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30th March
written by Charlie

Some people have observed a lonely or sterile atmosphere at PAX East this past weekend. At first, I attributed it to PAX East’s immense size, but in retrospect maybe it’s as simple as this: when you go to a scifi or anime or comic book convention, you collectively share your love of the subject at hand in a kind of group worship which forces you to reach out and connect. At an event like PAX, almost everyone is at a console or sitting with their DS, which draws their attention inward and away from the masses around them. I found that that liveliest and most social rooms at PAX’s free play areas were the board game, RPG, and card areas. The console free play areas were significantly lonelier feeling, even though they were larger and better attended.

The group interaction of more traditional board games or media consumption lends itself more easily to social connections that portable or console play.

1 Comment

  1. Katie

    I think that PAX is what you make of it. If you show up and keep your head buried in your DS odds are you aren’t going to have many experiences connecting with others. I blabbed with as many people as possible in line or in free play rooms and really found PAX to be quite social.
    Every one at PAX is there for the same reason and some don’t open up as easily as others. But when you are stuck waiting in an hour plus line with people who are all interested in the same geekery you are bound to meet some interesting folks.
    During my train ride home I realized that the social aspect of PAX is really why I was there. I can play video games at home. I don’t really care too much about the expo hall and most the panels I wanted to see filled up too fast for me to even get in! One of the highlights for me was Friday night classic console room watching the ColecoVision Smurf challenge. I feel kind of lame admitting this, but it was so fun! There was a pretty big group of people hanging out and chit chatting about the intricacies of Smurf! And Smurf is older than most of the people who were there. I think the classic console room had a good nostalgic feeling, people were pretty happy and open.
    I regret not going in to any of the table top free play rooms. I was looking to hunker down for a couple hours and learn how to play Magic or D&D but was too intimidated to step into the free play rooms. Next year for sure!