PAX was a very wonderful time! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves games of any sort. PAX is a very different tone of conference. Specifically for gamers; Not tacked on to a larger conference of other forms of media, nor a professionals only club. This is very significant in focus. I’ve been to a few comic book conferences that tack on TV and sometimes games, but putting interactive entertainment in the forefront puts a unique spin on things. I felt apart of the experience, not a step-child to the family. More over, the non-professional focus removes the edge of trying to impress. This is a celebration of the art form.
My background in the entertainment business is in performing art; Theatre. Creating art directly in front of a live audience give the instant feedback of an audience. With interactive entertainment, there are no opening nights. No red carpet screenings. A file is uploaded to a server, a variable switched, and eventually some people roll in with comments on forums. While I certainly welcome and value the feedback on any form and appreciate our world-wide release in an instant, I still long for the face to face interaction with the audience. These conventions are the few places where I can get that interaction.
Most of the setbacks about the conference are do to my lack of planning. This trip was very last moment for me and I will never do again. While I very much appreciated the hospitality I was given, I will only do PAX again while staying at a hotel within walking distance. I missed out on a lot of things as I carried my day’s worth of stuff and tied to the Seattle bus system. PAX runs till 2am, but the last bus is at 1am. Not to mention being able to drop stuff off at the hotel and change would have helped a lot. And while I had a few friends on site, they were not as available to enjoy the conference with. Rob from Orange Lounge Radio was working as a media contact, and Kate had her own things going most of the time. I did get to spend some time with them at the conference, and found others as the weekend progressed, but more would be more.
The big conference-only complaint I have was crowd management. I felt there were lines for something that shouldn’t be a line, and other high-profile events that should have been managed better. The biggest culprit was the line to get into the expo. Attendees are encouraged to wait in line for the 10am opening of the expo floor. Not an event such as a keynote or performance, just the expo floor. The reason? Armbands for the 8pm concert. Frankly, I can’t understand the logic of having people show up early to an all-day event. I’d rather they encourage people going for the expo floor to show up starting shortly before 10am. And the evening’s concert you want the armband? You can get in without them without problem, negating the need to line up for the expo. This is getting worked on, but it was a confusing decision in the first place.
I’ll be writing some specific things about the conference in the next few days. Right now I needed to get out the overview and acknowledge I attend and arrived home safely. You can also take a look at the photos I took while there. Here’s a sample: