As many of you know (because I’ve been super excited and unable to shut up about it), I was at PAX South this past weekend! I’ve got all kinds of crazy things to share, but this post will be the general summary of the event/main photo gallery. I’ve got a few things to talk about that probably deserve their own posts, given my general inability to keep things concise. But without further adieu, on to the main event!
PART 0: TRAVEL
Listen. I realize this is already a tangent, but stay with me. Because this is honestly one of my favorite parts of going to PAX South: stopping in Stephenville, TX, for barbecue at The Hard Eight. It’s pit barbecue cooked outdoors, meat cooked to perfection that doesn’t need sauce, but you still want some because they make their own sauce that’s also amazing. I’m scheduling this post to go up around when I should be getting back on the road again, so I should be eating some AS YOU’RE READING THIS. Assuming you read it fairly soon after it goes up.
PART 1: THE EXPO HALL
And now for the actual reason you’re here. The Expo Hall is the main appeal of PAX: it’s where all the developers and vendors gather, ultimately with the goal of selling you something. PAX South has a lot of small/indie game developers, which I’ve heard is the niche setting it apart from other PAXes (PAXen? PAXii?). Last year I thought there was actually a drought in big names, and a lot of the smaller developers were showing off alpha builds that were in too rough of a state to make a solid impression. Not so this year, while there were some games that felt rough around the edges most of what I played was actually pretty solid! I ended up buying a couple of Steam keys while I was on the floor, and have a couple more games I intend to look into later.
PART 2: PANELS
It’s to the convention’s credit that I have to admit that I only went to one panel this year, and that was the one on board games. There were a lot of other panels that looked really neat, but I either lost track of time or wanted to go to something else. That being said, I’d like to take a moment to draw everyone’s attention to The Cookie Brigade, a group of people who bake cookies for the people waiting in line for panels. The cookies are given away for free, and they accept donations which are then given to Child’s Play. They’re good folk, and definitely deserve your support.
PART 3: PLAY
There was plenty of opportunity for playing games outside of demos from developers wanting to sell you on their hard work. For starters, on the second floor of the convention hall was a free-to-play arcade!
My only real complaint about the arcade was lack of space, but kudos to them for trying. When you’ve got an event as big as PAX, even though South is the smallest one, you’re just always going to be fighting for floor space.
Also available was the tabletop area, where board games could be rented and tournaments were organized. There was also a life-sized King of Tokyo set-up, which is another thing to add to the list of “activities I wanted to try but didn’t”.
Lastly, there was Magic: the Gathering. I actually learned how to play Magic at PAX South 2015. Sadly, Wizards no longer does the kind of turnout for PAX that they did then, so potential new players continue to be exactly that. But there were organized events going on, and I did take part in a sealed tournament that was pretty fun.
Also available were the handheld and console areas. I’m kicking myself for not getting a picture of the handheld lounge, because it’s really cool- they set up a bunch of bean bag chairs to sit in, and there’s a charging station nearby where you can give them your handheld and get it charged while you wait/walk around (yes, there is a system in place to ensure that your 3DS does not get stolen). The console freeplay area I only glanced at, but I believe it worked on trading your ID for a controller and just going to one of the several stations they had set up.
To say that there was a lot to do at PAX South would be an understatement- last year’s was a little thin, but they came out swinging this time around. As I said before, I’m splitting up my PAX South thoughts into three separate posts that I’m scheduling to go up today. Because Part 4 of this post has to do with the biggest draw of the event, one I’ve been dying to give my thoughts on for some time...