'm sure plenty of those beanbags were just people wanting to sit on something comfy, not necessarily people looking to actively play anything. So maybe I'm just not as into the handheld scene as some people, but it really doesn't worry me one bit.

  • japerryjaperry Registered User regular
    Fact: Seattle has crummy conference space for groups over 30k.

    I too noticed handheld was smaller, but want to echo the issues seen at tabletop and talking to vendors. *Conspiracy hat on* I believe part of this issue is due to most space getting sold to vendors. These aren't rooms for you or me anymore, its rooms various companies are buying, and thats why existing free-space is diminishing. Vendors were -very- protective of the rooms they bought, and unless you're going to be demoed or buying from them, get out. Motif was a horrible compromise for TT.

    PA Seems like its turning more into a leasing company where the highest bidder gets space. (6th floor expo expansion?) So unless tabletop gets a massive sponsor (Like Wizards for the magic area) to buy a room 'for the good of the people', I'm doubtful the situation for it or the handheld lounge will get better.

    On the other hand, looking at the glass half full: it could be Nintendo has bought the handheld area 'for the good of the people' and without their support the lounge could be much smaller.

    EIuxa5N.png
  • HeadhunterHeadhunter Registered User regular
    I've never used the lounge myself, but I also noticed that some of the former lounge space had been converted into demo booths.

    Hopefully it comes back strong at East (and/or Australia and South before it), and more space is found for it at Prime.

    "Perception is reality." -unknown
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Space is at an extreme premium at PAX Prime. I hope handheld can get more space, but ultimately the paid exhibitor spots are primarily what allow for things like the large freeplay areas at all.

    vespachicaBombClancyMoe Fwacky
  • vespachicavespachica SeattleRegistered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Space is at an extreme premium at PAX Prime. I hope handheld can get more space, but ultimately the paid exhibitor spots are primarily what allow for things like the large freeplay areas at all.

    Yes, this. I also wanted to say that the exhibitors and vendors paying for space is what allows ticket prices to remain stable. I didn't say it earlier because I don't want it to start in on a debate about ticket costs.

    As far as the beanbags go, I did notice that on Friday morning there were a bunch just off the escalators on the (I think) 2nd floor (or maybe it was 3rd). I noticed some time later that they were gone.

    ufq9gj8383nh.png

    Rhea_starstorm
  • RussBRussB Registered User regular
    vespachica wrote: »
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Space is at an extreme premium at PAX Prime. I hope handheld can get more space, but ultimately the paid exhibitor spots are primarily what allow for things like the large freeplay areas at all.

    Yes, this. I also wanted to say that the exhibitors and vendors paying for space is what allows ticket prices to remain stable. I didn't say it earlier because I don't want it to start in on a debate about ticket costs.

    As far as the beanbags go, I did notice that on Friday morning there were a bunch just off the escalators on the (I think) 2nd floor (or maybe it was 3rd). I noticed some time later that they were gone.

    I had a chuckle that a few hours into the first day, there were dudes passed out on the bean bags. Must have had a rough Thursday night!

    vespachicaNotoriusBENBombClancy
  • XarthanXarthan Registered User regular
    Emod wrote: »
    Sadly, it wasn't just the handheld area that suffered. Tabletop was a mess this year. The Motif was supposed to be the TT HQ, yet nearly every available table was reserved for demos, and the vendors of those demo tables actively guarded them even when the entire space was empty. I wish I had taken a picture of the wasteland of empty tables that they wouldn't let us play games on. Worse still was the fact that they didn't bother to move the game library out to the Motif. So you'd have to check something out and walk three blocks, hoping when you arrived there was a table available.

    I'm not trying to pull the conversation away from handhelds but simply draw attention that there are several gaming formats that are suffering for space. It seems there are two major factors that would help improve this. The first is to do a full relocation to one of the larger offsite venues (e.g. Motif or Sheraton) for each format. If handheld is moved to Sheraton, you move all the free play space and the vendors there. It becomes your one-stop shop for handheld. The second is to limit the demo space for the vendors based on actual utilization. Here's where it might differ by vendor and format, as I think Nintendo always had a line, but Yu-Gi-Oh for TT was often empty.

    Yeah I found having TT at the Motif was kind of a pain, at the end of the day most of my friends just didn't want to make the trek over there, so we just stayed and played Pathfinder.

  • NotoriusBENNotoriusBEN Registered User regular
    Our hitch with the Motiff was that they wanted us to sign up for tournaments. we just wanted to check out a few games from the library and play them. I didn't want to sign up for a tourney.
    I'm gonna probably kick myself next year for saying it now this year, but the 1st floor lobby of the Sheraton is probably your best bet for table space at Prime from Friday onwards.

    I've had my fill of the Tri-Wizard Pub Crawl, I think next year I'll do the pre-PAX table top schtick and ruin a bunch of would-be-friendships with games of Diplomacy...

    a4irovn5uqjp.png
    Steam - NotoriusBEN | Uplay - notoriusben | Xbox,Windows Live - ThatBEN
  • ScootsScoots HandHeld Lounge Manager SeattleRegistered User regular
    If you've only been to Prime the last 3 or so years, yeah the lounge hasn't looked very different. It means you're used to seeing Nintendo have a larger presence than the lounge itself. In the before time though? Imagine all those windows not being covered and instead being lined with all of the bean bags. There was a year or two we even had space on level 4. That's right, 3 levels of HandHeld Lounges. Then came Answertron (having to walk past that, and only that taking up that space, became a real sore spot) and after that expanded Bandland. But we still had two full floors of beanbag heaven! Did we always have a love/hate with TT encroaching? Sure. But they get dicked around too. And then there was Nintendo. I think they same year they popped in, the satellite theatre on 2 became the Bioware Base. I'm not going to lie, I cried legitimate tears when I saw what HH had been reduced to the first time. And to salt the wound there were all of the Nintendo Lounge signs.
    As far as East? We've always shared at least one of the rooms in that hall with something. But like Prime, we're sharing more and more as PAX fills the BCEC. This year we had some neat neighbors, but they also came with a mess of unplanned lines.

    Anyway... thanks for talking to us at the desk and thanks for making this thread and giving a shit. I hope it pulls other folks out of the woodwork that also give a shit or two about HH.
    <3 Scoots

    peetsnackMoe FwackyRabies
Sign In or Register to comment.