Gaming conventions were never a hot topic for me. Cosplay isn't something I follow or partake in, and tabletop games have certainly don't tickle my fancy; video games are my passion. That being said, I when I was offered the chance to attend PAX with Reed, I was ecstatic. Coming into it, I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was such a positive and unforgettable experience.
Upon arrival at the main entrance, I was blown away at the sheer size and quality of the venue. Even though we woke up at five in the morning, both Reed and I found ourselves excited and energized to start the day. below is one photo of the exhibit floor, but pictures don't have the ability to grasp how enormous the event is. As we walked around checking out different exhibits and getting an idea of the general layout, a realization dawned on me.
This is more than just gaming.
PAX is a culmination of every positive thing that supports and makes the gaming industry great. From cosplayers, to tabletop gamers, to merchandisers, indie and big title game developers and publishers, to the public relations professionals; everyone was kind, friendly, and passionate about what they did. That positive attitude carried through into all of the games, especially the ones we had the chance to interview and demo. We got an extensive look at five games: Songbringer, Super Cloudbuilt, Embers of Mirrim, and Hob. Of the four, Super Cloudbuilt was easily my favorite, but both Reed and I agreed that all of these games were incredibly fun and that talking with these developers about their games was the most rewarding.
What really struck me was the availability of something for everyone at attendance. The difference in demographics was another aspect that truly amazed me. At a convention for video games, one might expect to see hordes of sweaty, basement-dwelling neckbeards (of which there were several), but the differing demographics really blew me away. Toddlers, tweens, teenagers, college students, young professionals, parents, grandparents; any age group, gender, ethinicity, etc. under the rainbow was there in attendance and that was when another thing hit me.
Video games are a universal phenomena that can transcend social barriers.
That's something I truly love about video games and the effect they can have on us. A little girl from China and a middle-aged man in America and a grandmother in Brazil can all receive the same message and experience from the same video game. PAX was just a reminder of that idea and its nice to see it perpetuated in such a fun setting.
I highly encourage anyone with any level of interest in video games and the gaming community to attend PAX or any event similar to it. It was an eye opening experience for me and moving forward I'm going to be more vocal about my love and support for something I have a deep passion for.