This past weekend I attended PAX East 2017 in Boston at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. PAX is a gaming convention held at different venues and times throughout the country. PAX truly is a celebration of all things gaming and loads of fun.
What is PAX?
In 2004, the creators of the webcomic Penny Arcade decided to create a convention exclusively for gaming. That first gathering in Bellevue, Washington had about 4,500 people in attendance and focused on board, tabletop, card, arcade, console and computer gaming culture and community. Each year since its inception the convention has doubled in size and in 2010 the show expanded into Boston for PAX East. The PAX shows in Seattle and Boston now represent the two largest gaming events in North America.
Game creators, computer manufacturers, toy makers, gadget purveyors and the like all gather at PAX to show and promote their latest wares. The booths range from a single table to city-block-long sets complete with light shows and MCs.
Several huge sections of PAX are cordoned off just for networked gaming. There are a number of competitions throughout the weekend and gamers are encouraged to bring their own PCs or use one of the hundreds of high-end units supplied by manufacturers like Intel.
Tabletop gamers are also given their own specific areas on the floor to compete in tournaments or try out some of the many new and up-and-coming games being promoted.
There are demos for everything from VR car-racing rigs to PC cooling systems. New PC games are frequently debuted at PAX and it gives game lovers the chance to try the latest games before they hit the shelves.
Of course, there are gadgets at PAX! For some reason, mechanical keyboards seemed to be VERY popular with the PAX crowd and there were a number of customizable keyboards that had some amazing features as well as very high price tags.
Not to be outdone by the digital game industry, a huge portion of the vendor area was reserved for tabletop gaming paraphernalia. Dice, dice towers, gaming mats, spell books and all sorts of tabletop gaming apparatus were on display.
Several vendors displayed very high-end luxury furniture designed specifically for tabletop gaming. The design, quality, and functionality of some of these tables were amazing. Some of the more intricate designs take as much as a full year to design, customize and build to a customer’s specifications.
Besides the exhibition floor, the convention center’s meeting rooms were jam-packed and scheduled with a number of panels, discussions, and presentations all having to do with gaming culture, personalities, and industry. I attended a fascinating discussion on real scientific theories present in current game titles.
PAX East is great fun for people even mildly interested in gaming. The community, attendees, exhibitors and PAX volunteers are all very enthusiastic, helpful and just nice in general. This was my first time attending a PAX convention, but it won’t be my last. I would love to attend PAX West in Seattle or PAX South in San Antonio and enjoy all those conventions have to offer as well.
Find the news PAX convention at paxsite.com