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29th March
written by Charlie

In spite of selling completely out of tickets. Registration and entry was smooth and orderly.

A friend told me this weekend that a con is generally considered a success when it breaks even within the first three years of operation. If that is a true measure, PAX East has got to have hit the home run the first time out. In the days leading up to the event, I checked the registration page for ticket availability for my friends who had been unlucky or negligent in their pre-ordering, and EVERYTHING was sold out. The only ways left to get into PAX East by the Tuesday before the event was unwritten and probably nefarious.

PAX is an exceptionally well run con and I give it props for competency, but there’s something slightly transient about it. When a fan goes to Arisia or Anime Boston (next weekend!) you can’t help but arrive to a sense of rejoining “your people” after a long voyage. Those places are like hidden villages shrouded in the mist where only the few and the chosen get to enter. PAX, perhaps necessarily because of the more mainstream appeal and wider reach of the definition “video game fan” feels more like a trade show in spite of it’s high level of casual gamer content. The free play rooms where you could borrow and play video and board games were massive, and the spreads of Sumo bean bags in the hallways were wonderfully casual and comfortable, but I found myself missing a “vendors row” or an “art show” that you find at other cons.

In spite of that, one of the great benefits here was that while you might not feel kinship to the other attendees like you might with a smaller con, there was still a sense that we’re all here for the same thing. So, when you walk up to a stranger and ask them about their shirt or their costume, or where the Microsoft Surface tech demo with the D&D software is, people engage you right away and chat with you. This is why you should go to cons.


  1. Matt B

    I agree completely that PAX has a weirdly sterile feel to it. It’s no sterile, of course, but yeah, it’s too big. I don’t really want to get involved in the panels and such, I just want to see the show room floor, which is different than most cons I go to. (which is like, 1).

  2. Wiley C

    I thought PAX was excellent, and had more fun in the panels I did go to than I thought I would. The freeplay rooms were an excellent idea, and the BYOC aspect was genius! I played some games I hadn’t played in a decade!